12 January - 20 June 2016

Consuming polyunsaturated fatty acids may reduce risk of asthma or rhinitis at 16 years of age

According to a study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids in children’s blood at the age of 8 year are associated with a reduced risk of asthma or rhinitis at the age of 16 years.

According to a study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids in children’s blood at the age of 8 year are associated with a reduced risk of asthma or rhinitis at the age of 16 years.  Asthma and rhinitis are the most common types of noncommunicable disease in childhood.  Polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in nuts, oily fish and vegetables oils.  The two main groups are omega 3 and omega 6.

The study by Bergstrom et al.  aimed to investigate the association between omega 3 and omega 6 PUFAs at age 8 years and asthma, rhinitis and aeroallergen sensitisation at age 16 years. The team define asthma as “more than 3 episodes of wheeze in the last 12 months or at least 1 episode in combination with prescribed inhaled steroids use occasionally or regularly” and rhinitis as “symptoms of hay fever (prolonged sneezing or a runny or blocked nose without common cold in the last 12 months or after exposure to furred pets, pollens and or mites).” Aeroallergen sensitisation was defined as “positive Phadiatop result (IgE ≥ 0.35 kU/L) and at least 1 positive test results to a specific aeroallergen (IgE ≥ 0.35 k/UL).” Whilst allergic asthma and rhinitis defined as fulfilling the definition of the specific disease and the definition of aeroallergen sensitisation.” Nonallergic asthma and rhinitis were defined as “fulfilling the definition of the specific disease not the definition of aeroallergen sensitisation.” Incidence of disease between 8 and 16 years was defined as fulfilling the definition of the specific disease at age 6 years but not at age 4 years, 8 years.  Remission of disease between ages 8 and 16 years was defined as fulfilling the definition of the specific disease at age 8 years but not at age 16 years. 

The study was conducted as part of the Swedish birth cohort BAMSE and involved 940 children. At ages 4, 8 and 16 years blood samples were taken and analysed for common aeroallergens. If a positive result was found then the samples were additionally analysed for allergen-specific IgE antibodies.  At the 8 years examination blood samples were also analysed for phospholipids, focusing on omega-3 fatty acids, α-linolenic acid (ALA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and omega 6 fatty acids linoleic acid and arachidonic acid  and participants completed a food frequency questionnaire. 

Bergstrom et al found that the children who consumed oily fish had the highest amount of omega-3 in their blood.  At 8 years old 9.4%, 20.5% and 227.5% of the children were reported to be positive for asthma, rhinitis and aeroallergens.  Incidence of asthma was similar at 16 years to that of 8 years (9.2%), with rhinitis and aeroallergens sensitisation being more common at 16 years (44% and 44.6% respectively).  After various statistical analysis the authors found that higher amount of blood n-3 and n-6 fatty acids at age 8 years were associated with a reduced risk of developing asthma, rhinitis and aeroallergen sensitisation at age 16 years.  Total EPA, DPA and DHA was association with a reduced risk of asthma, rhinitis and aeroallergen sensitisation as well as incident asthma between ages 8 and 16 years.  ALA was associated with “a reduced risk of prevalent and incident aeroallergen sensitisation.” They also report that higher levels of arachidonic acid, polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid, at 8 years of age was linked to an increased chance of remission of asthma and rhinitis occurring between 8 and 16 years old.  The authors conclude by stating that “our results add to the evidence that PUFA’s can influence subsequent allergic disease in childhood.”

RSSL's Lipids Laboratory, has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling.  To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

share this article
RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

Previous editions

Load more editions

Make an Enquiry