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Reduce your child’s risk of allergies

A government study commissioned by the British Food Standards Agency, had scientists at the Imperial College in London pool data from more than 400 studies involving 1.5 million mothers and their children and had some rather astounding findings regarding allergy risks.

When one, yes one fish oil capsule was taken starting at the 20th week pregnancy and continued for 3-4 months during breastfeeding, egg allergies  were reduced by 30 percent. And  the risk of developing Eczema  was reduced by 22 per cent in children whose mothers took a probiotic supplement between 36 and 38 weeks of pregnancy.

For many of our readers this is less than new news as there continues to be a barrage of new information supporting the use of these two very accessable low risk products. When it comes to the fish oils remember that they should be refrigerated and to purchase quality products. How do you know…. it’s not the price it has to do with the source, processing and what’s used to keep the oil from going rancid. A good article on the subject is available at: Nordic Naturals.  To be clear there are other reputable firms that also produce quality products. Their explanation of how to choose a fish oil capsule is why their site is listed.

It’s important to note that there are non-fish sources of the DHA/EPA active ingredients found in the fish based capsules. Algal oil, an algae based option, is a viable and easily available product to consider. It has a lower potential for toxic metal accumulation and clearly is more ecologically sound. 

On the probiotic news sites. There has been a similar explosion of literature most of which has focused on the fact that the numbers game being played in the commercial arena should not be the swaying factor to purchase an item. There is also the use of many strains to try to get every type of probiotic into a pill or capsule. Again this may not be the key to a good product. Most of the published papers regarding the friendly bacteria in PubMed clearly only use a single or a few stains of a known concentration to achieve disease changes. 

One of the newest considerations regarding one’s gut bacteria are what other medications, not antibiotics, are being taken. Did you know that the ~24% of non-antibiotic common medications have an influence on your microbiome. (gut contents) Now it would be almost silly not to suggest that the class of prebiotics, those products that feed our gut bacteria, should be a starting point regardless of where you are in terms of your pregnancy or breastfeeding journey. Easiest way to seed the microbiome… lots of fiber containing foods. Veggies top the list but don’t leave out all the rest of the whole food plant based groups.

Another interesting finding of this meta analysis,  the researchers “found no evidence that avoiding potentially allergenic foods such as nuts, dairy and eggs during pregnancy made a difference to a child’s allergy or eczema risk.”

So should you consider using both a fish or non-fish based oil capsule and/or a probiotic ? See your health care provider and open up the dialogue.

Fish oil during pregnancy ‘slashes risk of child food allergies’

The Government-commissioned study is the largest ever of its kind
28 February 2018 • 7:00pm
Taking fish oil during pregnancy cuts the risk of some child allergies by nearly a third, a Government study suggests. A daily fish oil capsule taken after the 20th week of pregnancy and for the first three or four months of breastfeeding cut the chances of a child developing an egg allergy by 30 per cent, the research showed.
Eczema risk was reduced by 22 per cent in children whose mothers took a probiotic supplement between 36 and 38 weeks of pregnancy.Adding beneficial bacteria to the diet during the first three to six months of breastfeeding had the same effect.The findings come from one of the biggest investigations of maternal diet and childhood allergy ever undertaken.
Commissioned by the Food Standards Agency, scientists at Imperial College London pooled data from more than 400 studies involving 1.5 million mothers and their children.
While clear benefits were seen from fish oil and probiotics, there was no evidence that avoiding potentially allergy-triggering foods such as nuts, dairy produce and eggs during pregnancy had any effect.
Lead researcher Dr Robert Boyle, from Imperial College London, said: “Food allergies and eczema in children are a growing problem across the world.
“Although there has been a suggestion that what a woman eats during pregnancy may affect her baby’s risk of developing allergies or eczema, until now there has never been such a comprehensive analysis of the data.
“Our research suggests probiotic and fish oil supplements may reduce a child’s risk of developing an allergic condition, and these findings need to be considered when guidelines for pregnant women are updated.” Allergies to foods such as nuts, egg, milk or wheat affect around one in 20 children in the UK. They are the result of the immune system overreacting to harmless substances, leading to symptoms such as rashes, swelling, vomiting and wheezing.
Probiotics was linked to reduced risk of eczema. Eczema, also thought to involve an overactive immune response, affects around one in five children in the UK and causes dry, cracked and itchy skin. People who suffer from eczema are also more likely to have allergies. More work is needed to understand how fish oils and probiotics may protect against allergies and eczema, according to study co-author Dr Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, also from Imperial College. She said: “Despite allergies and eczema being on the rise, and affecting millions of children, we are still hunting for the root causes of these conditions, and how to prevent them. “This study has provided clues, which we now need to follow with further research.” The new findings appear in the latest issue of the online journal Public Library of Science Medicine.
Previous studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil may help to dampen down an overactive immune system. Probiotics, taken in the form of capsules, a powder or a health drink, contain live bacteria that may influence the natural balance of microbes in the gut. Scientists have linked the disruption of naturally occurring gut “flora” to allergy risk.
Commenting on the research, Seif Shaheen, professor of respiratory epidemiology at Queen Mary University of London, said: “More definitive answers on the possible role of maternal probiotic and fish oil supplementation in the prevention of childhood allergic disease can only come from further large trials, which follow up the children to school age.
“If such trials are big enough they may be able to identify particular subgroups of mothers and children who would benefit most from these interventions.”