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What Benefits Can Come From Taking Fish Oil While Pregnant?

Doctors would agree that what you eat during pregnancy will determine the health of your child. Many studies have shown that taking fish oil during pregnancy can reduce the risk of asthma or wheezing, reduce the risk of food allergies and boost the immune system to reduce infant colds. These health benefits are enhanced by the Omega-3 fatty acids and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) provided by fish oil. There are many reasons to consume fish oil even for those who are not pregnant. Many people believe it can help prevent cardiovascular disease, ease inflammation, improve mental health, and lengthen life; it may also help before one is born.

 

asthmawheezingsmallerResearch reported on in the Public Library of Science supports a relationship between maternal diet and risk of immune-mediated diseases in the child. Maternal probiotic and fish oil supplementation may reduce the risk of eczema and allergic sensitization to food, respectively. Allergies to food, such as nuts, eggs, milk or wheat are a symptom of the auto-immune system malfunctioning and overreacting, causing trigger symptoms such as rashes, swelling, vomiting and wheezing. The reduced risk to allergic sensitization to food may be due to the anti-inflammatory nature of Omega-3. This study showed that when the mother took fish oil during pregnancy and breast feeding the risk of food allergies was reduced.

The increase in the use of vegetable oil and grain fed livestock over the last few decades has resulted in people eating more n−6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and in a decrease in the intake of n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3 is an n-3 polyunsaturated fat. Research from the New England Journal of Medicine has found that this is why there are more instances of wheezing and asthma in children. The conclusion of this study stated that a supplement with an n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid in the third trimester of pregnancy reduced the risk of persistent wheeze or asthma and infections of the lower respiratory tract in offspring by approximately one third.

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An American Academy of Pediatrics article found that DHA supplementation during pregnancy decreased the occurrence of colds in children at 1 month and influenced illness symptom duration at 1, 3, and 6 months. Infants whose mothers took supplements containing DHA had fewer days with cold symptoms during their first six months of life. Newborns in the DHA group were also slightly less likely to come down with a cold in the first place. Research also shows that the fatty acid composition of many of our immune cells affects their function.

Our unprocessed, Extra Virgin Fish Oil is a great way of ingesting Omega-3 and DHA, though there are other good ways of getting these into your system as well. Fish, such as Cod, salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in Omega-3s. The World Health Organization recommends that people consume 1-2 portions of fish per week. The FDA recommends that pregnant women eat at least 8 ounces and up to 12 ounces (340 grams) of a variety of low mercury seafood a week. The seafood that are low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids, are: cod salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, trout, and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel. Other safe choices include shrimp, pollock, tilapia, catfish and canned light tuna. However, pregnant women should limit white (albacore) tuna and tuna steaks to 6 ounces (170 grams) a week. If you don’t eat seafood, you can get omega-3s from other sources such as our Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil from Norway. One to two servings of these per day can help you avoid a deficiency of omega-3s. If deciding to purchase and use supplements, be sure to buy them from the cleanest, synthetic-free fish oil on the market to make sure you are getting fish oil without other additives that could be harmful.

Sources:

Public Library of Science Medical Journal http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002507

New England Journal of Medicine https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1503734

Mayo clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-fish-oil/art-20364810

American Academy of Pediatrics http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/3/e505

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