Researchers at the University of South Florida recently published a scientific review of two studies that found that pregnant women who consume fish rather than fish oil supplements may also protect their children from developing asthma.
Children whose mothers consume high doses of omega-3 fatty acids daily during the third trimester are less likely to experience respiratory problems as adults.
The review considered two articles. One study included three hundred and forty-six pregnant women in the third trimester who took daily omega-3 fatty acids and three hundred and forty-nine patients who took a placebo. The researchers also divided the trial population into three groups based on the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the supplements. It turned out that those women who initially had the lowest blood levels of these substances in their blood received the most health benefits from supplementing fish oil in their diet. Pregnant women were divided into three groups: those who consumed fish oil, placebo and a third group who there was a suggestion to take a supplement, but they themselves decided whether to take it during the third trimester. The first group took daily omega-3 fatty acids, the placebo group – olive oil. The researchers found that the first and third groups were taking fewer asthma medications before the age of twenty-four. Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be synthesized by humans and are therefore essential nutrients that are obtained exclusively from marine sources, the authors note. At nearly the same price, or slightly higher, eating 8-12 ounces (2-3 servings) of fish per week may not only provide the same protection against asthma, but also enhance growth and developmental conditions for infants, the researchers say.