Fish Oil Supplements May Help Exercise-Induced Asthma

Patients including the oil in their diets less affected by exercise-induced bronchoconstriction

FRIDAY, Jan. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Fish oil supplements may mitigate the effects of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) in asthma patients, according to a study published in the January issue of Chest.

Timothy D. Mickleborough, Ph.D., of Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., and colleagues conducted a randomized, double-blind crossover study of fish oil supplement in 16 asthmatics with documented EIB. Half of the subjects were given daily capsules containing 3.2 g eicosapentaenoic acid and 2.0 g of docohexaenoic acid, and the other half were given placebo capsules.

Patients on the normal diet at the beginning of the study and the placebo diet exhibited EIB, while those on the fish oil diet exhibited improvements in pulmonary function to below the diagnostic EIB threshold. There were also significant reductions in induced sputum differential cell count and proinflammatory eicosanoid metabolite concentrations and leukotriene B4, as well as a significant increase in leukotriene B5 generation from activated polymorphonuclear leukocytes.

"The fish oil diet reduced airway inflammation and the severity of EIB," the authors conclude, but add that the small size of the study sample and the fact that the findings contradict those of earlier studies means that the results need to be replicated.

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