Posted on Mar 03, 2017, 6 a.m.
The healthy oils found in cold water fish and fish oil supplements, Omega-3 fatty acids, can be employed to fight asthma.
According to the Mayo Clinic, "Asthmais a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. The alarming news is that the number of people affected by asthma in this country continues to increase.
People with asthma have an imbalance in the chemicals that cause inflammation in the body, especially in the lungs. Simply put, healthy bodies are able combat the irritants that cause inflammation, asthma bodies are not. When an irritant enters the body, an asthma patient's body produces an antibody called IeG which triggers the inflammation and results in wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath. Steroids either in pill form or in inhalers are sometimes prescribed to help reduce inflammation.
Recently, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have been studying omega-3 fatty acids in relationship with asthma. Omega-3 fatty acids occur naturally in flax seed oil, salmon, tuna, anchovies, and walnuts and have been the focus of much research by the medical community in relationship to many health conditions.
In this particular study led by Richard P. Phipps, PhD., 17 asthma patients donated blood which was examined and compared with the blood of healthy participants. Specifically, immune cells, known as B cells, were isolated and analyzed after being exposed to pure omega-3.
The study concluded that in mild cases of asthma the omega-3 helped to reduce the symptoms. Omega 3 worked to suppress the production of the antibodies that cause asthma symptoms. In asthma patients who experienced symptoms severe enough to warrant the use of steroids, either in inhalers or pills, the omega-3 was less effective. It’s believed the steroids worked to block the effectiveness of the omega-3.
The use of steroids to control asthma is an effective treatment although there is ongoing concern about the effects of long-term use. Omega-3 may be an effective alternative for some asthma patients but patients should be forewarned to take care about the quality of the omega-3 they use.
According to Web MD, "When it comes to fat, there's one type you don’t want to cut back on: omega-3 fatty acids. Two crucial ones -- EPA and DHA -- are primarily found in certain fish. ALA-linolenic acid), another omega-3 fatty acid, is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function, but also they deliver some big health benefits." Only high-quality omega-3 should be consumed whether it’s being taken for asthma or any other health-related use.