Mother’s diet influences baby’s allergies

New research published in The Journal of Physiology has shown that the more fish and nut polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3PUFAs) in a mother’s diet, the less likely her baby is to suffer from allergies. In the west, fish and nut oils are being replaced by corn oils, so this group of PUFAs are slowly disappearing from mother’s diets.

The team, from the INRA research institute in Rennes, France, found that supplementing a mother’s diet with n-3PUFAs causes a change in how the baby’s gut develops, which in turn changes the way the gut immune system works, which has an effect on the likelihood of developing allergies in later life. The n-3PUFAs caused the newborn baby’s gut to be more permeable, which lets in more bacteria and new substances into the bloodstream which trigger the baby’s immune response and the production of antibodies. The end result is that the baby’s immune system develops and matures faster, leading to better immune function and a decreased likelihood of developing allergies.

This adds to a body of research that shows supplementation with n-3PUFAs during pregnancy increases gestational length and maturation of the baby’s central nervous system, plus possibly making your baby smarter or showing improvement of mental tasks in childhood. The team’s research involved piglets, so they will now replicate it with humans, as well as determining whether the advantages identified in newborns extends into later life.

Source: Journal of Physiology

Top of page