Fighting dust-mite allergies with fish oil

September 6, 2017 by Karen Best, Freshscience
Credit: Freshscience

Kids born to mums who'd taken high doses of fish oil in pregnancy were less likely to have some types of allergies, Adelaide researchers have found.

The trial, run by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), was the largest in the world to look at the effects of Omega-3 – commonly found in – on allergies in children.

At one-year-old, children of mothers who had taken a of fish oil in pregnancy had less to egg. They were also less likely to have eczema than those born to mothers who took capsules with no Omega-3.

And at six years of age they had 40 per cent less allergy to house dust mite and were also less likely to have hay fever.

At three years of age there were no differences between the two groups.

Karen says that Omega-3 fats taken during pregnancy may shape the developing fetus' immune system in a way that prevents allergies developing in childhood.

It's an idea she's exploring further in current research, and in particular a link to asthma.

"While the results of this study are really exciting for the future of , there's still a lot more work to be done to determine the ideal dose and full effects of taking a large amount of fish oil during pregnancy," Karen explains.

Over four million Australians suffer from allergies, and we're seeing more people developing allergies in Western countries all the time.

"We'd really love to be able to develop dietary recommendations to help pregnant women prevent allergies in their children," says Karen.

"Who knows—this simple, low-cost intervention during may help to reduce the burden of lifelong allergies in the future."

Explore further: Allergy shots during pregnancy may decrease allergies in children

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