A new clinical trial suggests that pregnant women to take fish oil during their third trimester may cut their kid’s risk for developing asthma by as much as one-third, according to an article by Tucson.
The dose of fish oil given to the pregnant women was high, with fatty acid levels that were 15 to 20 times more than the average. There were no significant side effects, however, according to lead researcher Dr. Hans Bisgaard, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Copenhagen.
For the study, Bisgaard’s team randomly assigned 736 pregnant women to take either fish oil or a placebo every day during the third trimester. The placebo capsules contained olive oil. The children in the fish oil group were about one-third less likely to develop asthma. By the age of five, nearly 17 percent of the children in the fish oil group were diagnosed with asthma or persistent wheezing, compared to the nearly 25 percent of the children in the placebo group.
The study was published on December 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Bisgaard said his personal interpretation of his findings is that –
Fish oil offers a safe way to prevent some cases of childhood asthma.
But Bisgaard also said that there are questions left for further research, such as: What is the optimal dose of fish oil? And what is the best point in pregnancy to start fish oil?
Other experts who were not involved in the study have called the findings “encouraging”. Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, said, “It’s possible that even a lower dose could be effective.”
She suggested that pregnant women talk to their doctors about fatty acids found in fish oil, namely, DHA and EPA.
“They can talk about whether they’re eating enough fish, and how much [DHA/EPA] they may already be getting from prenatal vitamins,” Wu added.
According to Dr. Christopher Ramsden, a researcher with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, DHA and EPA can make the airways less prone to inflammation.