Timothy Mickleborough, professor in the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, said his findings are similar to his studies involving fish oil but required a much smaller dosage of the supplement.
His new study found a 59 percent improvement in lung function after an airway challenge, and a reduction in airway inflammation, asthma symptoms and use of emergency medication.
"Not only does it reduce symptoms, which will make you feel better, but it potentially could improve athletic performance," Mickleborough said.
In exercise-induced asthma, vigorous exercise triggers an acute narrowing of the airway afterward, making breathing difficult. Other symptoms include coughing, tightening of the chest and excessive fatigue. About 90 percent of people with asthma have this condition, which also is found in an estimated 10 percent or more of elite athletes and as much as 10 percent of the general population without asthma.
Mickleborough's study used Lyprinol/Omega XL, which contains PCSO-524, a patented extract of stabilized lipids from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel, combined with olive oil and vitamin E. PCSO-524 includes the five main lipid classes: sterol esters, sterols, polar lipids, triglycerides and free fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Previous studies involving PCSO-524 have found it to be effective in treating osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
Mickleborough's study is the first to show that it is effective in reducing the airway inflammation experienced by asthmatic study participants diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma.
The study involved 12 men and eight women ages 20 to 24 and was conducted in the Human Performance and Exercise Biochemistry Laboratory in the Department of Kinesiology at IU. All study participants had physician-diagnosed asthma and documented exercise-induced asthma.
The results will be appearing online in the journal Respiratory Medicine.