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Fish oil may dramatically cut babies' eczema risk, study suggests

Fish oil supplements can hugely reduce a baby’s risk of getting eczema, researchers have found

Times, New Delhi

Lachlan Mackinnon

Children can learn better at school by taking omega-3 fish oil supplements which boost their concentration, scientists say.

Infants of mothers who took omega-3 capsules during pregnancy were 36% less likely to suffer the skin condition, which affects a fifth of UK children. The babies were also 50% less likely to have egg allergies, the British Medical Journal trial involving nearly 2,400 women showed.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish and seafood and are thought to help develop the immune system. So pregnant women not eating enough of those foods should take supplements.

Oxford University’s Dr Alex Richardson, co-founder of the UK charity Food and Behaviour Research, said omega-3 supplements led to “highly-significant” reductions in premature births and low baby weight. He added: “The latest findings show omega-3 supplementation during pregnancy also led to dramatic reductions in the proportions of children suffering from either atopic eczema or allergic sensitisation to egg protein.”

Childhood eczema can range from relatively mild, with small areas of dry or red itchy skin, to more severe where the skin is cracked, sore and bleeding. Experts believe 1g of fish oil a day in the second half of pregnancy could radically cut the rate of skin conditions in babies. Allergies are on the rise and studies suggest increased use of vegetable oils rich in omega-6 fatty acids are partly to blame.

Maria Makrides of the University of Adelaide, who led the study of 2,400 pregnant women, said higher intakes of omega-3 reduced that risk of reactions.

Source; Daily Mirror

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