Nuts Products Consumed During Pregnancy May Increase Asthma Risk for Child

If nut products are eaten regularly during pregnancy, the risk of asthma in the child increases significantly, according to a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Maternal diet during pregnancy has the potential to affect airway development and to promote T-helper-2–cell responses during fetal life. The authors investigated the influence of maternal food consumption during pregnancy on childhood asthma outcomes from 1 to 8 years of age.

A birth cohort study consisting of a baseline of 4,000 pregnant women (atopic and nonatopic) were asked about their frequency of consumption of fruit, vegetables, fish, egg, milk, milk products, nuts, and nut products during the last month. Their children were followed until 8 years of age.

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There were no associations between maternal vegetable, fish, egg, milk or milk products, and nut consumption and longitudinal childhood outcomes.

Daily consumption of nut products (peanut butter) increased the risk of childhood wheeze daily versus rare consumption, dyspnea, steroid use, and asthma symptoms.

The authors concluded that daily consumption of nut products increased the risk of asthma outcomes during the first 8 years of life.

The strange thing is that daily consumption of nuts was not significantly associated with a higher prevalence of asthma.

Best advice? "It's probably a good idea not to eat peanut products all the time during pregnancy." It is highly unusual to find someone who eats nuts or nut products every single day during their pregnancy but that was the only group of women who had an increased risk of their children developing asthma during the study.

Bottom line:

No effect on child's asthma symptoms

Products of nuts
Peanut butter
Pervasive and persistent (daily) consumption
Probable association with asthma symptoms

On the other hand, Prenatal Exposure to n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids May Protect Against Asthma. Intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) in pregnancy may have prophylactic effects against asthma in children, according to a study reported in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Where do you find PUFAs? Study participants received four 1-g gelatin capsules per day containing fish oil providing 2.7 g n-3 PUFAs.

Willers SM, et al. Maternal food consumption during pregnancy and the longitudinal development of childhood asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2008; 177: DOI: 10.1164/rccm.200710-1544OC.
Nut Products Consumed During Pregnancy Tied to Childhood Asthma Risk. MedPage Today.
Study Shows Eating Nuts Daily During Pregnancy May Up Kids' Risk of Asthma. WebMD.
Food Allergy: A Short Review. Allergy Cases.
Maternal diet during lactation and allergic sensitization in the offspring at age of 5 - Finnish study, 2011.
Image source: Wikipedia, public domain.

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