Omega-3 and Asthma

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A study published in the journal Chest, has shown that fish oil supplementation may represent a potentially beneficial non-pharmacological intervention in asthmatic patients with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). EIB is a temporary narrowing of the airways that can be triggered by vigorous exercise. An estimated 80% of asthmatics experience EIB. For the study, 16 asthmatic volunteers had their normal diet supplemented for three weeks by either a placebo capsule or a fish oil capsule containing 3.2 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 2.0 g docosahexaenioc acid (DHA). The researchers, from Indiana and Wales, noted that pulmonary function was improved accompanied by reduction in bronchodilator by 31% due to reduction in airway inflammation.*

In addition, scientists from Indiana University and Loughborough University (UK) report that EPA reduced signs of inflammation more than DHA when tested in cells obtained from asthmatic patients. The researchers obtained cells from the lungs of 21 asthmatic adults. The cells were then cultured in different media, including pure EPA, EPA-rich media (Epax 4510 TG), DHA, DHA-rich media (Epax 1050 TG), an omega-6 media, or a control media. The lead author Timothy Mickleborough, concluded that the greater the EPA content of a fish oil formulation the greater the inhibition of the inflammatory response.**

*Timothy D. Mickleborough, PhD, Martin R. Lindley, PhD, Alina A. Ionescu, MD, and Alyce D. Fly, PhD. “Protective Effect of Fish Oil Supplementation on Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction in Asthma.” Chest. January 2006, Volume 129, Issue 1, pages 39-49 doi: 10.1378.

**T.D. Mickleborough, S.L. Tecklenburg, G.S. Montgomery, M.R. Lindley. “Eicosapentaenoic acid is more effective than docosahexaenoic acid in inhibiting proinflammatory mediator production and transcription from LPS-induced human asthmatic alveolar macrophage cells.” Clinical Nutrition. Published online ahead of print 2 December 2008, doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2008.10.012.

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