A study in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology examined the effects of dairy intake during pregancy (Miyake Y. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2014;113:82-87.):
Higher maternal intake of total dairy products, cheese, yogurt and calcium during pregnancy was associated with a reduced risk for infantile eczema, asthma and atopic eczema in children, according to study results.
Researchers in Japan studied 1,354 mother-child pairs (mean maternal age, 31.5 years) to determine the association between maternal consumption of dairy foods, calcium and vitamin D during pregnancy and childhood allergic disorders in children aged 23 to 29 months. A diet history questionnaire was administered between April 2007 and March 2008 to determine maternal intake during pregnancy. International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood criteria defined wheeze and eczema, while a questionnaire completed by mothers determined physician-diagnosed asthma and atopic eczema.
Reduced risk for infantile eczema was significantly associated with higher maternal intake of total dairy products (adjusted OR between extreme quartiles, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.42-0.98). A reduced risk for physician-diagnosed infantile asthma correlated with a greater maternal intake of cheese (aOR=0.44; 95% CI, 0.18-0.97).
Yogurt (aOR=0.49; 95% CI, 0.2-1.16) and calcium consumption (aOR=0.34; 95% CI, 0.12-0.84) during pregnancy showed inverse associations with physician-diagnosed infantile atopic eczema. A significant association existed between maternal vitamin D consumption during pregnancy and infantile eczema (aOR=1.63; 95% CI, 1.07-2.51).
“The current prebirth cohort study in Japan suggests that higher maternal intake of total dairy products, cheese, yogurt and calcium during pregnancy may reduce the risk of infantile eczema in the last 12 months, physician-diagnosed asthma, physician-diagnosed atopic eczema, and physician-diagnosed atopic eczema, respectively,” the researchers concluded. “Higher maternal intake of vitamin D during pregnancy may increase the risk of infantile eczema in the last 12 months.
“Further well-designed prebirth cohort studies with accurate assessment of dietary habits during pregnancy and childhood allergic disorders are required to confirm these findings.”
Dr. Katherine Bloom from Allergy & Asthma Care of Fairfield County comments:"While this study needs to be confirmed, it is encouraging that something as simple as increasing the intake of dairy products may have the potential to help prevent eczema and allergic diseases in children."