Years ago when my middle son, then almost two, was suffering with a persistent wheeze a naturopath told me to give him daily fish oil. My child turned up his nose at almost any different food, so I was skeptical, but gave it a try. To my surprise, he gobbled it up.
The wheeze eventually went away, whether the fish oil played a role remains to be decided. However, I continue to supplement all my children’s diets (as well as my own) with omega-3 fatty acids.
Now, new research out of the University of Waterloo has found that taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements during pregnancy can reduce the risk of childhood asthma by almost a third. And, if it pays to load up while you are expecting, it only makes sense that these healthy fish oils can also play a role in reducing the risk/impact of asthma in children as well. (As my naturopath explained years ago.)
The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that women who were prescribed 2.4 grams of long-chain omega-3 supplements during their third trimester of pregnancy reduced their child’s risk of developing asthma by 31 percent. Why? These fats, commonly found in cold-water fish, are key to regulating human immune responses.
Western diets are typically very low in omega-3 fatty acids, and experts feel this may be tied to the rising rates of childhood asthma. Asthma and wheezing disorders have more than doubled in Western countries in the last decade. Currently one in five children suffer from asthma or a related disorder before starting grade school. Experts feel fish oil is a key preventative measure in reducing these numbers.