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Maternal Omega-3 Supplementation During Pregnancy, but Not Childhood Supplementation, Reduces the Risk of Food Allergy Diseases in Offspring

Huynh L, Nguyen N, Fan H, Huang S, Huang C, Chen Y (2023) The journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Sep;11(9):2862-2871.e8 doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2023.06.005 

Web URL: Read this article on PubMed


Background: Omega-3 supplementation has been reported to modulate immune responses and prevent food allergies among children; however, findings are inconsistent, and the timing of supplementation, which is critical, has not been thoroughly investigated.

Objective: To assess optimal timing (maternal vs childhood intake) of omega-3 supplementation for reducing food allergy risk among children in 2 periods (the first 3 years and beyond 3 years of age).

Methods: We performed a meta-analysis to assess the effects of maternal or childhood omega-3 supplementation on preventing the development of infant food allergies and food sensitizations. The PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Science databases were searched for related studies published until October 30, 2022. We conducted dose-response and subgroup analyses to investigate the effects of omega-3 supplementation.

Results: We found that maternal omega-3 supplementation during pregnancy and lactation was significantly associated with decreased risks of infant egg sensitization (relative risk [RR]: 0.58, 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 0.47-0.73, P < .01) and peanut sensitization (RR: 0.62, 95% CI: 0.47-0.80, P < .01) among children. Similar results were found in subgroup analyses for food allergy, egg sensitization, and peanut sensitization during the first 3 years of age and peanut sensitization and cashew nut sensitization beyond 3 years of age. Dose-response analysis showed a linear relationship between maternal omega-3 supplementation and infant egg sensitization risk during early life. By contrast, intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid during childhood did not appear to significantly protect against food allergies.

Conclusions: Maternal omega-3 supplementation during pregnancy and lactation, rather than childhood intake, reduces the risk of infant food allergy and food sensitization.


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