Randomized controlled trial of fish oil supplementation in pregnancy on childhood allergies

Debra Palmer, Thomas Sullivan, Michael Gold, Susan Prescott, Robert Heddle, Robert Gibson, Maria Makrides

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    53 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background Diets high in n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) may modulate the development of IgE-mediated allergic disease and have been proposed as a possible allergy prevention strategy. The aim of this study was to determine whether n-3 LCPUFA supplementation of pregnant women reduces IgE-mediated allergic disease in their children. Methods Follow-up of children (n = 706) at hereditary risk of allergic disease in the Docosahexaenoic Acid to Optimise Mother Infant Outcome randomized controlled trial. The intervention group (n = 368) was randomly allocated to receive fish oil capsules (providing 900 mg of n-3 LCPUFA daily) from 21 weeks' gestation until birth; the control group (n = 338) received matched vegetable oil capsules without n-3 LCPUFA. The diagnosis of allergic disease was made during medical assessments at 1 and 3 years of age. Results No differences were seen in the overall percentage of children with IgE-mediated allergic disease in the first 3 years of life between the n-3 LCPUFA and control groups (64/368 (17.3%) vs 76/338 (22.6%); adjusted relative risk 0.78; 95% CI 0.58-1.06; P = 0.11). Eczema was the most common allergic disease; 13.8% of children in the n-3 LCPUFA group had eczema with sensitization compared with 19.0% in the control group (adjusted relative risk 0.75; 95% CI 0.53-1.05; P = 0.10). Conclusions Overall, n-3 LCPUFA supplementation during pregnancy did not significantly reduce IgE-associated allergic disease in the first 3 years of life. Further studies should examine whether the nonsignificant reductions in IgE-associated allergies are of clinical and public health significance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1370-1376
    Number of pages7
    JournalAllergy
    Volume68
    Issue number11
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

    Keywords

    • allergy prevention
    • eczema
    • fatty acids
    • pregnancy
    • randomized controlled trial

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  • Cite this

    Palmer, D., Sullivan, T., Gold, M., Prescott, S., Heddle, R., Gibson, R., & Makrides, M. (2013). Randomized controlled trial of fish oil supplementation in pregnancy on childhood allergies. Allergy, 68(11), 1370-1376. https://doi.org/10.1111/all.12233