Fish lovers rejoice! According to a latest study, women who consume fish or fish oil during their pregnancy could be more likely to protect their offspring from developing asthma. The study conducted by the researchers at the University of South Florida in the US reviewed two studies that conclude children whose mothers' diet is rich in omega-3 fatty acids especially during the third trimester are less likely to develop breathing problems.
The first study included 346 pregnant women in their third trimester who took omega-3 fatty acids daily and 349 who took a placebo.The researchers also divided the trial population into three groups based on their blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The group with the lowest blood levels benefited the most from fish oil supplementation.
The second study slotted pregnant women in their third trimester into fish oil, placebo and "no oil" groups.
The fish oil group took omega-3 fatty acids daily and the placebo group took olive oil daily. The "no oil" group was informed of the trial proposal and therefore could consume fish oil or fish during the third trimester if they chose to do so.
The findings revealed that the fish oil and the "no oil" groups took less asthma medication as they aged to 24 years old, indicating that both groups developed less asthma.
"Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be synthesised by humans and therefore are essential nutrients which are derived exclusively from marine sources," said researcher Chen Hsing Lin.
"It may be premature to recommend daily high dose fish oil supplementation during the third trimester," said Lin.
"With almost equal to slightly higher cost, consuming 8- 12 ounces (2-3 servings) of fish a week not only may attain the same asthma protection, but strengthens the nutritional benefits to infant growth and development," said researcher Richard Lockey.