Fish oil, probiotics may reduce kids' allergy risk

Fish oil, probiotics may reduce kids' allergy risk

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Taking fish oil and probiotic supplements during pregnancy and while breastfeeding could help reduce your baby's risk of developing certain allergies, new research suggests.

Researchers in the U.K. analyzed the results of more than 400 studies that looked at the impact of supplements and diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding on kids' allergy and eczema risk. Of those, almost 50 trials involving more than 20,000 people examined the effects of taking either fish oil or probiotic supplements.

When women took a daily fish oil tablet starting at around 20 weeks of pregnancy and for up to 4 months of breastfeeding, their children's risk of developing an egg allergy by age 1 dropped by almost a third, the researchers found.

Meanwhile, women who took a daily probiotic supplement (as either a capsule, powder or drink) toward the end of their pregnancy (at about 36 to 38 weeks) and during the first 3 to 6 months of breastfeeding saw their children's risk of developing eczema drop by 22 percent compared to those who did not take probiotics, the researchers noted in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Avoiding foods such as nuts, dairy and eggs while pregnant and breastfeeding did not appear to influence children's allergy risk, the authors reported.

The authors said the results should be considered when health officials update guidelines for pregnant women. However, experts said larger studies are needed to follow up on the findings. Also, it wasn't clear from the report exactly what type of probiotics the women took or at what dose.

Fish oil contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which experts believe are important for your baby's brain and eye development. You can get this nutrient by eating fatty fish such as salmon or sardines once or twice a week, but if you don't eat fish an Omega-3 supplement might be a good idea. Make sure you choose a brand that filters the oil to eliminate toxins.

Probiotics, also called "friendly bacteria," can be found in supplements and also in some food such as yogurt. Probiotics are generally thought to be safe during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, but it's a good idea to consult with your health provider before taking any supplements. Keep in mind that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate probiotics in supplements, so it's often difficult to know what you're getting.

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

Watch the video: Fish oil and probiotic supplements in pregnancy may reduce allergy risk (July 2022).


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