Genetics and prenatal environmental exposures are indicated in the complex etiopathogenesis and clinical expression of atopic diseases. This study examined the clinical features of infantile-onset atopic dermatitis (AD) in relation to maternal diet during pregnancy.
Maternal dietary habits were evaluated in terms of the frequency of intake of six different food categories rich in antioxidants or omega-3 fatty acids.
One hundred mother-child pairs were recruited, 47 infants (<12 months) and 53 children aged 12-36 months. Forty-six of the children had mild, 41 moderate and 13 severe AD. The other atopic manifestations (alone or associated) included: asthma in 9 cases, allergic rhinitis in 22 cases and food allergy in 33 cases. The presence of asthma in children was significantly associated with a lower level of maternal dietary intake of fruits and vegetables as well as chocolate confectionery, while associations with whole grain breakfast cereals, nuts and seeds, non-alcoholic beverages (coffee, tea, fruit juices) and fish and fish products, were not statistically significant. The age of onset and severity of infantile-onset AD were not linked to any of the food categories considered for analyses.
Healthy diet in pregnant women that is rich especially in antioxidants may provide protection against atopic comorbidities of AD. Further prospective research on the role of maternal diet in primary prevention of atopic diseases is warranted.