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Blackcurrant seed oil for prevention of atopic dermatitis in newborns: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial


Johannes Savolainen, Department of Pulmonary Diseases and Clinical Allergology, University of Turku, FI-20520 Turku, Finland.


Background The present increased incidence of atopic diseases has been associated with an altered intake of essential fatty acids (EFAs). The composition of blackcurrant seed oil (BCSO) corresponds to the recommended dietary intake of EFAs, and as a dietary supplement could, in small doses, modify the imbalance of EFAs in an efficient way.

Objective To assess the effect of dietary supplementation with BCSO on the prevalence of atopy at 12 months of age.

Methods Three hundred and thirteen pregnant mothers were randomly assigned to receive BCSO (151) or olive oil as placebo (162). The first doses were administered at 8th–16th weeks of pregnancy and were continued until the cessation of breastfeeding, followed by supplementation to the infants until the age of 2 years. Atopic dermatitis and its severity (SCORAD index) were evaluated, serum total IgE was measured and skin tests were performed at the age of 3, 12 and 24 months.

Results Parental atopy was common (81.7%) among study subjects, making them infants with increased atopy risk. There was a significantly lower prevalence of atopic dermatitis in the BCSO group than in the olive oil group at the age of 12 months (33.0% vs. 47.3%, P=0.035). SCORAD was also lower in the BCSO group than in the olive oil group at 12 months of age (P=0.035). No significant differences in the prevalence of atopic dermatitis were observed between the groups at the age of 24 months (P=0.18).

Conclusion Dietary supplementation with BCSO was well tolerated and it transiently reduced the prevalence of atopic dermatitis. It could therefore be one potential tool in the prevention of atopic symptoms when used at an early stage of life.

(Registration number SRCTN14869647,

Cite this as: P. Linnamaa, J. Savolainen, L. Koulu, S. Tuomasjukka, H. Kallio, B. Yang, T. Vahlberg and R. Tahvonen, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2010 (40) 1247–1255.