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Study: Babies fed fish less likely to develop allergies

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 6th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A new study has found that babies regularly fed fish in their first year of life are less likely to develop common allergies as they grow up. Scientists who monitored babies' diets discovered that babies that ate plenty of fish in the first year of life were more likely to still be free of allergies 12 years later.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Another health benefit found with the introduction of fish food early in life was the likelihoods of developing eczema dropping by as much as 22 percent, and hay fever by 26 percent.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that giving fish to infants as little as two or three times a month may be enough to substantially reduce their risks.

The skin condition of eczema affects an estimated one in eight children in the U.K., causing red, itchy skin that can be very distressing. There are few very effective treatments. In the most extreme cases, children have to be bandaged with cotton dressings from head to foot.

Hay fever, meanwhile, is thought to affect up to one in five youngsters. Both hay fever and eczema are also linked with an increased risk of asthma.

Previous research has suggested early exposure to fish in the diet could have a protective effect up to the age of four. Doctors wanted to see if the benefits lasted even longer.

Experts at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, tracked 3,285 babies to study their dietary intake at the ages of one, two, four, eight and 12, also looking at how many went on to develop allergies.

The study proved that fish plays a big part in dietary patterns among Swedish infants, with 80 percent consuming it at least twice a month. Among these children, the risk of allergies dropped significantly compared to others that rarely or never ate fish.

It must be noted that the study did not examine exactly which type of fish had the most potent affect.

"Regular fish consumption in infancy may reduce the risk of allergic disease up to the age of 12," a report on their findings concluded.



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