Fish oil during pregnancy and reduced Asthma in our children
by Dr. Alan Kadish NMD
When we talk about Fish oil we typically consider it as a way to help brain development in pregnancy, however with the most recent findings, from the University of Copenhagen, it appears there are additional benefits.Their findings suggest that if you or someone in your family has asthma and/or possibly other types of respiratory disorders, it’s advantageous especially during the last three months of pregnancy, to use fish oils.
The results of the study, which was done with 736 women, tell us that the difference between the mom’s using fish oil (2.4g 1-2 caps) is statistically significant. Only 17% of youngsters, by age 5, actually had any respiratory issues, from the moms taking fish oil caps. This is compared to the 24% of kids who have respiratory issues, when the mom’s did not use fish oil caps during pregnancy.
As a note not all fish oils are the same so as a consumer be wary. There are quality products that contain adequate levels of both DHA and EPA and are stabilized. The good manufacturers check for both oxidation, the content of heavy metals and other contaminants. Unfortunately there are a large number of commercial and a very low quality products in the marketplace. How do you know which one to purchase ? One way is to go to the manufacturer’s website and check for oxidation levels. PCB’s, Dioxins and more or you can go to our store which only contains the quality manufacturers and purchased directly.
Interestingly, the levels that were present in the moms who are pregnant and had in fact been taking the fish oil capsules was approximately 15 to 20 times the blood levels that’s found in typical American adults, who were not taking fish oil capsules. Before you consider that last fact, keep in mind that there were no safety issues found while women who were pregnant were taking the fish oil supplements.
Take away: Fish Oil capsules make sense provide some degree of protection potentially from respiratory distress for your newborn.
Want more information and to have the healthiest pregnancy possible ? Call us at the Center of Health, 541.773.3191
Fish Oil–Derived Fatty Acids in Pregnancy and Wheeze and Asthma in Offspring
N Engl J Med 2016; 375:2530-2539 December 29, 2016 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1503734
Reduced intake of n−3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) may be a contributing factor to the increasing prevalence of wheezing disorders. We assessed the effect of supplementation with n−3 LCPUFAs in pregnant women on the risk of persistent wheeze and asthma in their offspring.
We randomly assigned 736 pregnant women at 24 weeks of gestation to receive 2.4 g of n−3 LCPUFA (fish oil) or placebo (olive oil) per day. Their children formed the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood2010 (COPSAC2010) cohort and were followed prospectively with extensive clinical phenotyping. Neither the investigators nor the participants were aware of group assignments during follow-up for the first 3 years of the children’s lives, after which there was a 2-year follow-up period during which only the investigators were unaware of group assignments. The primary end point was persistent wheeze or asthma, and the secondary end points included lower respiratory tract infections, asthma exacerbations, eczema, and allergic sensitization.
A total of 695 children were included in the trial, and 95.5% completed the 3-year, double-blind follow-up period. The risk of persistent wheeze or asthma in the treatment group was 16.9%, versus 23.7% in the control group (hazard ratio, 0.69; 95% confidence interval
[CI], 0.49 to 0.97; P=0.035), corresponding to a relative reduction of 30.7%. Prespecified subgroup analyses suggested that the effect was strongest in the children of women whose blood levels of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid were in the lowest third of the trial population at randomization: 17.5% versus 34.1% (hazard ratio, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.25 to 0.83; P=0.011). Analyses of secondary end points showed that supplementation with n−3 LCPUFA was associated with a reduced risk of infections of the lower respiratory tract (31.7% vs. 39.1%; hazard ratio, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.58 to 0.98; P=0.033), but there was no statistically significant association between supplementation and asthma exacerbations, eczema, or allergic sensitization.
Supplementation with n−3 LCPUFA in the third trimester of pregnancy reduced the absolute risk of persistent wheeze or asthma and infections of the lower respiratory tract in offspring by approximately 7 percentage points, or one third. (Funded by the Lundbeck Foundation and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00798226.)
COPSAC is supported by private and public research funds, all of which are listed at www.copsac.com. The Lundbeck Foundation, the Danish Ministry of Health, the Danish Council for Strategic Research, the Danish Council for Independent Research, and the Capital Region Research Foundation provided core support for COPSAC. Dr. Stark holds a Canada Research Chair in Nutritional Lipidomics and receives salary support from the Canada Research Chairs program.
Dr. Bisgaard reports receiving consulting fees from Chiesi Pharmaceuticals and Boehringer Ingelheim, and Drs. Bisgaard and Bønnelykke report being named on a pending patent related to the prevention of childhood asthma through FADS genotyping and the assessment of blood levels of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid in pregnant mothers. No other potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.
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