A new report claims omega-3 fatty acid supplements can protect against exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) in asthma sufferers, adding to previous studies linking fish oil to lung health.
“We have shown for the first time that a diet supplemented with fish oils reduces airway inflammation in asthmatic subjects with EIB,” wrote the researchers in the January issue of the journal CHEST (Vol. 129, No. 1, pp. 39-49).
Sixteen volunteers with asthma and documented EIB were involved in the randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study.
The volunteers? normal diet was supplemented for three weeks by either a placebo capsule (olive oil) or a fish oil capsule containing 3.2 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 2.0 g docosahexaenioc acid (DHA). This was followed by a two-week washout period, and then a further three weeks on the alternative diet.
The effect of fish oil consumption on EIB was measured by spirometry, and quantified in terms of the forced expiratory volume (FEV1), the volume of air that could be forcibly blown out in one second.
Sputum and blood assays were used to measure levels of inflammatory markers, such as leutokines and cytokines.
“The fish oil diet improved pulmonary function to below the diagnostic EIB threshold of a 10 per cent fall in post-exercise FEV1,” reported the researchers.
Although the study group and the intervention period were limited, the researchers concluded: This study has shown that fish oil supplementation may represent a potentially beneficial non-pharmacological intervention in asthmatic patients with EIB.