Probiotics and Fish Oil During Pregnancy May Reduce Child Allergies
Looking for ways to prevent allergies? A new study has found that women who take probiotics and fish oil while they are pregnant can significantly lower their children’s chance of developing allergies later in life.
The study was conducted at the Imperial College of London where researchers looked at data from 1.5 million women across more than 400 prior studies. While experts have long believed that a woman’s diet during pregnancy plays an important role in children’s future health, this study was the first comprehensive analysis of the evidence.
The findings were promising for efforts to prevent allergies. Among them was 22% decrease in eczema for children whose mothers took a probiotic supplement while pregnant and breastfeeding and as much as a 38% reduction in peanut allergies for those who took a fish oil supplement.
Researchers believe early exposure to the live bacteria found in probiotics is beneficial for strengthening children’s developing immune systems. Fish oil, which has the effect of dulling overactive immune responses to allergens, also seems to support healthy growth and development.
Another interesting finding was that expectant mothers who avoided allergens like nuts, dairy and eggs in their diet had no effect on their child’s chances of developing an allergy.
If you’re pregnant and looking for ways to reduce your child’s allergy risk, you should speak with your doctor about changes you can safely make to your diet. He or she might recommend a probiotic supplement in powder or pill form during the last few weeks of pregnancy and the first three to six months of breastfeeding. It seems that probiotic yogurt drinks are not highly concentrated enough to impact a baby’s health.
Pregnant mothers should avoid fish oil supplements that contain vitamin A (retinol) such as fish liver oil and limit their consumption of tuna and other oily fish. But your doctor might suggest a fish oil supplement or simply increasing the amount of omega-3 fats in your diet by eating more fish.
Kevin Arnold writes about allergies and asthma, travel and healthy living. For more tips and information, check out all of his posts at www.blog.pureroom.com.