Fish Consumption Linked to Decreased Risk of Asthma
The incidence of asthma has nearly doubled in the past 30 years,
and this may be due in part to changes in diet worldwide. There is increasing consumption of omega-6
poly-unsaturated fats found in vegetable oil and decreasing consumption of
omega-3 found in marine oils. According to a new study, consuming more fish may
help reduce the risk of asthma and asthma-like symptoms by up to 62%.
Participants in the study included 642 adults who worked in a
fish processing factory in a small village in South Africa. The researchers
used the European Committee Respiratory Health Survey questionnaire, skin prick
tests, spirometry and methacholine challenge tests to determine incidence of asthma
and asthma-like symptoms. Blood samples were analyzed to determine levels of
omega-3s and omega-6s.
The researchers found that the prevalence of asthma symptoms was
11%, current asthma was 8%, and non-specific bronchial hyperresponsiveness was 26%.
Participants with the highest serum levels of omega-3s from marine oils were
found to have up to a 62% decreased risk of having asthma or asthma-like
symptoms. Participants with the highest levels of omega-6s from vegetable oils
were found to have up to a 67% increased risk of having asthma or asthma-like
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Cape
Town, South Africa and James Cook University, Australia. It was published on December
25, 2018 in the journal Nutrients.