In recent years, more and more studies have linked the risk of a child to develop chronic diseases with the diet of the mother during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
A recent review of 400 studies of Imperial College of London, has shown that children of women who have received supplements of fish oil and probiotics during pregnancy are less likely to develop allergies or eczema (atopic dermatitis) in the future.
The causes of food allergies and eczema have not yet been clarified. Nevertheless, the incidence of food allergies and atopic dermatitis is increasing.
According to the review, the administration of fish oil supplements (omega-3 fatty acids) from the 20th week of pregnancy until the first 3-4 months of breastfeeding, significantly reduces the risk by 38% of developing food allergies (egg, pistachios).
In addition, children of women who received probiotic supplements from the 36th week of pregnancy up to the first six months of breastfeeding had a significantly lower risk (22%) of developing atopic dermatitis and eczema in infancy and childhood (6 months to 3 years). Dietary supplements were taken in liquid or powder form and mainly contained the probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus.
Furthermore, in the aforementioned review was also found that the duration of breastfeeding was inversely associated with the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. The way, however, that probiotics and omega 3 fatty acids exert a protective effect has not yet become clear, but it is believed that they may help dampen down the immune system and prevent it from over-reacting.
In any case, the above study reinforces the need for women to be properly informed about the diet during pregnancy and lactation.