Effect of omega-3 fatty acids supplementation during childhood in preventing allergic disease: a systematic review and Meta-Analysis

J Asthma. 2021 Apr;58(4):523-536. doi: 10.1080/02770903.2019.1709866. Epub 2020 Jan 10.

Abstract

Background: Early omega-3 fatty acids exposure can influence early immune development and potentially prevent allergic disease.

Objectives: To review the effects of omega-3 fatty acids during childhood on allergic disease outcomes.

Methods: We conducted searches of the PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and international trial registers (ClinicalTrials.gov and ISRCTN Registry) to September 30, 2018. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective cohort studies regarding the effect of omega-3 fatty acids during childhood on allergic disease outcomes. A total of 8 publications from 2 prospective cohort studies and 6 reports representing 5 unique RCTs were included.

Results: The results of meta-analysis showed that omega-3 fatty acids during childhood did not appear to significantly alter the risk of any atopy (≤3 years old: RR 0.70, 95% CI 0.47 to 1.04, p = 0.08; > 3 years old: RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.82 to 1.16, p = 0.77), wheeze (≤3 years old: RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.54 to 1.26, p = 0.375; > 3 years old: RR 1.03, 95% CI 0.53 to 2.00, p = 0.929) and eczema (≤3 years old: RR 0.86, 95% CI 0.68 to 1.08, p = 0.20; > 3 years old: RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.60 to 1.35, p = 0.60).

Conclusions: There is limited evidence to support omega-3 fatty acids during childhood could reduce the risk of allergic disease.

Keywords: Omega-3 fatty acids; allergic disease; asthma; eczema; meta-analysis; wheeze.