Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fish oil intake during pregnancy may be associated with lower asthma incidence during childhood

New research has shown a significant correlation between fish oil intake during pregnancy and asthma incidence during childhood. Children whose mothers supplemented with fish oil during pregnancy were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with childhood asthma than children from non-supplementing mothers.

Current evidence suggests that asthma development may be associated with maternal intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy. A recent study was conducted to examine whether an increase in omega-3 fatty acid intake during pregnancy could affect risk of asthma in their offspring.

A population-based sample of 533 women with normal pregnancies were randomly assigned 2:1:1 to receive either four one-gram fish oil capsules/day providing 2.7 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, four similar looking one-gram capsules/day with just olive oil, or no capsules at all.

During the 16 years that passed since childbirth, the rate of asthma incidence was reduced by 63% and the rate of allergic asthma was reduced by 87% in the fish oil group as compared to the olive oil group.

Assuming that the intake of olive oil had no significant influence one way or another, these results support the theory that increased fish oil omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in late pregnancy may provide important preventive potential in relation to childhood asthma development. Additional studies on this subject are currently in progress, which should shed more light on the mechanism behind this promising discovery.

Source: Fish oil intake compared with olive oil intake in late pregnancy and asthma in the offspring: 16 y of registry-based follow-up from a randomized controlled trial, Olsen et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 88, No. 1, 167-175, July 2008