A government-backed study commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency and conducted at the Imperial College London recently found out that taking fish oil and probiotic supplements during pregnancy can severely decrease a child's risk for allergies later in life.
The study found that the risk of egg allergy dropped by as much as 30% in children whose mothers added fish oil supplement to their daily dose of vitamins after the twentieth week at least until the fourth month of breastfeeding.
A total of 400 studies and 1.5 million mothers and children were analyzed during the study, which led to the said results.
As of the moment, the results of the study contradict the recommendations of the National Health Service (NHS). The NHS currently recommends avoiding vitamin A supplements, which includes fish liver oil supplements, for fear of too much vitamin A affecting the unborn baby in the womb.
Furthermore, while the NHS recommends eating at least two portions of fish every week for a healthy diet, pregnant women should be wary as certain fish can contain pollutants that can eventually build-up with regular consumption.
The UK has seen a rise in egg allergy and eczema over the past few years, a result of the children's immune system having become over-active. Many experts believe that the main reason for the increase is that the children of today are no longer as exposed to bacteria. By taking in probiotics during pregnancy, children, while in the womb, are exposed to good bacteria, which help their still-developing immune system become less sensitive to allergies once they are born. Meanwhile, the effect of fish oil on the immune system has not been fully understood yet, but it is believed it may help calm the immune system and minimize over-reactions.
Regardless, more research is necessary to find out exactly how fish oil pills and probiotics benefit pregnant women and the unborn children they are carrying.