The effect of prenatal and postnatal dietary exposures on childhood development of atopic disease

Robison, R.; Kumar, R.

Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Feb 19; 10(2):139-44


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Prenatal and early life dietary factors may influence asthma and allergic disease development. We review recent studies and consensus statements regarding the effects of prenatal/early life dietary exposures on atopic disease. RECENT FINDINGS: The American Academy of Pediatrics consensus statement highlighted the inadequacy of evidence for pregnancy antigen avoidance diets or delay of infant complementary foods beyond 4-6 months. Recent studies raise the question of whether early food introduction may promote tolerance, though controlled trials are pending. A recent meta-analysis suggested that antioxidants may protect against the development of atopy. Furthermore, some of the conflicting results on the effects of vitamin E may be related to variability in the isoforms prevalent in local diet. Recent studies of vitamin D similarly suggest that it may be protective, though this remains controversial. Finally, prenatal methyl donor exposure promoted the development of allergy in an animal model. SUMMARY: There are conflicting data on the effects of most prenatal and early childhood dietary exposures on childhood atopic disease. Longitudinal prenatal/birth cohort studies with prospective measurements and clinical supplementation trials of promising dietary factors will be needed to make reliable recommendations in this vulnerable population of pregnant women and their infants.

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