Asthma is one of the most common and prevalent problems worldwide affecting over 300 million individuals.
There is some evidence from observational and intervention studies to suggest a beneficial effect of n-3 PUFA in inflammatory diseases, specifically asthma. Marine-based n-3 PUFA have therefore been proposed as a possible complementary/alternative therapy for asthma.
The proposed anti-inflammatory effects of n-3 fattyacids may be linked to a change in cell membrane composition. This altered membrane composition following n-3 fatty acid supplementation (primarily EPA and DHA) can modify lipid mediator generation via the production of eicosanoids with a reduced inflammatory potential/impact.
A recently identified group of lipid mediators derived from EPA including E-series resolvins are proposed to be important in the resolution of inflammation. Reduced inflammation attenuates the severity of asthma including symptoms (dyspnoea) and exerts a bronchodilatory effect.
There have been no major health side effects reported with the dietary supplementation of n-3 fattyacids or their mediators; consequently supplementing with n-3 fattyacids is an attractive non-pharmacological intervention which may benefit asthma.
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