Using Fish Oils as Supplements

QUESTION

Dear Nutritionist,
Can you please tell me if krill oil is safe to take during pregnancy? From what I have read, this should not be taken by those who are allergic to shellfish. Do you think that this may cause a child to be born with allergies to shellfish? Would it be better to take a regular fish oil supplement as opposed to krill?

My wife is less than 2 months pregnant and does not have any underlying health conditions. Maybe she should stay away from fish oils altogether.

ANSWER

You should always consult with your OB/GYN or other pregnancy healthcare provider before taking ANY supplement during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Krill Oil is extracted from shrimp-like crustaceans in the sea and contains the essential Omega 3s: EPA and DHA. You would need to ensure that the product your wife would be using does NOT contain mercury and also that there is not a high level of vitamin A, which can be harmful in large doses for pregnant women. The same goes with fish oil supplements.

Your best bet is to ask your wife's OB/GYN about a prenatal supplement that also includes omega 3 supplementation. That way you are ensured that it is safe during pregnancy.
-- Kimberly, RD LD

Kimberly Tessmer

Kimberly A. Tessmer, RD LD has been a registered dietitian since 1992 and is also an Ohio licensed Dietitian. Her educational achievements include a Bachelor of Science in Technology (Dietetics) from Bowling State University in Bowling Green, OH. She currently owns and operates a consulting business called "Nutrition Focus" www.nutrifocus.net, in which she specializes and offers services in the areas of weight management, general nutrition, authoring, menu development and a variety of other services.

To date Kim has authored three books including "The Everything® Nutrition Book", "Tell Me What To Eat If I Have Celiac Disease", and "The Everything® Pregnancy Nutrition Book". In addition, Kim has written numerous articles for various health/nutrition web sites and magazines including Bally Total Fitness Magazine, Well and Healthy Women Magazine and Healthology.com, Inc as well as continuing education courses for www.care2learn.com. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association and the ADA Practice Group, Nutrition Entrepreneurs.