Impact of Perinatal N-3 LC-PUFA Supplementation on Asthma Risk in Offspring

In a meta-analysis in BMC Pediatrics, researchers evaluated supplementation of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 LC-PUFA) during pregnancy and its effect on infant’s risk of asthma or wheezing. In the article, lead authors, Yin Jia and Yafang Huang, concluded that perinatal n-3 LC-PUFA supplementation may “reduce the incidence of asthma/wheeze and allergic asthma in children under certain conditions, and higher doses indicate better protective effect.”

The researchers reviewed 3,037 pairs of mothers and their infants obtained from eight randomized controlled trials which were published to the Cochrane Library, Embase, Medline, Web of Science, and PubMed databases by March 2021. Dose-response relationships of n-3 LC-PUFA supplementation were assessed using the robust-error meta-regression meta-analysis. The primary measure was the risk of asthma and/or wheeze, and the secondary outcome was allergic asthma.

Perinatal N-3 LC-PUFA Supplementation Outcomes

Overall, n-3 LC-PUFA supplementation during pregnancy did not noticeably lower the risk of asthma or wheeze (risk ratio [RR], 0.93; 95% CI, 0.82-1.04; P=.21) and allergic asthma (RR, 0.66; 95% CI 0.24-1.86; P=.44). Although the researchers noted the risk of asthma/wheeze was significantly decreased in the following subgroups:

  • Patients from studies in Europe (RR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.53-0.89)
  • Patients that received a minimum dose of 1200 mg of daily n-3 LC-PUFA (RR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.55-0.88)
  • Patients who continued supplementation from pregnancy to the lactation period (RR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.51-0.95)

Lastly, in the linear dose-response analysis, the authors reported that the risk of asthma/wheeze was reduced by 2% when the daily dose of n-3 LC-PUFA was increased by 100 mg.

Ultimately, the authors suggested that n-3 LC-PUFA supplementation during pregnancy can reduce the rate of asthma/wheeze and allergic asthma in infants. In closing, they advised that “further studies are required to confirm the hypothesis of an association between n-3 LC-PUFA intake and childhood asthma/wheeze prevention.”

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