By Johanna Weidner
WATERLOO— Simply taking certain omega-3 fatty acid supplements during pregnancy can cut the risk of childhood asthma by almost a third, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo and a Copenhagen research centre.
“To be able to reduce the risk with something as simple as a fish oil capsule is remarkable,” said Prof. Ken Stark of Waterloo’s faculty of applied health sciences, who led the testing of the pregnant women’s blood for the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that women who were prescribed 2.4 grams of long-chain omega-3 supplements during the third trimester of pregnancy reduced their children’s risk of asthma by 31 per cent.
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found in cold water fish and are crucial to regulating a person’s immune response.