Fish consumption in first year of life reduces risk of eczema and asthma in kids, finds study
Norway: Inculcating fish in the diet of infants in the first year of life is more influential in preventing allergy-related disease than maternal consumption, a recent study published in the MDPI journal Nutrients has found.
Children, when introduced to dietary fish early in life, have a reduced risk of eczema, asthma, and wheeze at six years of age. Similarly, taking cod liver oil at least four times per week was observed to have a protective effect. However, no consistent relationships were found between fish or cod liver oil consumption by mothers and allergy-related outcomes.
The role of dietary fish and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-PUFAs) in the primary prevention of allergic diseases remains uncertain. Torbjorn Oien, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, and colleagues investigate associations between the consumption of fish and cod liver oil (rich in n-PUFAs) from pregnancy to the first two years of life, and parental reported allergic diseases at six years of age.
The researchers used data from the Prevention of Allergy among Children in Trondheim study and included mother-infant pairs who had submitted questionnaires detailing both maternal or infant diet and allergic disease at six years of age.
Key findings include:
- Eating fish at least once a week at one year of age was associated with a 28%, 40% and 34% reduction in the odds of current eczema, asthma, and wheeze at six years of age, respectively.
- Cod liver oil consumption at least four times per week at one year of age tended to be associated with a lower risk of allergy-related outcomes at six years.
- No consistent associations were found between allergy-related outcomes and fish or cod liver oil consumption by mothers
"The preventive effect of fish consumption is best achieved by increasing dietary fish in the first year of life.," concluded the authors.