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Allergies, Asthma, COPD and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish Oil During Pregnancy Reduces Infant's Allergies: A DB PC study of 98 women who had allergies (were "atopic") giving half fish oil capsules starting the 20th week of the pregnancy found that the infants born from those mothers had evidence of greater omega-3 fatty acid concentrations in the membranes of their red blood cells, demonstrating that fish oil's omega-3s had indeed been picked up by the infants.  All infant cytokine (IL-5, IL-13, IL-10, and IFN-gamma) responses all allergens were lower in the fish oil group (only IL-10 response to cat <.05). Infants in the fish oil group were 3 times less likely to have a positive skin prick test to egg at 1 year of age (OR 0.34). Although there was no difference in the frequency of atopic dermatitis at 1 year of age, infants in the fish oil group also had much less severe disease (OR 0.09). Fish oil supplementation in pregnancy modifies neonatal allergen-specific immune responses and clinical outcomes in infants at high risk of atopy: A randomized, controlled trial. Dunstan JA, Mori TA, Barden A, Beilin LJ, Taylor AL, Holt PG, Prescott SL. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Dec;112(6):1178-84

Fish Oil Blocks Exercised-Induced Bronchoconstriction in Elite Athletes: Dietary fish oil supplementation of 5.4 g/d EPA and DHA had a markedly protective effect in suppressing EIB in elite athletes and this may be attributed to their anti-inflammatory properties. Indiana University. Fish Oil Supplementation Reduces Severity of Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction in Elite Athletes. Mickleborough TD, Murray RL, Ionescu AA, Lindley MR. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2003 Aug 6

Fish Oil Helps Asthma: Asthma increasingly common. 20-25% kids have at least one symptom. High ALA may exacerbate. U Wyoming report 26 patients 19-25yo followed for one month on normal diet then had fish oil added to increase the n-3:n-6 balance to .1:1 and then .05:1 which required 3.3g/d fish oil. 40% had improved breathing and better resistance. Shave Broughton, Am J Clin Nutr 4/97;65:1011-7

Fish Oil Protects Against Developing Asthma: The Univ. of Sydney studied 574 kids 8-11yo. Questionnaires completed of over 200 foods eaten for 1 yr period. Evaluated for asthma by airway hyperresponsiveness and tendency to wheeze with and without exercise. Those consuming fresh, oily fish (mullet, arange, roughy, atlantic salmon, rainbow trout) 1/4 the risk of developing asthma. Non-oily fish and canned fish didn't help. Reference study of fish oil supplementation reducing asthma severity. Linda Hodge, Med J Australia 2/5/96;164:137-40.

Fish Oil No Benefit Hay Fever: Small study DB PC 27 allergenic patients given 3.2g/d for 6 months found no benefit hay fever or asthma. Am Rev Resp Des 5/93;147:1138

Fish Oil No Benefit for Asthma Found in Small Study: DB PC with 39 8-12-year-olds with asthma found no difference in their asthma after 6 mo. Hodge, Sydney, Eur Respir J 2/98;11:361. Ed: Small studies will often miss beneficial effects. Overall, it looks like fish and fish oil are beneficial for allergies and asthma.

Omega-3 Helps Asthma: A DB study of 27 patients found decreased severity of attacks and decreased medications. Decline late allergic response due to replacement of AA with with n-3 in cell membranes of inflammation cell effectors. Ter Arkh 97;69:33

COPD Helped by Polyunsatured Fatty Acids: In an 8-week DB PC study of 80 patients with COPD, the peak load of the incremental exercise test increased more in the PUFA group than in the placebo group (p = 0.009). The duration of the constant work rate test also increased more in patients receiving PUFA (an increase of 4.3 min, p = 0.023). The positive effects of PUFA could not be attributed to a decrease in systemic levels of CRP, IL-6 and TNF-alpha. Polyunsaturated fatty acids improve exercise capacity in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Broekhuizen R, Wouters EF, et al. University Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands. Thorax. 2005 May;60(5):376-82.