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Prenatal Fish Oil Supplementation and Allergy: 6-Year Follow-up of a Randomized Controlled Trial

Best KP, Sullivan T, Palmer D, Gold M, Kennedy DJ, Martin J, Makrides M (2016) Pediatrics.  2016 Jun;137(6).  pii: e20154443. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-4443 

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Evidence from randomized controlled trials in early infancy suggest that prenatal supplementation with Ω-3 (n-3) long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) reduces the incidence of allergic disease characterized by an immunoglobulin E (IgE) response. We aimed to determine whether protective effects were evident in the 6-year-old offspring of women supplemented with n-3 rich fish oil during pregnancy.


Six-year follow-up of children (n = 706) with a family history of allergic disease from the Docosahexaenoic Acid to Optimize Mother Infant Outcome (DOMInO) trial. Women were randomly allocated to receive n-3 LCPUFA-rich fish oil capsules (800 mg/d docosahexaenoic acid DHA and 100mg/d eicosapentaenoic acid) or vegetable oil capsules (without n-3 LCPUFA). Allergic disease symptoms including eczema, wheeze, rhinitis, and rhino-conjunctivitis, were assessed using the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire and sensitization to allergens was measured by skin prick test.


There was no difference in the percentage of children with any IgE-associated allergic disease between the n-3 LCPUFA and control groups (116/367 [31.5%] vs 106/336 [31.5%]; adjusted relative risk, 1.04; 95% confidence interval, 0.82-1.33; P = .73). There was a reduction in the percentage of children sensitized to house dust mite Dermatophagoides farinae (49/367 [13.4%] vs 68/336 [20.3%]; adjusted relative risk, 0.67, 95% confidence interval, 0.44-1.00; P = .0495).


Prenatal n-3 LCPUFA supplementation did not reduce IgE-associated allergic disease at 6 years of age. Secondary outcomes were suggestive of a protective effect of the intervention on the incidence of D. farinae sensitization.