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Omega-3 Supplementation Reduce Wheeze And Asthma Risk in Infants

First Posted: Dec 30, 2016 02:52 AM EST
Dr. Jing Kang, from the Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School sits in his lab March 29, 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Jing Kang, from the Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School sits in his lab March 29, 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts.(Photo : Getty Images/Joe Raedle)

Pregnant mothers who take high doses of omega-3 fatty acid supplements can reduce asthma or wheezing problems to their infants. Asthma and wheezing cases have been rising in most developed countries.

According to a new study from Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC) and the University of Waterloo, increased in dietary vitamin D intake in pregnancy stage can lessen asthma or wheeze in the offspring.

The study also suggests that it is the best way to prevent the growing health problem. Supplementing omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids in the mother's diet in the third trimester of pregnancy can highly decrease the risk for persistent wheeze and asthma in the first five years of the child.

A study from a New England Journal of Medicine also supports the validity of the health information for pregnant mothers.

"Supplementation with n-3 LCPUFA [long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid] in the third trimester of pregnancy reduced the absolute risk of persistent wheeze or asthma and infections of the lower respiratory tract in offspring by approximately seven percentage points or one-third," Hans Bisgaard from COPSAC said.

Dr. Bisgaard and his team recently conducted a trial to examine the effect of high-dose n-3 LCPUFA supplementation in pregnant women. The team randomly assigned 736 women at 24 weeks of pregnancy to take 2.4 g n-3 LCPUFA (n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid; fish oil) per day. The women continued to take the supplements for one week after their delivery.

After birth, the children whose mothers received supplements were observed for the three years of life with a comprehensive clinical phenotyping. Then, the researchers found out that those women who received high­n-3 LCPUFA supplementation in their third trimester of pregnancy have reduced the child's risk for persistent wheeze and asthma in their first five years of life.

Fish oil or omega-3 fatty acid supplements were then found out to help reduce inflammation which plays an important role in preventing asthma and wheeze.

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