Thursday September 19, 2019

Fish Oil Supplements May Not Improve Asthma Symptoms, Says Study

New therapeutic interventions to reduce airway inflammation and facilitate improved asthma control are greatly needed, the team suggested

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Man about to use asthma inhaler

Fish oil supplements, once touted as the natural substance that could alleviate many of your chronic ailments, may not prove to be helpful to obese/overweight adolescents and young adults with uncontrolled asthma, new research suggests.

The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, showed that four grams of fish oil a day for six months did not improve asthma control, as measured by a standard asthma control questionnaire, breathing tests, urgent care visits and severe asthma exacerbations.

“We don’t know why asthma control in obese patients is more difficult, but there is growing evidence that obesity causes systemic inflammation,” said lead author Jason E. Lang, Associate Professor at the Duke University in the US.

“Because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have anti-inflammatory properties, we wanted to test whether fish oil would have therapeutic benefits for these patients,” Lang added.

The team included nearly 100 overweight or obese participants aged 12 to 25 and found that the participants had poor asthma control despite using a daily inhaled corticosteroid to control their asthma.

For every three participants assigned to take fish oil for 25 weeks, one was assigned to take the soy oil placebo.

Supplements
Fish oil may not improve asthma symptoms: Study. Pixabay

In addition, the team also looked at whether a variant in the gene ALOX5 affected the findings. It is known that mutations in the gene can reduce responses to anti-leukotriene drugs.

Leukotrienes are inflammatory molecules that play a critical role in triggering asthma attacks. In this study, the ALOX5 variant did appear to be linked to leukotriene production but not to the effectiveness of fish oil in providing asthma control.

The researchers noted that the study’s negative findings may not be the last word on fish oil and asthma and acknowledged that larger doses of fish oil over a longer period of time may produce a different result.

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However, based on the current study, “there is insufficient evidence for clinicians to suggest to patients with uncontrolled asthma that they should take daily fish oil supplements to help their asthma”, said Lang.

New therapeutic interventions to reduce airway inflammation and facilitate improved asthma control are greatly needed, the team suggested. (IANS)

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Fish Oil Pills have Little or No Effect on Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

According to the team from University of East Anglia (UEA), omega 3 supplements offer no benefit

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Fish Oil, Pills, Diabetes
Increased consumption of omega 3 fats is widely promoted because of a common belief that it will protect against, or even reverse, conditions such as diabetes. Pixabay

If you are popping fish oil supplements to protect yourself against diabetes, you may be mistaken. According to the researchers, Omega-3 fats have little or no effect on risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Increased consumption of omega 3 fats is widely promoted because of a common belief that it will protect against, or even reverse, conditions such as diabetes.

According to the team from University of East Anglia (UEA), omega 3 supplements offer no benefit.

“Our previous research has shown that long-chain omega 3 supplements, including fish oils, do not protect against conditions such as heart disease, stroke or death. This review shows that they do not prevent or treat diabetes either,” said Dr Lee Hooper, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School.

Fish Oil, Pills, Diabetes
If you are popping fish oil supplements to protect yourself against diabetes, you may be mistaken. Pixabay

“Omega-3 supplements should not be encouraged for diabetes prevention or treatment,” he added.

If people do choose to take supplementary fish oil capsules to treat or prevent diabetes, or to reduce levels of triglycerides in their blood, then they should use doses of less than 4.4 grams per day to avoid possible negative outcomes.

“The most trustworthy studies consistently showed little or no effect of long-chain omega 3 fats on diabetes,” said the paper.

Omega 3 is a type of fat. Small amounts are essential for good health and can be found in the food that we eat. Omega 3 fats are also readily available as over-the-counter supplements and they are widely bought and used.

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The research team assessed the effects of long-chain omega-3 fats, ALA, omega-6 and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) – taken as supplementary capsules, or via enriched or naturally rich foods.

Participants included men and women, some healthy and others with existing diabetes, from North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Asia, in studies published from the 1960s until 2018.

Participants were randomly assigned to increase their polyunsaturated fats or to maintain their usual intake for at least six months.

There was clearly no effect of increasing long-chain omega-3 fats on diabetes, but there was insufficient information from trials of ALA, omega-6 or total polyunsaturated fats to assess either protective or harmful effects.

Fish Oil, Pills, Diabetes
According to the researchers, Omega-3 fats have little or no effect on risk of Type 2 diabetes. Pixabay

The results show that increasing long-chain omega-3 had little or no effect on diabetes diagnosis or glucose metabolism, but high doses, at levels found in some supplements, could worsen glucose metabolism.

“Oily fish can be a very nutritious food as part of a balanced diet, but we did not find enough trials that encouraged participants to eat more oily fish to know whether it is useful in preventing diabetes or improving glucose metabolism,” said Dr Julii Brainard from Norwich Medical School.

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“Future trials need to measure and assess baseline omega-3 intakes, and assess effects of eating more oily fish — not just supplements,” she added. (IANS)