University of Oulu

Komulainen, M, Saros, L, Vahlberg, T, Nermes, M, Jartti, T, Laitinen, K. Maternal fish oil and/or probiotics intervention: Allergic diseases in children up to two years old. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2023; 34:e14004. doi:10.1111/pai.14004

Maternal fish oil and/or probiotics intervention : allergic diseases in children up to two years old

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Author: Komulainen, Miisa1,2; Saros, Lotta2; Vahlberg, Tero3;
Organizations: 1Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Turku University Hospital and University of Turku, Turku, Finland
2Institute of Biomedicine, Research Centre for Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
3Department of Clinical Medicine, Biostatistics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
4Research Unit of Clinical Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
6Functional Foods Forum, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-10-30


Background: As n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and probiotics possess immunomodulatory properties, theoretically they could lower the risk of allergic diseases. But their effects remain controversial. We aimed to study the effects of fish oil and probiotics separately or in combination from early pregnancy onwards to lower the risk of allergic diseases in the infants.

Methods: In this double-blind trial, women (n = 439) in early pregnancies were randomized into four intervention groups: fish oil + placebo, probiotics + placebo, fish oil + probiotics, and placebo + placebo. Fish oil (1.9 g docosahexaenoic acid and 0.22 g eicosapentaenoic acid) and probiotic (Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus HN001 and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis 420, 10¹⁰ colony-forming units each) supplements were provided for daily consumption from randomization up to 6 months postpartum. All analyses were adjusted with pet ownership.

Results: No difference between the infants in the four intervention groups were found regarding physician-diagnosed food allergy, atopic eczema, or atopy at the age of 12 or 24 months (all p > .05). The probiotic intervention was associated with lower odds of recurrent wheezing at 24 months (OR 0.39, 95% CI 0.18–0.84, p = .017), but not at 12 months.

Conclusions: The use of fish oil and/or probiotics from early pregnancy onwards did not lower the odds of childhood allergic diseases or atopy, with the exception of the probiotic intervention which decreased the risk of recurrent wheezing when the infants were two years old. This suggests that the incidence of asthma could also decrease later in childhood and thus these outcomes need to be clarified in further investigations.

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Series: Pediatric allergy and immunology
ISSN: 0905-6157
ISSN-E: 1399-3038
ISSN-L: 0905-6157
Volume: 34
Issue: 8
Article number: e14004
DOI: 10.1111/pai.14004
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
Funding: This work was supported by Academy of Finland (#258606), State research funding for university-level health research of the Turku University Hospital Expert Responsibility Area, the Diabetes Research Foundation, the Juho Vainio Foundation, the Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation, Business Finland (3486/31/2015), and Allergy, Skin and Asthma Federation (personal support to M.K.). The probiotic and placebo capsules were provided by DuPont, and fish oil and placebo capsules were provided by Croda Europe Ltd. The funding sources had no role in the design, execution, analyses, interpretation of the data, or decision to submit results.
Copyright information: © 2023 The Authors. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology published by European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.