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Omega 3 Fish Oil Pregnancy/Heart
Omega 3 Fish Oil In Pregnancy Reduces Allergies In Infants
Over the last 20-30 years asthma and other allergic diseases in the Western world have increased at a rate that is causing concern.
Dr Janet A Dunstan, from the University of Western Australia, led a research team to discover whether supplementing a mother’s diet with fish oil during pregnancy could modify immune responses in babies. In other words, if pregnant women took fish oil supplements, would this reduce the chances of their baby developing an allergic disease?
In a randomized, controlled trial, 98 pregnant women with a history of allergic disease received a daily fish oil supplement (supplying 3.7g omega-3 fatty acids) or placebo from the 20th week of pregnancy until the birth. The new born babies of the women who took the fish oil supplements had a significantly higher proportion of omega-3 levels in the blood cells and a lower immune response to allergens. Researchers also discovered that these babies were three times less likely to be allergic to eggs at one year of age. They also found that, although there was no difference in the risk of development of dermatitis at one year of age, the infants in the fish oil group had significantly less severe disease.
Dr Dunstan and colleagues concluded that the results of this study “suggest a potential reduction in subsequent infant allergy after maternal PUFA supplementation. More detailed follow-up studies are required.”
Ref: Dunstan JA et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003;112:1178-84
Omega 3 Fish Oils and the Heart
In an article published in January in the UK’s prestigious British Medical
Journal (ref: Din JN et al. BMJ 2004; 328:330-5), the authors from the University
of Edinburgh confirmed that the omega-3 fatty acids from fish and fish oils
can protect against coronary heart disease. They also confirmed that optimal
intake of omega-3 fatty acids is not firmly established nor is their mechanism
of action fully understood.
The Edinburgh researchers conclude that more trials are needed to resolve the uncertainties that remain. They recommend a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of fish oil capsules in patients after heart attack and further trials un individuals with risk factors for coronary heart disease. They also state that clarification is needed on the relative effects of the fish oil derived omega-3 eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); and the merits of oily fish compared with fish oil capsules. They further suggest that research efforts should be focused on understanding the mechanisms by which fish oils confer cardiac benefits which will not only help refine the clinical applications of fish oils but may also identify other therapeutic targets and help guide the development of future treatments for coronary heart disease.
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