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Asthma? Know your Omega-3s from your Omega-6s

Posted by Janet Rhodes on

I’ve reported before about the role of Omega 3 fatty acids in reducing inflammation and reactions to indoor pollution in children with asthma.

Now a new study has found that higher Omega-6 intake was associated with increased asthma severity, more severe effects of particulate pollution on asthmatic symptoms, and increased blood levels of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell associated with inflammation.

In other words, high levels of omega-6 fatty acids in the diet may make the symptoms of childhood asthma worse.

So do you know the difference?
Omega-3s – the good guys - are found in high concentrations in fish and and other types of seafood and also in walnuts. seeds, plant oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and rapeseed oil, and fortified foods such as certain brands of eggs, yogurt, juice, and milk.

Omega-6 sources include corn oil and a number of other oils including  safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut, and vegetable. It can also be found in mayonnaise and salad dressings.

Want to know more?

The trial included 135 children aged 5 to 12 with asthma who were enrolled in the AsthmaDIET Study in America. Their diet, asthma symptoms, and use of asthma medications were assessed at the beginning of the study and then again at three and six months into the study.

Blood samples were also taken during each assessment, and devices that measured levels of air pollutants were installed in the children's homes.

The study suggested that more research is needed before any causal links with diet are conclusively proven.

You can read the study and its conclusion here:

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Intake Modifies Asthma Severity and Response to Indoor Air Pollution in Children. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 29 March 2019

Having a low level of Vitamin D has also been linked to asthma and it’s worth noting that a daily capsule of Cod Liver Oil gives plenty of omega-3's and vitamin D.

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