Maternal Diet & Allergic Risk

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A group of researchers in the UK conducted a systematic data review and found that a mother’s diet can influence her child’s risk of developing allergic disease or autoimmune disease. Among other findings, they reported the positive health benefits of probiotics and fish oil supplementation. “Maternal probiotic and fish oil supplementation may reduce the risk of eczema and allergic sensitization to food, respectively,” the researchers wrote.
Specifically, a daily probiotic supplement such as L. rhamnosus, taken from around 36 to 38 weeks gestation through the first 3 to 6 months of lactation, may reduce the risk of eczema in the child, according to the study. And a fish oil supplement, taken from around 20 weeks gestation through the first 3 to 4 months of lactation, may reduce the risk of allergic sensitization to egg or peanut in the child, the researchers wrote. More research is needed.

The study was published in PLOS Medicine.

Editor’s note: Pregnant women should always consult their doctors before taking supplements.