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Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2017 Mar;28(2):152-161. doi: 10.1111/pai.12648. Epub 2016 Oct 28.

Fish intake during pregnancy or infancy and allergic outcomes in children: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Child Development and Disorders, Key Laboratory of Pediatrics in Chongqing, Chongqing International Science and Technology Cooperation Center for Child Development and Disorders, Department of Gastroenterology, Children's Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China.
Department of Geriatrics, the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China.
Division of Reproductive and Child Health, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, Delhi, India.


It has been suggested that n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LC-PUFAs) have anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce the risk of allergic disease. Fish is a great source of n-3 LC-PUFAs. However, the effect of fish on allergic disease remains controversial. PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective cohort studies regarding the effect of fish intake during pregnancy or infancy on allergic outcomes in children. The outcomes of interest were atopy, eczema, allergic rhinitis, wheeze, asthma, and food allergy. One RCT and 17 publications from 13 prospective cohort studies were included for maternal fish intake during pregnancy, and eight publications from five prospective cohort studies for fish intake in infancy. Pooled analysis suggested that maternal fish intake during pregnancy was not associated with lower risk of any allergic outcome, both in RCT and observational studies. Consumption of fish during the first year of life reduced the risk of eczema (RR 0.61; 95% CI 0.47, 0.80; p = 0.0003; I2  = 68%) and allergic rhinitis (RR 0.54; 95% CI 0.36, 0.81; p = 0.003; I2  = 74%). Current evidence indicates that fish intake in infancy could reduce the risk of eczema and allergic rhinitis in children, whereas maternal fish intake during pregnancy does not affect any atopic outcome. The intake of fish per se in infancy, not specially n-3 LC-PUFAs, may have an allergy protective effect. High-quality and adequately powered RCTs are warranted to confirm this.


allergenic foods; allergic outcome; allergy; children; fish; nutrition

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