Fish oil supplementation during childhood may offer a protective effect against allergies for children that reside within heavily polluted areas.

New Australian research out of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, has released the finding of a ground-breaking study that paves the way forward for parents to safeguard their children against common childhood allergies.

Living in traffic-dense areas is known to drive up allergy rates in young people. The findings from an earlier study also from the Woolcock Institute demonstrated that children who live within 50 metres of heavy traffic zones are much more likely to have allergic sensitisation to house dust mites, a common trigger in asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema.

The study compared children given fish oil supplementation within their first five years of life, to a control group and found that taking fish oil supplements early on may be protective against developing house dust mite allergy, for those living in areas with higher traffic.

The study explored whether the known anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil would help to reduce allergies and sensitisation.

Whilst these early findings are positive, large scale studies need to be conducted to replicate the outcomes.

However, the possibility of protecting kids against common pollution induced childhood allergies using a simple food supplement is encouraging.

Another Australia study run by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the largest to date to look at the effects of fish oil (more specifically omega 3) on allergies in children, has found that children whose mothers took high doses of fish oil during pregnancy had less allergy to eggs at 12 months of age, less likely to have eczema and at the age of six, had a 40 per cent reduction in house dust mite allergy and lowered likelihood of hay fever, when compared to babies born to mothers who did not take omega 3 supplementation.

With one in nine Australians living with asthmaand one in three Australian children living with eczema, using simple supplementation to counter the inflammatory effects of pollution would be a welcomed finding.

To learn more about this research, you can read a full version of the study here.