Study: Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Reduce Asthma Risk in Children
By ADVANCE Perspectives
to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers
have found taking certain omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy reduces the risk
of the child developing asthma by nearly one-third.
from the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood, or COPSAC, and
the University of Waterloo, found that women who were prescribed 2.4 grams of
long-chain omega-3 fatty acids during the third trimester of pregnancy reduced
the risk of their child developing the disease by 31%.
omega-3 fatty acids — eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid,
or DHA — are found in cold-water fish and help regulate the body's immune
long suspected there was a link between the anti-inflammatory properties of
long-chain omega-3 fats, the low intakes of omega-3 in Western diets and the
rising rates of childhood asthma," Professor Hans Bisgaard of COPSAC at
Copenhagen University Hospital said in a press release. "This study proves
that they are definitively and significantly related."
of Waterloo researchers used rapid analytical techniques to measure levels of
EPA and DHA in the women's blood.
analyzed blood samples of 695 Danish women at 24 weeks' gestation and 1 week
after delivery. The team then followed the health status of each child for 5
research showed that women with low blood levels of EPA and DHA at the
beginning of the study benefitted the most from the supplements by reducing
their children's risk of developing asthma by 54%.
proportion of women with low EPA and DHA in their blood is even higher in
Canada and the United States as compared with Denmark," Professor Ken
Stark, Canada Research Chair in Nutritional Lipidomics and professor in the
Faculty of Applied Health Sciences in Waterloo and study author, said in a
press release. "So, we would expect an even greater reduction in risk
among North American populations. Identifying these women and providing them
with supplements should be considered a front-line defense to reduce and
prevent childhood asthma."