Introduction of fish or cod liver oil early in life could help to prevent eczema, wheezing, and asthma by age 6, according to the results of a recent study.1
Currently, it is unclear how dietary fish and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids affect the development of allergic diseases.
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To examine potential associations between these factors, researchers conducted an analysis of data from the Prevention of Allergy among Children in Trondheim study, which included data from more than 4000 who filled out questionnaires detailing maternal and infant diet and allergic disease.
Overall, they found that fish consumption at least once per week at one year of age was associated with 28%, 40%, and 34% reductions in the odds of developing eczema, asthma, and wheeze at 6 years of age. Further, consumption of cod liver oil at least 4 times per week at one year of age was also associated with lower risk of allergy-related outcomes at 6 years. However, no association was found between allergy outcomes in children and fish and cod liver oil consumption by their mothers.
“In line with previous meta-analyses of several studies, we found that consuming fish at the age of one year seems to reduce the risk of eczema, asthma and wheezing at the age of six. This is more significant than the mother's intake of fish and cod liver oil during pregnancy and breastfeeding or the child's intake at two years, which do not appear to have the same protective effect,” the authors concluded in an accompanying press release.2
Fish in early childhood reduces risk of disease [press release]. Norway. October 4, 2019. https://norwegianscitechnews.com/2019/10/fish-in-early-childhood-reduces-risk-of-disease/. Accessed October 9, 2019.
Oien T, Schjelvaag A, Johnsen R, Simpson MR. Fish consumption at one year of age reduces the risk of eczema, asthma and wheeze at six years of age [published online August 21, 2019]. Nutrients. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11091969.