Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Airway Hyperresponsiveness in Asthma

ASTHMA
LUNGS -- Diseases, Obstructive
UNSATURATED fatty acids
FATTY acids
OMEGA-3 fatty acids
ARACHIDONIC acid
CHEMICAL ecology

Abstract:Despite the progress that has been made in the treatment of asthma, the prevalence and burden of this diseasehas continued to increase. Exercise is a powerful trigger of asthma symptoms and reversible airflow obstructionand may result in the avoidance of physical activity by patients with asthma, resulting in detrimentalconsequences to their health. Approximately 90% of patients with asthma are hyperresponsive to exercise andexperience exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). While pharmacologic treatment of asthma is usuallyhighly effective, medications often have significant side-effects or exhibit tachyphylaxis. Alternative therapiesfor treatment (complementary medicine) that reduce the dose requirements of pharmacologic interventions wouldbe beneficial, and could potentially reduce the public health burden of this disease. There is accumulating evidencethat dietary modification has potential to influence the severity of asthma and reduce the prevalence andincidence of this condition. A possible contributing factor to the increased incidence of asthma in Western societiesmay be the consumption of a proinflammatory diet. In the typical Western diet, 20- to 25-fold more?-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) than?-3 PUFA are consumed, which causes the release of proinflammatory arachidonic acid metabolites (leukotrienes and prostanoids). This review analyzes the existing literatureon?-3 PUFA supplementation as a potential modifier of airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma and includesstudies concerning the efficacy of?-3 PUFA supplementation in EIB. While clinical data evaluating the effectof?-3 PUFA supplementation in asthma has been equivocal, it has recently been shown that pharmaceuticalgrade fish oil (?-3 PUFA) supplementation reduces airway hyperresponsiveness after exercise, medication use, and proinflammatory mediator generation in nonatopic elite athletes with EIB. These findings are provocative and suggest that...

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