Wednesday January 22, 2020

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

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.

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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Here’s how Vaping Can Increase the Risk of Asthma and COPD

Vaping increases risk of asthma and COPD says a study

COPD smoking
Inhaling heated tobacco vapor through e-cigarettes increases chances of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Pixabay

Inhaling heated tobacco vapor through e-cigarettes increases chances of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), conditions long shown to be caused by smoking traditional, combustible cigarettes.

The research data, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, also suggest chances of developing COPD may be around six times greater among people who vape as well as smoke tobacco regularly, compared with those who don’t use any tobacco products.

“Although e-cigarettes may turn out to be safer than traditional combustible cigarettes, our studies add to growing evidence that they carry health risks,” said researcher Michael Blaha from Johns Hopkins University in the US.

Cases of asthma and COPD are rising worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), with most cases of COPD resulting from traditional cigarettes.

Asthma COPD
Cases of asthma and COPD are rising worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Pixabay

To shed light on the risk, the researchers used national survey data gathered by the Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System in 2016-17.

In the analysis, published in BMC Pulmonary Medicine, the investigators analysed data from 402,822 people who identified themselves as never smokers — those who smoked less than 100 combustible cigarettes in their lifetimes.

Of these, 3,103 reported using e-cigarettes or vaping, and 34,074 people reported having asthma. Almost 11 per cent of e-cigarette users reported asthma compared with eight per cent of those who had never used e-cigarettes.

The people who reported to be e-cigarette users were 39 per cent more likely to self-report asthma compared with those who said they never used e-cigarettes.

Those who said they used e-cigarettes some days were 31 per cent more likely, and daily users 73 per cent more likely to report asthma, compared with non-e-cigarette users.

For the study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the researchers analysed the same data from all the questioned participants.

Of the 700,000 plus participants, 61 per cent reported being never smokers, nine per cent current smokers, 30 per cent former smokers, more than three per cent e-cigarette users and two per cent used both e-cigarette and traditional cigarettes.

Of the e-cigarette users, about 11 per cent said they had chronic bronchitis, emphysema or COPD, compared with 5.6 per cent who said they never used e-cigarettes.

Also Read- Know About the Adverse Health Effects of E-Cigarettes

Among never smokers, e-cigarette users were 75 per cent more likely to report COPD, compared with those who had never used them.

For both studies, the researchers cautioned that they weren’t designed to show that vaping directly causes lung disease, but only whether doing so was associated with an increased likelihood of having disease. (IANS)