Fish oil or fish consumption? New recommendations for pregnant women trying to prevent childhood asthma

October 30, 2017, University of South Florida
Consuming fish during pregnancy offers same protection in preventing childhood asthma as fish oil supplements. Credit: University of South Florida

Pregnant women who consume fish rather than fish oil supplements are just as likely to protect their offspring from developing asthma.

Researchers at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla just published a scientific review of two studies that conclude children whose mothers consume high-dose daily during the 3rd trimester are less likely to develop such breathing problems.

However, co-authors Richard Lockey, MD, and Chen Hsing Lin, MD suggest pregnant women receive the same benefit following the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency's recommendation to consume 8-12 ounces (2-3 servings) of low mercury fish a week.

The review published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice examined two articles. The New England Journal of Medicine study included 346 pregnant women in their 3d trimester who took omega-3 fatty acids daily and 349 who took a placebo. The investigators also divided the trial population into three groups based on their blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The population with the lowest blood levels benefited the most from supplementation.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology randomized in their 3rd trimester into fish oil, placebo and "no oil" groups. The fish oil group took omega-3 fatty acids daily as did the placebo (olive oil) group. The "no oil" group was informed of the trial proposal and therefore could consume fish oil or fish during the 3rd trimester if they chose to do so. Researchers found the fish oil and the "no oil" groups took less asthma medication as they aged to 24 years old, inferring both groups developed less asthma.

"Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be synthesized by humans and therefore are essential nutrients which are derived exclusively from marine sources," said Lin. "It may be premature to recommend daily high dose during the 3rd trimester."

"With almost equal to slightly higher cost, consuming 8-12 ounces (2-3 servings) of fish a week not only may attain the same asthma protection, but strengthens the nutritional benefits to infant growth and development," said Lockey.

Explore further: Pregnant women are not getting enough omega-3

Related Stories

Pregnant women are not getting enough omega-3

September 22, 2017
The first ever study on the intakes of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in pregnant women in New Zealand, has found only 30 per cent are getting the recommended daily amount.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

Fighting dust-mite allergies with fish oil

September 6, 2017
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.

Fish-oil fatty acids in pregnancy cut wheeze, asthma risk in child

December 29, 2016
(HealthDay)—For women in the third trimester of pregnancy, supplementation with n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) is associated with a reduction in the risk of persistent wheeze and asthma in offspring, ...

Fish oil pills for pregnant moms may cut asthma risk in kids

December 28, 2016
Children whose moms took high doses of fish oil during their last three months of pregnancy were less likely to develop chronic wheezing problems or asthma by age 5, finds a study that suggests a possible way to help prevent ...

To eat fish or not to eat fish? That is the question for pregnant and breastfeeding women

November 6, 2014
There is no doubt that pregnant and breastfeeding women try to do everything they can to ensure a healthy outcome for their baby, including eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that provides the necessary nutrients for fetal ...

Recommended for you

India launches 'Modicare', world's biggest health scheme

September 23, 2018
India on Sunday launched the world's biggest health insurance scheme which Prime Minister Narendra Modi said would cover some 500 million poor people.

It's not just for kids—even adults appear to benefit from a regular bedtime

September 21, 2018
Sufficient sleep has been proven to help keep the body healthy and the mind sharp. But it's not just an issue of logging at least seven hours of Z's.

Patient-centered visual aid helps physicians discuss risks, treatments with parents

September 21, 2018
A series of illustrations and charts designed as decision aids for parents of children with minor head injuries helped them communicate with emergency medicine physicians and make informed decisions about their child's care, ...

Alcohol responsible for one in 20 deaths worldwide: WHO

September 21, 2018
Alcohol kills three million people worldwide each year—more than AIDS, violence and road accidents combined, the World Health Organization said Friday, adding that men are particularly at risk.

Smart pills dumb down medical care, experts warn

September 21, 2018
Enthusiasm for an emerging digital health tool, the smart pill, is on the rise but researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have published a paper in the American Journal of Bioethics that cautions health care ...

China's doctor shortage prompts rush for AI health care

September 20, 2018
Qu Jianguo, 64, had a futuristic medical visit in Shanghai as he put his wrist through an automated pulse-taking machine and received the result within two minutes on a mobile phone—without a doctor present.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.