Summary

  • Higher Omega 3 Index found in patients with controlled asthma versus uncontrolled asthma.
  • Omega 3 Index of over 8% correlated with lower inhaled corticosteroid usage in comparison to a with lower Omega 3 Index (below 8%).


Asthma is an increasingly prevalent health condition in today’s world, with the highest levels of incidence occurring in Australia, where up to 11% of the population has a current diagnosis of asthma (1).

Initiated by an exposure to an allergen, an asthma attack results in smooth muscle contraction, increased inflammation and mucus production resulting in the classic symptoms of wheezing, chest tightness and the inability to breathe (2).

Alongside localised inflammation in the lungs, ongoing systemic inflammation has also been found to be increased in asthmatic patients (3). Current treatments primarily involve the use of beta agonists for relaxation of muscles of the airways and corticosteroids for immunomodulation and inflammation control.

However, with the growing incidence of asthma, as well as, the impacts of side effects from asthma medication, further investigation remains underway to understand the aetiology of asthma and discover novel methods of treatment (1).

In a recent study investigating the link between the physiological levels of Omega 3 and the incidence of asthma symptoms and severity, it was discovered that a higher Omega 3 index was correlated with better control of asthma as well as a lower usage of corticosteroid maintenance dose.

Specifically, an omega 3 index of 6% and over correlated with greater control of asthma. Similarly, an Omega 3 index of over 8% resulted in lower usage of corticosteroid maintenance dose opposed to patients with an Omega 3 Index of below 8%.

The researchers have suggested that the anti-inflammatory properties of Omega 3’s may be the underlying reason for the impact of Omega 3’s on asthma, as both localised and systemic inflammation are present in asthmatic patients.

Although further research is required, this study establishes a strong groundwork for the effectiveness of Omega 3’s as an adjunct treatment for asthma.

References 

  1. National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18 [Internet]. Abs.gov.au. 2020 [cited 16 January 2020]. Available from: https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.001~2017-18~Main%20Features~Asthma~35
  2. Asthma, Asthma – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [Internet]. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2020 [cited 17 January 2020]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-respiratory-conditions/asthma/contents/asthma
  3. Stoodley, I, Garg, M, Scott, H, Macdonald-Wicks, L, Berthon, B, Wood, L. Higher omega-3 index is associated with better asthma control and lower medication dose: a cross-sectional study. Nutrients [Internet] 2019 Dec [cited 2020 Jan 17]; 12 (1): 74. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/1/74