Fish Oil During Pregnancy Associated with Lower Asthma Incidence
Fish Oil Intake During Pregnancy May Be Associated with
Lower Asthma Incidence During Childhood Over
the years, the importance of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA found in
salmon oil has continued to show cardiac benefits and brain, nerve,
and eye development benefits. Long ago I was recommending quality
fish oil supplements (free of pesticides, PCBs, organic residues,
etc., i.e., not your common, over-the-counter fish oil) to my
pregnant patients when I practiced as a board-certified ob/gyn in
Atlanta, Georgia. It is now common for doctors to recommend DHA
supplementation along with prenatal vitamins to their pregnant
patients. However, it is my belief that those commonly recommended
doses should be a bit higher because of the tremendous benefits both
to the mother and the development of the baby ...both short-term and
long-term benefits. Even I.Q has been correlated to the amount of
DHA the baby receives through breast feeding.
USANA Health Sciences scientific department sent out a update
regarding a study among pregnant women involving fish oil and olive
oil vs. no oil at all that was published in the American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition in July 2008. The study followed the children of
these women for 16 years, and discovered significant health benefits
among the chidren whose mothers supplemented with fish oil!
Current evidence suggests that asthma development may be associated
with maternal intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy.
A recent study was conducted to examine whether an increase in
omega-3 fatty acid intake during pregnancy could affect risk of
asthma in their offspring.
population-based sample of 533 women with normal pregnancies were
randomly assigned 2:1:1 to receive either four one-gram fish oil
capsules/day providing 2.7 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, four
similar looking one-gram capsules/day with just olive oil, or no
capsules at all.
During the 16 years that passed since childbirth, the rate of asthma
incidence was reduced by 63% and the rate of allergic asthma was
reduced by 87% in the fish oil group as compared to the olive oil
Assuming that the intake of olive oil had no significant influence
one way or another, these results support the theory that increased
fish oil omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in late pregnancy may
provide important preventive potential in relation to childhood
asthma development. Additional studies on this subject are
currently in progress, which should shed more light on the mechanism
behind this promising discovery.
The bottom line: Pregnant women should be supplementing with a
quality brand nutritional supplement, that includes vitamins (with
1000 mcg of folic acid), minerals, antioxidants, plenty of calcium
(approximately a daily total of 1000 mg per day) balanced with
magnesium and vitamin D, fish oil capsules (not eating a lot of
fish, as it contains mercury), and iron (which can be obtained
over-the-counter). Supplementation is always most effective if in
place at least 3 months before a woman is pregnant, and studies are
emerging showing that the baby's health is also effected by the
nutritional status of the father. Something to think about.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 88,
No. 1, 167-175, July 2008
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