Reducing food allergies and eczema in children

Women who take fish oil and probiotics in later pregnancy and during breastfeeding may reduce their child’s risk of food allergy and eczema by 30 and 22 per cent respectively.

In one of the largest ever systematic reviews and meta-analyses published on the topic, researchers investigated more than 400 studies involving 1.5 million people examining how a pregnant woman’s whole diet affects her baby’s allergic or autoimmune risk.

Researchers found that supplementation with probiotics during late pregnancy and while breastfeeding may reduce eczema risk, and fish oil supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding may reduce the risk of sensitisation to food allergens. Combined studies also presented other areas of interest with limited data, including that longer duration of breastfeeding may reduce risk of eczema and Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus.

Results confirmed that supplementation with probiotics during pregnancy and breastfeeding were found to reduce the risk of a child developing eczema, between the ages of six months and three years, by 22 per cent. While many different probiotics were investigated for the systematic review and meta-analysis, researchers report that use of probiotic supplements, such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus at a dose of one to 10 billion colony-forming units per day, may reduce risk of eczema. This is consistent with a recent World Allergy Organization (WAO) systematic review and guideline.

The team also assessed around 19 trials of fish oil supplements during pregnancy, involving 15,000 people. These studies revealed a 30 per cent reduction in risk of egg allergy by age one when supplementing with fish oils during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is the equivalent of 31 children per 100, making it greatly relevant in a clinical setting to support and reduce egg allergy in children.

Source: The Clinical Digest: May 2018. Bio Concepts Pty Ltd

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