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Keywords:

  • allergic disease;
  • antioxidants;
  • childhood;
  • nutrition;
  • pregnancy

Recent findings suggest a significant association between the antioxidant status of pregnant women and of their children during the first years of life and the development of allergic disease during childhood. The aim of this review was to identify all studies that estimated the effect of intake of antioxidants in pregnant women and their children on the development of allergic disease during early childhood. A systematic review was conducted of epidemiological studies featuring original peer-reviewed data on the association between dietary antioxidant status and allergic disease during childhood. A systematic search was performed following the Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology Guidelines. A comprehensive search of the literature yielded 225 studies, 18 of which were selected for the extraction of results and were related to antioxidant status and allergic disease. The systematic review included five prospective cohort studies, four cross-sectional studies, and nine case-control studies. Eight studies reported an important association between antioxidant status and asthma onset during childhood. Similarly, wheezing and eczema were studied as an outcome in six and in five studies, respectively. Recent observational studies suggest that a higher intake of antioxidant vitamins, zinc, and selenium during pregnancy and childhood reduces the likelihood of childhood asthma, wheezing, and eczema.