The One Benefit Fish Oil WON'T Give Your Baby

Even this superfood has its limitations. 

Fish Oil During Pregnancy SpeedKingz/Shutterstock

From the moment you get pregnant—and probably even before—you hear a lot about the vitamins a mom-to-be should take. One that usually tops the list? Fish oil. But while taking a fish oil supplement or eating oily fish (like salmon) could reduce your child's risk of developing asthma and make your kids smarter, there's one effect the superfood doesn't have: It won't help your child combat obesity. 

The news comes out of the Technical University of Munich, where 208 women participated in a study which involved half of the participants eating a normal diet and the other half a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (think salmon) from the twelfth week of pregnancy to the fourth month of lactation. Researchers studied the cohort once a year up until the children were five years old.

They did so because previous animal studies suggested that a maternal diet rich in "good fats," like fish oil, could combat obesity in offspring. But, as it turns out, the study found that the same effects simply don't apply in humans. "This special [omega-3-rich] diet had no effect on the weight of the babies and toddlers," Professor Hans Hauner, head of the Else-Kröner-Fresenius Center for Nutritional Medicine at the Technical University of Munich, said, according to Science Daily

"Translating the findings from animal trials onto the human organism is always a challenge," Hauner continued. "However, the prospects of this being applicable were extremely attractive: Had it been confirmed [that omega-3 fatty acids taken in pregnancy reduce the likelihood of childhood obesity], mothers would have been able to [begin] to ensure lifelong protection for their offspring against becoming overweight, or even obese, right from the very start."

The good news? If you are worried about childhood obesity, there are other courses of action to take. Among them: Try your best to maintain a healthy pregnancy weight, nix cigarettes, and watch your caffeine intake.