Fish Oil Consumption During Pregnancy Reduce Infant Flu
During pregnancy, mothers are generally advised to consume supplements to meet nutritional needs of both the mothers and the babies. A recent study revealed that intake of fish oil supplements during pregnancy increases the baby’s immune system and protects from flu during the early months of their lives.
Infants whose mothers were given DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, or known as omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil, does not get sick too often and recover faster than infants whose mothers do not consume fish oil. The differences of the infants’ immune whose mothers consumed fish oil in semester 1 and semester 2 of pregnancy is not very significant.
The study’s lead author, Usha Ramakrishnan, a researcher at the Academy of Rollins Public Health at Emory University, noted that DHA is not a natural remedy for flu. However, he added, a supplement may help endurance and recover faster.
“Our findings provide health benefits for babies,” said Ramakrishnan, a professor in the Department of Global Health Atlanta in the study of the latest issue of the Pediatrics journal.
Ramakrishnan and his colleagues tested 851 pregnant women in the second trimester of pregnancy, until the baby is born, until the age of six months. Approximately half of the pregnant women were given 400 milligrams of DHA every day since the second trimester. The rest, were given a placebo.
Mothers were interviewed when the infant reaches the age of one month, two months, three and six months. Mother were asked for respiratory symptoms, such as cough, phlegm congestion, and nasal congestion.
One-month-old infants who were given fish oil had a shorter time of illness accompanied by respiratory symptoms. The effects of acquired immunity from previous studies, the cells can work better with the intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Dr. Samuel Parry, head of maternal and child medicine at the University of Pennsylvania states that more research is needed before recommending fish oil supplements to patients.
“We do not think DHA have adverse effect on pregnancy,” he said. “But we’re skeptical that fish oil helps prevent flu in babies.” Parry said.
The member of Research Center for Women’s Reproductive Health also recommended that pregnant women should be careful in choosing supplements during pregnancy.