Omega-3 supplements (when they’re real) offer a wealth of health benefits that put them in the superfood hall of fame. The fatty acids have traditionally been touted for their ability to improve your metabolism, immunity, and brain performance. Similarly, probiotics are a seemingly magical substance that can rejuvenate skin and give you a healthy gut—which is connected to lessened anxiety and obesity rates. And new report provides yet another reason stock up on these supplements, especially if you’re expecting: Research found that the children of women who took them while pregnant and breastfeeding were less likely to have certain allergies and eczema.
The review found that taking probiotics from the 36th to 38th week of pregnancy through the first three to six months of breastfeeding was associated with a 22 percent reduction in eczema in babies.
The report, published in PLOS Medicine, reviewed hundreds of studies that examined the relationship between newborns’ health and their mother’s dietary restrictions and intake of supplements, vitamins, or probiotics. After evaluating those studies for bias and inconsistencies, the review found 19 randomized controlled trials showed that taking probiotics from the 36th to 38th week of pregnancy through the first three to six months of breastfeeding was associated with a 22 percent reduction in eczema in babies, The New York Times reported.
It also found that women who took omega-3 fatty acid supplements from 20 weeks of pregnancy through three to four months of breastfeeding reduced their child’s risk of developing allergies to eggs (which The New York Times designated as is the most common food allergy) by a staggering 31 percent.
Since omega-3 is known for anti-inflammatory effects, the report noted it’s not surprising that the supplement is tied to reducing allergic disease, but there was no explanation for why probiotics may reduce the risk of eczema.
Despite these exciting findings, the report was unable to find a strong connection between mothers’ intake of other vitamins or minerals and their children’s risk of developing food allergies. Still, if a healthy mama can lead to a happy (and sometimes allergy-free) baby, why not consider using the supplements for a natural boost to mental health or a vitamin D fix?
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