Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Reduce the Risk of Allergies, Asthma

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Reduce the Risk of Allergies, Asthma

by Julia Samuel on  December 6, 2017 at 4:37 PM Health Watch
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Highlights
  • High levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids in blood is associated with a reduced risk of asthma or rhinitis.
  • Children who had higher blood levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids at the age of 8 years were less likely to have developed asthma or rhinitis by the age of 16 years.
  • Among children with asthma or rhinitis at the age of 8 years, higher blood levels of arachidonic acid were associated with a higher probability of being symptom-free at age 16 years.
The chances of developing allergies, asthma in children can be reduced if their blood levels of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are high.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Reduce the Risk of Allergies, Asthma

New research from Karolinska Institute in Sweden reveals that high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids in children's blood are associated with a reduced risk of asthma or rhinitis at the age of 16 years.

Omega-3 fatty acids and arachidonic acid are present in the diet but can also be synthesized from the essential fatty acids α-linolenic acid ( which is found in, for example, canola oil) and linoleic acid (LA, which is found in, for example, sunflower and corn oil). However, the conversion rates of Very Long Chain n-3 and arachidonic acid might be low in human subjects.

Among PUFAs measured in plasma lipids or adipose tissue, LA, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid are generally good biomarkers of dietary intake, whereas AA and, to some extent, ALA show weaker correlations to self-reported dietary intake.

Reducing the Risk of Asthma, Rhinitis

Allergic diseases such as asthma and rhinitis are common and often debut in childhood. The research finding proves that the disease risk is affected by both hereditary and environmental factors.

The present study is the largest to investigate the association between levels of long-chain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the blood and subsequent development of asthma and other allergic diseases. This study was conducted as part of the Swedish birth cohort BAMSE, and is based on analyses of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids in blood samples from 940 children.

  • Children who had higher blood levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids at the age of 8 years were less likely to have developed asthma or rhinitis by the age of 16 years.
  • High levels of an omega-6 fatty acid called arachidonic acid were associated with a reduced risk of asthma and rhinitis at 16.
  • Among children with asthma or rhinitis at the age of 8 years, higher blood levels of arachidonic acid were associated with a higher probability of being symptom-free at age 16 years.
"Since allergies often debut during childhood it is of particular interest to study if children's environment and lifestyle affect the development of these diseases," says study leader Anna Bergström, researcher at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute.

"These new results and those of a previous study we carried out support the current dietary guidelines to eat fish two to three times a week and to vary between oily and lean fish," says Dr Anna Bergström.

What is Polyunsaturated Fats?

Polyunsaturated fats or PUFA are lipids which has two or more carbon-carbon double bonds. Oils containing polyunsaturated fats are generally liquid at room temperature and turn solid when chilled. Fatty acid viscosity and the melting temperature, increases in inverse proportion to double bonds.

Walnuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, peanut butter and peanuts, flaxseed, poppy seed and oil of avocado, olive and safflower are good sources of PUFA.

Types Of PUFA

The types of PUFA are Omega-3 Fatty Acid or n-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acid or n-6 . Omega-3 fatty acids are of 3 types including linoleic acid (LA); Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA); Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA); Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). Major food sources of Omega-6 Fatty Acids are oils of palm, soybean, rapeseed, and sunflower.

Foods containing omega-6 fatty acids are eggs, whole grain foods, nuts, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, walnuts. Other sources include oils of corn, safflower, canola, primrose.

Goodness of PUFA

  • Long-chain omega-3 PUFA exhibits anti-inflammatory effects.
  • PUFA reduces inflammation, inhibits platelet activity, decreases oxidative stress, exert anti-arrhythmic effects, and improve triglyceride levels, both in patients with heart disease and the general population.
  • n-3 PUFAs are considered beneficial in order to boost moods and alleviate mental illness.
  • Switching to MUFA & PUFA from unhealthy saturated fats decreases the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
Reference
  1. Jessica Magnusson, Sandra Ekström, Inger Kull, Niclas Håkansson, Sara Nilsson, Magnus Wickman, Erik Melén, Ulf Risérus, Anna Bergström. 'Polyunsaturated fatty acids in plasma at 8 years and subsequent allergic disease.' Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2017.09.023.


Source: Medindia

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