- Datum:Startar 16 juni 2023, 10:00Slutar 16 juni 2023, 13:00
Fakultetsopponent: Professor Suvi Virtanen, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
Handledare: Professor Ann-Sofie Sandberg, Chalmers
Examinator: Professor Rikard Landberg, Chalmers
Allergy constitutes a large problem in society. The disease causes suffering, anxiety, changed living habits, and increased economic expenses both for the individual and the society. To this date, there is no available preventive method. Food intake, genetics, and microorganisms are factors that can play an important role in allergy development. Diet is the factor that is most easy to modify and is, therefore, the focus of this thesis.
The work is done within the NICE study (Nutritional impact on Immunological maturation during Childhood in relation to the Environment). Families with planned child delivery at Sunderby Hospital in Norrbotten County were recruited to the study between 2015 and 2018. In total, 655 families were recruited and are followed from pregnancy until the child reaches six years of age.
This thesis investigated if the mother’s food intake during pregnancy and lactation was related to the child’s allergy development during the first year of life. The results show that children of mothers who drank more cow’s milk during the breastfeeding period less often developed any food allergy. The intake of cow’s milk could be confirmed by measuring a specific fatty acid in the breast milk, which in turn was related to the allergy diagnosis, which strengthen the results. Further, children of mothers who consumed saturated fat while breastfeeding less often any allergy (eczema, food allergy, and asthma). Higher proportions av omega-6 fatty acids in the umbilical cord blood seemed to be more common in children with eczema.
Since it is difficult to remember everything you eat and drink several weeks back, it is important to measure markers in blood and urine and not only rely on questionnaires when studying food intake. The results of this thesis show, for example, that the reported intake of fish, fruit, and berries was well-reflected in the mothers’ blood and urine.
In summary, the food intake during pregnancy did not seem to affect the child’s allergy development. Instead, the most critical time in terms of allergy prevention seemed to be after the delivery, where the intake of cow’s milk showed the most promising results.