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Allergy. 2015 Dec;70(12):1588-604. doi: 10.1111/all.12729. Epub 2015 Sep 21.

Maternal nutrition during pregnancy and risk of asthma, wheeze, and atopic diseases during childhood: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author information

Division of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.
Respiratory and Allergy Units, Arrixaca University Children's Hospital, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain.
IMIB Bio-research Institute, Murcia, Spain.
Division of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy, and Immunology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.



Epidemiologic studies suggest a relationship between maternal nutrition during pregnancy and the occurrence of asthma and atopic conditions during childhood. However, individual study results are conflicting. The objective of this meta-analysis was to critically examine the current evidence for an association between nutrition (dietary patterns, food groups, vitamins, or oligo-elements) ingestion during pregnancy and asthma, wheeze, or atopic conditions in childhood.


The inclusion criteria were as follows: (i) systematic recording of diet during the gestational period and (ii) documentation of asthma, wheezing, eczema, or other atopic disease in the offspring. The primary outcomes were prevalence of asthma or wheeze among the offspring during childhood; and secondary outcomes were prevalence of eczema, allergic rhinitis, or other atopic conditions.


We found 120 titles, abstracts, and citations, and 32 studies (29 cohorts) were included in this analysis. Data on vitamins, oligo-elements, food groups, and dietary patterns during pregnancy were collected. A meta-analysis revealed that higher maternal intake of vitamin D [odds ratio (OR) = 0.58, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.38-0.88], vitamin E (OR = 0.6, 95% CI = 0.46-0.78), and zinc (OR = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.40-0.97) was associated with lower odds of wheeze during childhood. However, none of these or other nutrients was consistently associated with asthma per se or other atopic conditions.


Current evidence suggests a protective effect of maternal intake of each of three vitamins or nutrients (vitamin D, vitamin E, and zinc) against childhood wheeze but is inconclusive for an effect on asthma or other atopic conditions.


asthma; atopy; children; diet; nutrition; pregnancy; wheeze

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