Prenatal fatty acid not tied to childhood wheezing

October 6, 2004 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Prenatal fatty acid not tied to childhood wheezing

Levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the diets of pregnant women do not appear to have any important influence on the development of wheezing and allergies in their children, UK researchers report.

It has been proposed that changing patterns of fatty acids in the diet may contribute to the growing rate of asthma and allergy in children. Prenatal interactions of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids could be involved in an imbalance that ultimately might lead to the airway inflammation involved in asthma. To investigate, the researchers studied thousands of blood samples obtained from women late in pregnancy, as well as umbilical cord blood samples.

Initially it appeared that there was a positive association between omega-6 related fatty acids and wheezing, and a negative association between omega-3 associated products and wheezing. But after the data were adjusted to correct for other risk factors, there were no significant differences.

The researchers concluded that they did not find convincing evidence that higher fetal exposure to omega-6 versus omega-3 fatty acids promotes the development of eczema or wheezing in early childhood.

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