Taking fish oil tablets while pregnant could prevent babies from developing eczema, scientists from the Adelaide University, Australia, have claimed.

During tests, researchers discovered that children whose mothers took omega 3 supplements while pregnant were a third less likely to develop the skin condition. The children were also 50 per cent less likely to develop an intolerance to eggs before their first birthday.

The study, reported in the British Medical Journal, looked at the experiences of 706 women who had a family history of allergies. Half were given a fish oil supplement, Efalex Mother & Baby, and half were given vegetable oil, from 21 weeks into the pregnancy until the birth.

However, the researchers have said more studies are now required, as the results only apply to this specific supplement, and to determine if fish oil is also protective against asthma and hay fever.

Maria Makrides, who led the study, said, "The fatty acids of the oil may get incorporated into cell membranes inside the fetus, where they dampen down the inflammation that leads to allergies and eczema."

Posted by Robert Mair on 2/2/2012