You may have seen in the news today a lot of stories about how taking a daily fish oil capsule during pregnancy and the first few months of breastfeeding may reduce a baby’s risk of developing food allergy.
This is based on new research from Imperial College London which reviewed previous studies on the diets of mothers during pregnancy, breastfeeding and infant feeding in a baby’s first year of life.
The scientists were trying to evaluate whether being exposed to different foods in early life influences the risk of developing an allergy or autoimmune disease.
They found that having probiotics (live bacteria and yeasts often described as ‘good’ bacteria) as a supplement during late pregnancy and breastfeeding may reduce the risk of developing eczema. Having supplements of fish oil during pregnancy and breastfeeding may reduce the risk of becoming sensitised to food allergens.
Dr Robert Boyle, lead author of the research, from the department of medicine at Imperial College London, said:
“Our research suggests probiotic and fish oil supplements may reduce a child’s risk of developing an allergic condition, and these findings need to be considered when guidelines for pregnant women are updated.”
However, before you start rushing to the pharmacy to buy fish oil, our helpline and information team think it is important to point out that the scientists don’t yet fully understand how probiotics and fish oils reduce the risk and more trials with larger groups of children are needed before any changes are made to dietary advice.
You can read more in a BBC news article here.
Read the full research article here.