Breastfeeding, Pregnancy, Fish Oil Supplementation and Infant Allergies

(THE DISCLAIMERI am not telling anyone to take ANYTHING, any supplement, but looking at these studies has been interesting and may give you fuel to want to look on your own and speak to your health care provider regarding these studies.  There are many more studies coming out on this subject that you can search on the website PubMed, which has abstracts of medical journal studies). 

Here is something of interest I have been reading lately (yes, I love to read medical journal abstracts in my free time, don’t laugh).  Anyway, on the topic of human milk feeding, fish oil supplementation and infant allergies here is one study I just found:

This was published out of Sweden, I believe  in their pediatric journal June 1, 2009  (I found the abstract on PubMed):

Aim: To describe the effects of maternal omega-3 long-chain PUFA supplementation during pregnancy and lactation on the incidence of allergic disease in infancy. Methods: One hundred and forty-five pregnant women, affected by allergy themselves or having a husband or previous child with allergies, were included in a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Daily maternal supplementation with either 1.6 g eicosapentaenoic acid and 1.1 g docosahexaenoic acid or placebo was given from the 25(th) gestational week to average 3-4 months of breastfeeding. Skin prick tests, detection of circulating specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies and clinical examinations of the infants were performed. Results: The period prevalence of food allergy was lower in the omega-3 group (1/52, 2%) compared to the placebo group (10/65, 15%, p < 0.05) as well as the incidence of IgE-associated eczema (omega-3 group: 4/52, 8%; placebo group: 15/63, 24%, p < 0.05). Conclusion: Maternal omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may decrease the risk of food allergy and IgE-associated eczema during the first year of life in infants with a family history of allergic disease.

PMID: 19489765 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

This is not a huge study group (140 mothers), and this study is just one of the studies that are coming out on this topic.  You may consider doing your own PubMed search, and also talking to your health care providers regarding some of these studies.  I, of course, am not telling anyone to take or not take ANYTHING, I just thought these studies were interesting enough to share a bit.

I saw one study regarding how the introduction of eating fish itself seemed to be protective against atopic dermatitis (and again, I think this study came out of either Norway or Sweden).  Over here in the United States, fish is typically considered one of those foods mothers are advised to wait to start due to high allergic reaction and incidence.  Any of my Scandinavian readers, I would love to hear your thoughts regarding introduction of fish and allergy incidences in your country!


3 thoughts on “Breastfeeding, Pregnancy, Fish Oil Supplementation and Infant Allergies

  1. Interesting – fish oil supplementation is very commonly recommended here in NZ in the second half of pregnancy and into breastfeeding, but to reduce PND, so intereting to see other benefits as well.

  2. I took fish oil supplements during the last 4 months of breastfeeding my son who I breastfed for one year. He is now almost 3 years old and has terrible allergies and eczema all over his arms and legs. Maybe we were just too late to do any good. I also took a DHA supplement during my entire pregnancy (the special kind for pregnant women) and I guess that did not help either.

  3. One piece of research does not make anything conclusive – there are as yet unknown risks such as contamination of the food chain with mercury and other contaminants that can’t be guaranteed not to be in the oil… not worth risking our babies when pregnant or when BF -there are non fish sources of omega oils if you are that desperate/

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