Mother’s diet linked with child’s allergies

September 9th, 2011 - 5:19 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 9 (IANS) A woman’s diet during pregnancy could be linked with allergies her child develops later on.

Research found that if a mother’s diet contains a certain group of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), found in fish, walnut oil or flaxseed - the baby’s gut develops differently.

PUFAs are believed to prepare gut immune cells to respond to pathogens and foreign substances, protecting the baby against allergies, The Journal of Physiology reports.

Until now, several clinical trials have shown that fish and walnut oil supplementation in pregnant women reduces the risk of allergy in their children but the mechanism was unknown till it has been identified in the new research.

“There is intense research interest in maternal diet during pregnancy,” said GaĆ«lle Boudry of the French Research Institute INRA in Rennes, France, who led the study.

“Our study identifies that a certain group of polyunsaturated fatty acids - known as n-3 PUFAs - causes a change in how a baby’s gut develops, which in turn might change how the gut immune system develops,” said Boudry, according to an INRA statement.

“These changes are likely to reduce the risk of developing allergies in later life,” added Boudry.

“The end result is that the baby’s immune system may develop and mature faster - leading to better immune function and less likelihood of suffering allergies,” Boudry concluded.

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