LMU 125 – Nurturing Breathing Freedom: The Role of Omega-3 Fats in Childhood Asthma
Source: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (March 2019)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (April 7, 2019)
In the symphony of childhood, the rhythmic dance of breath is a fundamental melody. Yet, for children grappling with asthma, this melody is often disrupted by the discordant notes of wheezing and breathlessness. In the quest for a harmonious breath, science unfolds a new verse—a verse that highlights the potential of omega-3 fats to safeguard children against the tempestuous onslaught of asthma attacks. A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine beckons us into this exploration, revealing the nuanced interplay between dietary fats and childhood asthma.
Omega-3 and Omega-6: Unravelling the Fatscape
As the study’s curtain rises, the spotlight falls on omega-3 and omega-6 fats—an intricate duet in the realm of dietary fats. These fats, once relegated to dietary discussions, emerge as potential allies in the battle against childhood asthma. The stage is set with 135 children, aged 5-12, with asthma as their shared narrative. Divided into thirds, each segment reflects a spectrum of asthma intensity—mild, moderate, and severe. This ensemble embarks on a journey, under the watchful gaze of science, to unravel the connection between dietary fats, asthma symptoms, and indoor particulate air pollution.
A Symphony of Findings: Omega-3’s Protective Cadence
As the notes of the study unfold, a compelling revelation takes shape. Children with a higher intake of omega-3 fats bask in the sanctuary of milder asthma and fewer symptoms, even in the face of elevated indoor particulate air pollution. The link between omega-3 fats and asthma resilience dances with grace, offering a glimmer of hope to those who navigate the labyrinth of wheezes and breathlessness.
Omega-6: The Discordant Chorus of Inflammation
In this complex narrative, the counterpart of omega-6 fats steps onto the stage—a discordant chorus entwined with inflammation. As the study’s plot unravels, omega-6 fats unveil their role in amplifying asthma severity and symptoms. The children’s diets, rich in omega-6 fats, resonate with heightened vulnerability to indoor particulate air pollution. As these fats converge with the triggers of asthma, a symphony of white blood cell response, spearheaded by neutrophils, resounds. Omega-6 fats kindle the flames of inflammation, a tempestuous force in the realm of asthma.
Dr. Bringham’s Proclamation: Dietary Notes on Lung Health
In the wake of these discoveries, the lead author of the study, Dr. Bringham, steps forward, proclaiming the mounting evidence of diet’s role in lung health. The symphony of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, once confined to biochemical corridors, emerges as a potent refrain in the orchestration of lung resilience.
Biochemical Ballet: Omega-3’s Anti-Inflammatory Choreography
The biochemical tapestry of omega-3 and omega-6 fats unveils a ballet of contrasts. Omega-3 fats, the protagonists of this dance, orchestrate an anti-inflammatory cadence at the cellular level. Their transformation within tissues gives rise to anti-inflammatory local hormones—prostaglandin series-3. In stark contrast, omega-6 fats assume a contrasting role. Their journey within tissues yields inflammatory local hormones—prostaglandin series-2. This biochemical juxtaposition mirrors the symphonic battle between inflammation and resilience.
Culinary Crescendo: A Dietary Overture to Omega-3 Richness
The culinary canvas takes center stage, as the spotlight falls on omega-3 fat-rich sources. Fatty fish, a maritime treasure trove encompassing mackerel, salmon, sardines, anchovies, and herring, captivate the senses. Omega-3 fat supplements, infused with the essence of fish and flaxseed oil, add depth to this symphony. Walnuts and soybeans, with their natural abundance, enrich the narrative. A gastronomic journey to embrace omega-3 fats unfolds—a journey that kindles the fires of anti-inflammatory potential.
Omega-6’s Tempestuous Trails: An Ominous Overture
In this culinary odyssey, omega-6 fats tread ominous trails. They flourish in common vegetable oils, notably corn and mixed vegetable oils. Yet, amidst these treacherous paths, an oasis of monounsaturated fat beckons—olive oil. As the curtain rises on salads and sautéed vegetables, olive oil steps into the limelight, offering a high monounsaturated fat content that evades the formation of inflammatory prostaglandins. The stage also bears the imprints of beef, red meat products, high-fat dairy, and egg yolks, all bearing the signature of omega-6 fats.
Resonating Wisdom: A Dietary Path for Asthma Warriors
For those engaged in the battle against asthma, the stage is set for wisdom to resonate. The insights unveiled by science echo with a resounding call—to elevate omega-3 fat intake and curtail omega-6 fat consumption. This harmonious dance with dietary fats emerges as a beneficial ally, nurturing both short-term and long-term asthma management.
Emily P Brigham, Han Woo, Meredith McCormack, Jessica Rice, Kirsten Koehler, Tristan Vulcain Tianshi Wu, Abigail Koch, Sangita Sharma, Fariba Kolahdooz, Sonali Bose; Corrine Hanson, Karina Romero; Gregory Diette, and Nadia N Hansel. Omega-3 and Omega-6 Intake Modifies Asthma Severity and Response to Indoor Air Pollution in Children. *American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine*, 2019. [Link](https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/10.1164/rccm.201808-1474OC)
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.