Fish oil supplements in pregnancy cut allergies


Taking a daily fish oil capsule during pregnancy and the first few months of breastfeeding may reduce a baby’s risk of food allergy, research suggests. Findings of a study published in the journal ‘PLOS Medicine’ confirmed that diet in pregnancy could influence the development of allergies in early life. Lead author of the research, Dr. Robert Boyle, from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, said: “Our research suggests probiotic and fish oil supplements may reduce a child’s risk of developing an allergic condition and these findings need to be considered when guidelines for pregnant women are updated.”

The supplements contain Omega-3 fatty acids,which are also present in oily fish. According to the researchers from Imperial College London, the current advice is that pregnant women should eat no more than two portions of oily fish per week because of the levels of mercury in some fish, which could be poisonous at a higher level and avoid shark, swordfish or marlin altogether.

The research, after a large analysis of past trials, found that taking a daily fish oil capsule during pregnancy led to a 30 per cent reduction in egg allergy risk by the age of one. Fish oil contains a special kind of fat called omega-3 that has a positive, anti-inflammatory effect.

Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), precursors of certain eicosanoids that are known to reduce inflammation in the body, and have other health benefits, such as treating hypertriglyceridemia, although claims of preventing heart attacks or strokes have not been supported. Hypertriglyceridemia denotes high levels of triglycerides, the most abundant fatty molecule in most organisms and this is associated with atherosclerosis, which could raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.

One in 20 children in the United Kingdom (UK) is affected by allergies to food, such as nuts, eggs, milk or wheat – and it’s a growing problem, a report in the ‘bbc’ stated. These allergies are caused by the immune system malfunctioning and over-reacting to these harmless foods, and this triggers symptoms such as rashes, swelling, vomiting and wheezing.

In a local study on ‘Food allergy and its clinical symptoms in Nigeria,’ Simeon C. Achinewu of the Department of Food Science and Technology, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, said the frequency of food allergies is not sufficiently appreciated in Nigeria because they were difficult to investigate