Women who take fish oil during their third trimester of pregnancy might reduce their children’s risk of developing asthma, a new clinical trial suggests.

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A team of researchers led by Hans Bisgaard, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark, randomly assigned 736 pregnant women to take either fish oil capsules or a placebo every day during the third trimester.

The placebo capsules given to the women contained olive oil.

The end result obtained showed that children in the fish-oil group were about one-third less likely to develop asthma or persistent wheezing.

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By the age of 5, nearly 17 percent were diagnosed with either condition, versus almost one-quarter of children in the placebo group.

There were no significant side effects, according to Bisgaard, who noted that the findings represents a “personal interpretation” that fish oil offers a safe way to prevent some cases of childhood asthma.

Bisgaard, however, said there were a few questions left for future studies, which are: “what is the best point in pregnancy to start fish oil, and what is the optimal dose”?

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Experts who were not involved in the study described the findings as encouraging but called for more research.

Some urged the researchers to determine whether the treatment has any negative longer-term effects.

The study was published Thursday, December 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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