Omega-3 Science

2:00pm – 3:00pm / Tuesday February 15th

Omega-3 science continues to grow on a daily basis and this session provides a snapshot of ongoing important research from two key experts, covering the areas of prenatal health and questions around EPA and DHA biosynthesis.

Reducing the Risk of Early Pre-Term Birth with Omega-3 PUFAs
Maria Makrides, PhD
Deputy Director
South Australia Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)

Preterm birth is the leading cause of death in children under five and a 2018 Cochrane review, coauthored by world-renowned research scientist Dr. Maria Makrides, found a statistically significant 11% reduction in preterm birth and a 42% significant reduction in early preterm birth with omega-3 supplementation. Subsequent research led to somewhat controversial recommendations regarding whether or not – based on the pregnant woman’s omega-3 status - to recommend additional omega-3 supplementation to mitigate early preterm birth. Dr. Makrides will discuss the implications of these results and talk about a program she is coordinating through the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) using omega-3s in a pregnant population with the goal of reducing the incidence of pre-term birth.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid Biosynthesis: Updates and Controversies
Richard Bazinet, PhD
Associate Professor
University of Toronto

While the general principles of the n-3 PUFA synthesis pathway are generally agreed upon — EPA and DHA play a role in regulating brain, heart and immune function for example — some controversies remain, like the potential competition between EPA and DHA, and whether EPA serves as a source for brain DHA. In this talk, Dr. Bazinet will discuss those controversies and what they may mean to our current understanding of n-3 PUFASs, particularly as it applies to potential implications for supplementation and future research.


Maria Makrides, PhD, FAA, FAHMS Maria Makrides, PhD, FAA, FAHMS Richard Bazinet, PhD Richard Bazinet, PhD