Young children have a higher risk of asthma if their mothers got too little vitamin E during pregnancy, a U.K. study finds.

University of Aberdeen researcher Graham Devereux, MD, PhD, and colleagues have been following 2,000 women since early pregnancy. When their children were 2 years old, the researchers found the kids were more likely to wheeze if, during pregnancy, their mothers' diets were low in vitamin E.

Now the children are 5 years old. And Devereux and colleagues find that children of the low-vitamin-E mothers are more likely to have asthma.

"The results of the present study suggest that dietary modification or supplementation during pregnancy to reduce the likelihood of childhood asthma warrants further investigation," Devereux said in a news release.

Interestingly, the children's own diet at age 5 did not affect their asthma risk.

Foods rich in vitamin E include margarine, nuts and seeds, peanut butter, vegetable oil, wheat germ, whole grains, and fortified cereals.

Devereux and colleagues report their findings in the September 2006 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Pet Dogs May Keep Infants From Wheezing

Myths, Dos and Don’ts for a Healthy Pregnancy

By Daniel J. DeNoon, reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

SOURCES: Devereux, G. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, September 2006; vol 174: pp 499-507. News release, American Thoracic Society.