n-3 Fatty acids and asthma.
Kumar A., Mastana SS., Lindley MR.
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 fatty acids 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 fatty acids or their mediators; consequently supplementing with n-3 fatty acids is an attractive non-pharmacological intervention which may benefit asthma.