Fish oil may have potential benefits for patients with asthma who suffer from exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). Researchers from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, examined the effect of fish oil supplementation on 16 patients with asthma with documented EIB. For 3 weeks, half of the patients received daily fish oil capsules, while the other half received placebo capsules.

At the beginning of the study and at the end of each treatment phase, patients' preexercise and postexercise measures were assessed, including pulmonary function, induced sputum fluid phase measurements, and airway inflammation.

Results showed that the fish oil diet improved pulmonary function to below the diagnostic EIB threshold, with a concurrent reduction in bronchodilator use.

Patients receiving the fish oil diet also experienced reductions in induced sputum differential cell count percentage and airway inflammation. Researchers conclude that fish oil supplementation may represent a potentially beneficial nonpharmacologic intervention for asthmatic patients with EIB. The study appears in the January issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Jennifer Stawarz
American College of Chest Physicians
News Briefs from the January issue of CHEST

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