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Fish oil supplementation in pregnancy and lactation may decrease the risk of infant allergy

Authors

  • Catrin Furuhjelm,

    1. Division of Pediatrics, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
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  • Kristina Warstedt,

    1. Division of Pediatrics, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
    2. Clinical and Experimental Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
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  • Johanna Larsson,

    1. Pediatric Clinic, Ryhov Hospital, Jönköping, Sweden
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  • Mats Fredriksson,

    1. Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping, Sweden
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  • Malin Fagerås Böttcher,

    1. Division of Pediatrics, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
    2. Clinical and Experimental Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
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  • Karin Fälth-Magnusson,

    1. Division of Pediatrics, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
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  • Karel Duchén

    1. Division of Pediatrics, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
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Catrin Furuhjelm, Division of Pediatrics, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, SE-581 85 Linköping, Sweden.
Tel: +46-13-221324 |
Fax: +46-13-148665 |
Email: catrin.furuhjelm@lio.se

Abstract

Maternal intake of omega-3 (ω-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 ω-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 25th 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 ω-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 (ω-3 group: 4/52, 8%; placebo group: 15/63, 24%, p < 0.05).

Conclusion:  Maternal ω-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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