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Original Research: Signs and Symptoms of Chest Diseases |

Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation During Pregnancy and Respiratory Symptoms in ChildrenOmega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation During Pregnancy

María Consuelo Escamilla-Nuñez, MSc; Albino Barraza-Villarreal, PhD; Leticia Hernández-Cadena, PhD; Efraín Navarro-Olivos, MD; Peter D. Sly, MBBS, MD, DSc; Isabelle Romieu, MD, MPH, ScD
Author and Funding Information

From the Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública (Ms Escamilla-Nuñez and Drs Barraza-Villarreal, Hernández-Cadena, Navarro-Olivos, and Romieu), Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico; the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Research and Children’s Environmental Health (Dr Sly), Curtin University of Technology and Centre for Child of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia; and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (Dr Romieu), Lyon, France.

CORRESPONDENCE TO: Albino Barraza-Villarreal, PhD, Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica, Av. Universidad # 655, Col. Santa María Ahuacatitlán, C. P. 62100, Cuernavaca, Morelos, México; e-mail: abarraza@correo.insp.mx


FUNDING/SUPPORT: This study was supported by the National Council of Sciences and Technology CONACYT [Grant 87121] and by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development [Award R01HD058818].

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2014;146(2):373-382. doi:10.1378/chest.13-1432
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BACKGROUND:  Prenatal consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can act as an adjuvant in the development of the immune system and affect the inflammatory response of neonates.

METHODS:  We conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in Cuernavaca, Mexico. We randomly assigned 1,094 pregnant women (18-35 years of age) to receive 400 mg/d of algal docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or placebo from 18 to 22 weeks of gestation through delivery. Birth outcomes and respiratory symptoms information until 18 months were available for 869 mother-child pairs. Questionnaires were administered, and maternal blood samples were obtained at baseline. Maternal atopy was based on specific IgE levels. During follow-up, information on infants’ respiratory symptoms was collected through questionnaires administered at 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, and 18 months of age. Negative binomial regression models were used to evaluate the effect of supplementation on respiratory symptoms in infants.

RESULTS:  Among infants of atopic mothers, a statistically significant protective effect of DHA treatment was observed on phlegm with nasal discharge or nasal congestion (0.78; 95% CI, 0.60-1.02) and fever with phlegm and nasal discharge or nasal congestion (0.53; 95% CI, 0.29-0.99), adjusting for potential confounders.

CONCLUSIONS:  Our results support the hypothesis that DHA supplementation during pregnancy may decrease the incidence of respiratory symptoms in children with a history of maternal atopy.

TRIAL REGISTRY:  ClinicalTrials.gov; No.: NCT00646360; URL: www.clinicaltrials.gov

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