Kristina Harris, PhD

Omega 3’s during pregnancy and lactation with Kristina Harris, PhD

In Episode #209, I sit down with Dr Kristina Harris Jackson to deep dive into the effects of omega-3 consumption on lactation and pregnancy.

“It’s much bigger than food when it comes to nutrition – it’s everything in your lifestyle.”

Dr Kristina Harris Jackson furthers The Proof’s exploration of omega-3s in this episode, offering her expertise in a discussion centred around maternal health. Nutrition during pregnancy can be a sensitive and confusing topic; when parents are trying to do everything they can to ensure optimal health outcomes, the abundance of available information is overwhelming. Today, Dr Harris Jackson provides some much-needed clarity and insight into omega-3s and pregnancy.

“Our bodies are very resilient. They are going to do everything they can to make baby as well as they can – it’s not a perfect world, it won’t always be perfect.”

With a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and an array of published papers, Dr Kristina Harris Jackson is extremely qualified to speak on today’s topic. She is the Director of Research at OmegaQuant Analytics, with a particular focus on omega-3s and maternal health. Here, Dr Harris Jackson helped create the Prenatal DHA test and the Mother’s Milk DHA test. If some of this sounds familiar, that’s because it is – in Episode #208, her father Dr Bill Harris appeared on the show to offer a wealth of knowledge on omega-3s and human health more generally.

In this episode, we cover a whole suite of information around omega-3s across early life stages. You will learn about the importance of nutritional biomarkers and exactly how important omega-3s are during pregnancy. We also discuss the potential effect of DHA on gestation length, inflammation during pregnancy, and how genetic variations may affect omega-3 conversion. Finally, Dr Harris Jackson shares supplementation guidelines, outcomes, and plant-based sources of omega-3s.

Specifically, we cover:

  • Intro [0:00]
  • Kristina’s story [1:42]
  • Omega-3s explained [17:51]
  • Pregnancy & omega-3s [22:15]
  • Explaining the mechanisms [30:58]
  • Optimal intake of omega-3s [38:12]
  • Supplementing [1:02:26]
  • Long-term effects on children [1:47:43]
  • Summary of what’s important [1:53:55]
  • Outro [2:00:56]

I love having the opportunity to extend conversations on a topic with a variety of guests across multiple episodes. There will always be more to learn, but Dr Harris Jackson does a brilliant job of packing a lot of information into just one episode.

To read publications from Kristina Harris Jackson, PhD, discover them here. You can also learn more about Dr Harris Jackson’s work on the OmegaQuant Analytics website or LinkedIn. You can also connect with the Omega Quant team on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If you haven’t already, listen to Episode #208 with Dr Bill Harris to learn more about omega-3s and human health.

Thank you to The Proof friend Eimele Essential 8 for sponsoring today’s episode. Eimele Essential 8 offers the right nutrients, in the right doses, to complement a plant-rich diet. To save 5% on your first order, head to theproof.com/friends.

Enjoy, friends.

Simon

More about Kristina Harris Jackson, PhD, RD

Kristina received her PhD in Nutritional Sciences from Pennsylvania State University in 2013 and completed her training to become a Registered Dietitian in 2014. As a graduate student, she studied under Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, an internationally-recognized expert in fats and nutrition. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado-Denver under Dr. John Peters in the area of worksite wellness before returning to the omega-3 field. Kristina joined the family business OmegaQuant Analytics as a Research Associate in 2014, with a particular focus on omega-3s in maternal health, helping create the Prenatal DHA test and the Mother’s Milk DHA test. In 2020, she became Assistant Professor (non-tenure) in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. (2020- 2022).

Supporting studies

  • Should there be a target level of docosahexaenoic acid in breast milk? PMID: 26751734
  • Omega-3 fatty acid addition during pregnancy PMID: 30480773
  • Should there be a target level of docosahexaenoic acid in breast milk? PMID: 26751734
  • High liveborn birth weights in the Faroes: a comparison between birth weights in the Faroes and in Denmark. PMID: 3989432
  • Dose-response relationship between docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake and lower rates of early preterm birth, low birth weight and very low birth weight PMID: 30392575
  • Cochrane Review: Omega-3 fatty acid addition during pregnancy PMID: 30480773
  • Higher dose docosahexaenoic acid supplementation during pregnancy and early preterm birth: A randomised, double-blind, adaptive-design superiority trial PMID: 34308309

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