Omega 3 Fats Appear to Aid Against Child Allergies

The health benefits of fish oil have often been well documents, including as a popular form of treatment for cancer and chemotherapy. Among the conditions people use fish oil for are depression and anxiety, including improving the benefits of depression medications. Some have found omega-3 to be helpful in patients who need to regain muscle mass. A new study however finds that in addition to all these other uses, Omega-3 fatty acids have a protective effect on allergies in children.

This is based on a study from Linkoping University in Sweden, in which one year olds whose mothers had ingested fish oil during pregnancy and beastfeeding, there were considerably fewer incidences of allergic reactions compared with children whose mothers did not take the supplement. Since starting in 2005, the study comprised of 145 pregnant mothers with families at heightened risk of developing asthma and allergy. From the 25th week of pregnancy through the third month of nursing, they were asked to take nine capsules of fish oil every day. Half of them were given fish oil with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids while the other half were given a placebo in the form of a soybean pill.

The results found that children with fish-oil ingesting mothers had fewer than half as many reactions to eggs at the age of one year when compared to the placebo group. This is significant because allergic reactions to eggs early in life are strongly associated with the later development of allergic disorders like eczema and asthma.

An immunological study of the mothers' blood supported the effect of the omega-3 fats on allergy formation. The women given fish oil had less prostaglandin E2 in their blood compared to others. This substance triggers allergic immune responses, and it is known that increased concentration of omega-3 depresses its concentration.

The study leader claims, "We have been able to show that omega-3 influences the mother's immunological profile in a less inflammatory direction. Theoretically this can also affect the child's immune system, which is supported by the results of the scratch tests.”
So for expecting mothers, adding fish oil to their supplements can be an important step to protect their children from allergies.


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