Fish oil could help fight asthma, a study suggests
2017-02-13 14:53:02   copyfrom:    hits:

Capsules of fish oil (Photo: George Hodan)UNITED STATESSaturday, February 11, 2017,01:20 (GMT + 9)University of Ro

Capsules of fish oil. (Photo: George Hodan)


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Saturday, February 11, 2017, 01:20 (GMT + 9)


University of Rochester Medical Centre (URMC) scientists have discovered that omega 3 fatty acids contained in fish oil could be used for treating asthma patients.

The study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, indicates that using cell cultures from local asthma patients, omega-3 fatty acid products can reduce the production of immunoglobulin E (IgE), the antibodies that cause allergic reactions and asthma symptoms in people with milder cases of asthma.

However, it is less effective in patients with severe asthma, who use high doses of oral steroids, because the corticosteroids block the beneficial effects.

Lead author Richard P. Phipps and his lab had previously shown that certain fatty acids contained in fish oil regulate the function of immune cells (B cells).

People with asthma have an imbalance between molecules that dampen inflammation and those that increase inflammation. Using steroids as treatment controls the inflammation and relieves symptoms, but does not cure the underlying disease.

Phipps and his team collected blood from 17 patients at UR Medicine’s Mary Parkes Asthma Centre and isolated their B immune cells in the laboratory to explore the impact of pure omega-3-derived products on IgE and other molecules that fuel the disease.

Results showed that all responded to the omega-3 fatty acids to some degree, as evidenced by a reduction in the levels of IgE antibodies.

It appears that when corticosteroids are used steadily, in some cases the steroids reduce some of the body’s natural ability to fight asthma-related inflammation, Phipps stressed.

The URMC discovery coincides with a study published by New England Journal of Medicine in late December 2016, showing that prenatal exposure to fish oil reduced the risk of wheeze and asthma in children.

Phipps noted that the fish oil used as a dietary supplement in the NEJM study was a special high quality preparation, and that consumers should use caution when buying fish oil because not all fish oil is the same.

“You really need high-quality, standardized material that’s been processed and stored correctly before comparing results from one study to another study,” the researcher stressed.

“Our study used the pure, biologically active products in fish oil, known as 17-HDHA, and we’ve provided a clear line of evidence for why intake of high-quality fish oil is good,” he added.

Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been shown to have many health benefits as once ingested, they convert to special pro-resolving mediators that halt inflammation without also suppressing the immune system.

They can be found in foods such as flax seed oil, salmon, tuna, anchovies, and walnuts.

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