Omega-3 Prevents Childhood Asthma
- December, 31, 2016 - 10:51
- Science news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Taking certain omega-3 fatty acid supplements during pregnancy can reduce the risk of childhood asthma by almost one third, according to a new study.
The study, carried out by the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC) and the University of Waterloo and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that women who were prescribed 2.4 grams of long-chain omega-3 supplements during the third trimester of pregnancy reduced their children's risk of asthma by 31 per cent.
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found in cold water fish, and key to regulating human immune response.
"We've 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 said. "This study proves that they are definitively and significantly related."
Researchers analyzed blood samples of 695 Danish women at 24 weeks' gestation and one week after delivery. They then monitored the health status of each participating child for five years, which is the age asthma symptoms can be clinically established.
"Asthma and wheezing disorders have more than doubled in Western countries in recent decades," Bisgaard added. "We now have a preventative measure to help bring those numbers down."
Currently, one out of five young children suffer from asthma or a related disorder before school age.