Previous research has shown that consuming adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy is important for the development of the child’s brain and visual system, and may also reduce the risk of preterm delivery.
“the typical American diet is greatly lacking in Omega—3’s. Research indicates that the two most beneficial omega-3s are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Although EPA and DHA naturally occur together and work together in the body, studies show that each fatty acid has unique benefits.
EPA supports the heart, immune system, and inflammatory response. DHA supports the brain, eyes, and central nervous system, which is why it is uniquely important for pregnant and lactating women.
Omega-3s have been found to be essential for both neurological and early visual development of the baby. However, the standard western diet is severely deficient in these critical nutrients. This omega-3 dietary deficiency is compounded by the fact that pregnant women become depleted in omega-3s because the fetus uses omega-3s for its nervous system development.”
Now a recent Danish study of some 736 pregnant women showed that fish oil consumed during pregnancy can reduce the risk of children developing asthma. The women received 2.4 grams a day of omega-3 fatty acids (55% EPA and 37% DHA) beginning at 25 weeks of gestation and continuing until one week after delivery. The incidence of persistent wheeze or asthma in the offspring at three-to-five years of age was 30.7% lower in the omega-3 group than in the placebo group.
The New York Times similarly reported on this study writing:
Previous research had suggested that fish oil might help prevent asthma. The idea is plausible because inflammation in the airways and lungs plays a major role in asthma, and fatty acids in fish oil are thought to prevent inflammation. The richest sources in food include fish like herring, sardines, mackerel, eel, and salmon.
Because the earlier studies suggesting a benefit from fish oil were not conclusive, the Danish researchers decided to test the idea.
They recruited 736 women. Starting in their third trimester, half the women took 2.4 grams of fish oil a day and half took placebo capsules of olive oil, continuing until one week after birth.
About a quarter of the mothers and a fifth of the fathers had asthma, and they were evenly distributed between the fish-oil and placebo groups.
The capsules were an over-the-counter product called Incromega TG33/22, a fish extract made by the British chemical company Croda Health Care. The extract contained the fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
The researchers tracked the children’s health, finding asthma less common in those whose mothers had taken the fish oil, with the effect lasting at least through age 7, the longest follow-up.”
- Cod Liver Oil
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
- Brussel Sprouts