PARIS, FRANCE. Asthma involves an inflammation of the airway (pharynx, larynx and lungs). Epidemiological studies have shown that populations with a high intake of fish oils have a lower incidence of inflammatory diseases such as asthma. French researchers have completed a small trial to see if oral fish oil supplementation would benefit asthma patients.
A total of 12 allergic asthmatic patients who were routinely receiving inhaled salbutamol, steroid and sodium nedocromil therapy participated in the one- year randomized, double-blind trial. Half the patients received 1 gram of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) daily; the other half received a placebo. Participants were evaluated every month and lung function tests performed every three months. A significant improvement in lung function was observed among the patients in the fish oil group. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) increased by 23% after 9 months of supplementation. The researchers point out that the treatment was well-tolerated and urge large-scale, long-term trials to confirm their findings.
Dry, J. and Vincent, D. Effect of a fish oil diet on asthma: results of a 1-year double-blind study. Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol, Vol. 95, 1991, pp. 156-57