Fish oil supplementation in pregnancy and lactation may decrease the risk of infant allergy.
Division of Pediatrics, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
Maternal intake of omega-3 (omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) during pregnancy has decreased, possibly contributing to a current increased risk of childhood allergy. Aim: To describe the effects of maternal omega-3 long-chain PUFA supplementation during pregnancy and lactation on the incidence of allergic disease in infancy. Methods: One hundred and forty-five pregnant women, affected by allergy themselves or having a husband or previous child with allergies, were included in a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Daily maternal supplementation with either 1.6 g eicosapentaenoic acid and 1.1 g docosahexaenoic acid or placebo was given from the 25(th) gestational week to average 3-4 months of breastfeeding. Skin prick tests, detection of circulating specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies and clinical examinations of the infants were performed. Results: The period prevalence of food allergy was lower in the omega-3 group (1/52, 2%) compared to the placebo group (10/65, 15%, p < 0.05) as well as the incidence of IgE-associated eczema (omega-3 group: 4/52, 8%; placebo group: 15/63, 24%, p < 0.05). Conclusion: Maternal omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may decrease the risk of food allergy and IgE-associated eczema during the first year of life in infants with a family history of allergic disease.
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