A study by researchers at Columbia University’s College of Dental Medicine and Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons found that omega-3 fatty acids commonly found in coldwater fish reduced placental inflammation, decreased bacterial burden, and improved fetal outcomes.
When the scientists injected a common oral bacterium called F. nucleatum into pregnant mice, the placenta became infected at 48 hours after injection.
The placenta from the infected mice had multiple inflammatory markers elevated. Fetal death occurred 48 to 72 hours after injection of the oral bacteria.
The authors pointed out that the inflammatory response predated the death of the fetus, and originated in the mother’s immune system.
The scientists then repeated the experiment after supplementing the mice with fish oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids to suppress placental inflammation. This reduced bacterial growth and placental inflammation, and increased fetal and neonatal survival.
Some may interpret this study to mean that pregnant women should supplement with fish oil in order to improve fetal and neonatal survival. I think that conclusion is mistaken. In the study, fish oil was used as an anti-inflammatory agent. But it did not treat the underlying cause of fetal and neonatal death, which was infection with F. nucleatum — a common oral bacterium.
Excess oral bacteria have been linked to numerous health issues such as heart disease and heart valve problems. Proper oral hygiene can prevent this problem. Seeing a dentist for regular checkups is a must. In addition, applying ozonated olive oil to the gums helps cure gum disease.
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