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Is It Beneficial To Consume Fish Or Fish Oil During Pregnancy For Prevention Of Asthma In Children?

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23 Aug, 2018

Consumption of fish or fish oil during pregnancy, mainly in the third trimester, has the potential to reduce incidences of asthma in the children. New research studies reveal that pregnant mothers who take the recommended quantity of fish containing a high level of omega-3 fatty acids will give birth to babies who can develop resistance against breathing ailments like asthma in their childhood. Supplements of fish oil consumed during the later stages of pregnancy also provide similar health benefits as fish does to minimize the risk of asthma in the children.

Current research studies reveal that children born to women who take omega -3 fatty acids in the recommended quantity in the third trimester remain safe from breathing ailments, especially asthma in their childhood and early adolescent age. It is recommended by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), for pregnant ladies to take 8-12 ounces (2-3 servings) of low mercury marine fish in a week to fetch the health benefits.

 

A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice stated that two research results support the consumption of fish and fish oil in the third trimester due to its numerous health benefits. This study was conducted among 346 pregnant women who consumed omega-3 fatty acids versus 349 pregnant ladies who were on placebo in their third trimester.

In this study, pregnant women in their third trimester were randomly divided into three groups. The first group consumed fish oil supplements, the second group took the placebo and the third group was the "no oil" group.  The placebo used in the second group comprised of olive oil. The third group i.e. “no oil” group was allowed to take fish or fish oil according to their choice in their third trimester. The investigators concluded that the "fish oil" and "no oil" groups had shown fewer incidences of asthma in their children up to the age of 24 years.

 

Omega-3 fatty acid is one of the essential nutrients required for the body. The human body is unable to synthesize it. Omega -3 fatty acids can be obtained from marine sources. Omega-3 fatty acid present in fish oil or marine fish interferes with the contraction of windpipes brought about by asthma. It provides several health benefits that include protection against depression, anxiety, inflammation, ailments of eyes, autoimmune diseases, metabolic syndromes, and improvement of heart ailments, brain growth, and reduction of fat in the liver.

Fish oil supplements and fish are high sources of DHA and EPA. Recent research suggests that DHA and EPA can prevent inflammation of windpipes to a great extent. Thus, the recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids by mothers during pregnancy reduces the risk of development of asthma in children. However, the risk of developing asthma in childhood also depends on external factors such as family history, cigarette smoking, and environmental pollution.

Weekly consumption of marine fish or fish oil supplements of about 8-12 ounces (2-3 servings) in the third trimester of pregnancy has the potential to reduce the risk of asthma in newborn and children along with numerous other health benefits.