Maternal milk and allergies in children


Breastfeeding is recommended for many reasons: it is the perfect food for a baby‘s digestive system, it contains all of the nutrients needed by the newborn and many substances that benefit his/her immune system, and also may decrease the chances that a child will become obese.

Besides, there is some evidence that breastfeeding protects babies against the development of allergies. Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to things (allergens) that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people (certain foods, dust, pollen, etc.). The immune system produces substances (antibodies) that protect the body from unwanted invaders that could cause illnesses or infections. One of these antibodies is the immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE cause some cells to release chemicals substances into the bloodstream to defend us against the invader. But in someone with an allergy, the immune system treats the allergen as an invader and overreacts, causing different symptoms (allergic reactions) produced by the release of these chemicals substances.

According to several studies, a high level of long chain omega-3 fatty acids (mainly EPA and DHA) in maternal milk, which is related to their maternal intake during pregnancy and lactation, could have a protective effect on the development of allergies in their children.




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