Fewer Supplements During Pregnancy Reduces Rates of Atopic Diseases


Those who were breastfed for less than 4 months also had lower risks of developing atopic diseases.

Supplement use during pregnancy and longer time breastfeeding could increase the risk of developing atopic diseases, according to new research.

A team, led by Lennard Merdha, Technical University of Munich, identified dietary patterns of atopic diseases based on the use of supplements during pregnancy in data presented during the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting (AAAAI) 2022.

Early life exposure most likely impacts the course of disease and development of atopic diseases. However, diet can be a modifiable factor to help prevent disease.

A German Cohort

In the cross-sectional study, the investigators examined data from the birth cohort of the Munich Atopy Prediction Study (MAPS). Each participant completed a study-specific food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and follow-up questionnaires of MAPS.

Overall, 168 mother-child pairs were included in the final analysis.

The investigators applied analysis hierarchical clustering methods and simple matching coefficients.

Four Clusters

The team identified 4 clusters of patients, characterized by folate, iron, iodine, calcium, and omega-3 use from the patient population. The clusters included 43 (C1), 71 (C2), 46 (C3), and 8 (C4) participants, respectively.

For the first cluster, nearly every woman used all supplements with lower omega-3 intake (62.8%). In the first 3 clusters, every woman took folate, but no participants in the fourth cluster took folate.

In addition, each participant in the first 2 clusters used iodine, but none did in the C3 group.

Overall, the fewest supplements were used in C3 and C4.

The investigators found 20.2% (n = 34) of children born in the entire cohort were diagnosed with atopic diseases. However, the lowest proportion of children diagnosed with atopic diseases was C3 (15.2%).

The majority of children in the first 3 clusters were predisposed.

Additionally, most infants in the first 2 clusters were exclusively breastfed for more than 4 months, while those in C3 were exclusively breastfed for less than 4 months (47.8%).

“According to our findings, in C3, where relatively few supplements were used and the proportion of infants breastfed exclusively for less than four months was relatively high, the rate of AD cases was lowest. Further studies are needed to clarify these results,” the authors wrote.

Developing Atopic Dermatitis

Earlier this year, investigators in Sweden observed the prevalence of atopic dermatitis in young adults across the country and found the disease was more prevalent in female patients than males at 24 years old.

However, adult onset of atopic dermatitis appeared to be equally prevalent among the 2 sexes in young adulthood.

A recent systematic review reported the 12-month prevalence of the disease to range from 1.3% and 22.7%, based on symptoms.

In the study-population, 543 of 3055 individuals (17.8 %, 95% CI, 16.4-19.1%) fulfilled the criteria to be classified as having had atopic dermatitis in the past year.

Investigators observed that atopic dermatitis was significantly more prevalent among females compared with males (20.5 % versus 14.8 %, P <0.0001).

Additionally, among those who participated at the clinical examination, 8.0 % (95 % CI, 6.8-9.2 %) had ongoing atopic dermatitis (females 8.5 %, males 7.3%, P = 0.33).

The study, “Exploring Dietary Patterns And The Distribution Of Atopic Dermatitis In A Birth Cohort Of A Metropolitan Area In Germany,” was published online in the Clinical Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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