Fish oil supplementation in pregnancy may be a strategy to prevent childhood allergies


Allergies affect about 30 % to 35 % of children, and and this percentage has been increasing in last years. Allergies are abnormal reactions of the immune system to things that are harmless to most people; in someone with an allergy, the immune system treats the substance (called an allergen) as an invader and reacts trying to fight it off. Common allergens in children are: pollen, insect bites or stings, animal hair or fur, dust mites, cigarette smoke, perfume, car exhaust emissions, peanuts, eggs, milk and dairy products.

In children, allergies are the result of the interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Early life environmental factors are determinants of health in later life, and nutrition is one important influencing factor. A large part of the development of the human immune system occurs in utero and during the first months after birth, and there is evidence that early immune development can be influenced by nutritional factors.

At present, the best approach to the child at high risk for the development of allergies is to take dietary and environmental control measures early, to decrease sensitization and to recognize, and appropriately treat, the symptoms of allergy. Studies performed to date indicate that intake of fish oil during pregnancy may reduce sensitisation to common food allergens in the first year of life, with a possible persistence until adolescence, and a recent study has reported that reduces persistent wheeze and asthma in the offspring at ages 3 to 5 years.

Eating oily fish or fish oil supplementation in pregnancy may be a strategy to prevent infant and childhood allergies.



Miles EA, Calder PC. Can Early Omega-3 Fatty Acid Exposure Reduce Risk of Childhood Allergic Disease? Nutrients. 2017 Jul 21;9(7).

Chad Z. Allergies in children. Paediatr Child Health. 2001;6(8):555-66.

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Children & Allergies. 2014.

Kids Health. All About Allergies.


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