Does Fish Oil Prevent Asthma?
Experts studying the lifestyles of people who included fish in their diets observed that these folks had lower rates of allergies and asthma compared to people who didn’t eat a lot of fish. This keen observation lead researchers to conduct a variety of studies to see if there’s a link between fish and asthma/ allergies.
Many of the studies have proven that there is indeed a link. Studies like this French study originally published in the Journal of Physiology now have experts thinking that a protein found in fish oil may help the immune system develop properly.
This French study followed pregnant mothers, and determined that mothers who included fish in their diet had children who were far less likely to develop asthma and allergies compared to mothers who did not eat much fish.
Study experts surmise that “polyunsaturated fatty acids – also known as n-3PUFAs – helps the baby develop a more ‘permeable’ gut,” according to The Independent.
One expert quoted by The Independent noted that, “The end result is that the baby’s immune system may develop and mature faster - leading to better immune function and less likelihood of suffering allergies.”
These studies may also be further proof of the microflora hypothesis that I wrote about in this post. The microflora hypothesis postulates that you need to maintain a good balance of microbes in your lungs in order to keep your immune system healthy. If these microbes are not balanced, allergies and asthma may be the result.
One of the main causes of an imbalance of the microflora may be abuse of antibiotics and our modern diet. Observations and studies linking fish oil to asthma and allergies may prove that certain foods are necessary in order to maintain a normal flora balance and permeability of the gut.
The Independent notes that fatty acids needed for proper immune system development can be found in fish, walnuts, and flaxseed, “foods that are all but marginal in the western diet and which are being increasingly replaced by corn oils and other types of fatty acids.”
Surely this is getting a little deep, yet it’s this kind of science that fascinates me. Asthma is a disease that has haunted people for over 5,000 years and continues to perplex scientists to this day.
Yet complex studies and data like this may be what’s necessary to finally find a way of preventing our kids from getting such irritating and annoying conditions like asthma and allergies. This kind of wisdom may also lead to better treatment for us too.
John Bottrell is a registered Respiratory Therapist. He wrote for HealthCentral as a health professional for Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).