Could feeding fish to your infant reduce his risk of developing asthma?
One concern new parents face is the reality that their children may develop serious allergies or chronic disorders such as asthma as they get older. But according to a recent study by Dutch researchers at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, there may be a way to reduce the risk of asthma during infancy.
The research, which was published on November 12 in the journal Pediatrics shows that babies who eat fish between 6 months and 12 months of age may be less likely to develop asthma. By collecting data from more than 7,000 children, researchers were able to determine that eating fish during that very specific age bracket led to a lower risk of wheezing and shortness of breath as the children grew older. For babies who had eaten fish younger than 6-months-old or not at all, the risk increased.
Doctors, however, are dubious about these implications. According to HealthDay, pediatricians disagree with the findings, saying that the high levels of mercury in fish could be potentially harmful to babies and that there is the danger of an allergic reaction.
But researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center are confident about their data and what it conveys.
"[It] provides insight into what the optimal timing of introduction can be for fish," said Jessica Kiefte-de Jong, lead author of the study. "The results may assist health care workers about the recommendations regarding the introduction of complementary feeding in infants."
Nevertheless, it's probably best to wait for more concrete data and support from physicians before you start sharing your seafood dinner with your baby. If your child does have asthma, there are things you can do to alleviate the symptoms, such as limiting dust mites and pet dander by using a whole house air purifier.