Journal article

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Omega-3 and Omega-6 Intake Modifies Asthma Severity and Response to Indoor Air Pollution in Children

Author(s): Brigham EP, Woo H et al

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2019; 199: 1478-1486

Paediatric respiratory diseases
General respiratory patient care

Digest Author(s): Stylianos Loukides, e-Learning Director / 20 June, 2019

The study aimed to determine the relationship between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid intake and pediatric asthma morbidity Furthermore, to define whether an association between fatty acid intake and strength of indoor, PM-related asthma symptoms, SABA use, and systemic inflammation exists. The authors recruited 135 children with asthma enrolled in the AsthmaDIET Study. They measured data at three time points: At baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. Data included a week-long average home indoor concentration of PM ≤2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter and PM ≤10 μm in aerodynamic diameter, dietary intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, daily symptoms, and peripheral blood leukocytes. Asthma severity and lung function were assessed at baseline. Multivariable regression models, adjusted for known confounders, were used to determine associations between each fatty acid and outcomes of interest.

Higher omega-6 intake associated with increased odds of increased asthma severity and lower lung function as assessed by FEV1/FVC ratio. Higher omega-3 intake associated with reduced effect of indoor PM ≤2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter on symptoms whereas higher omega-6 intake associated with amplified effect of indoor PM ≤2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter on symptoms and circulating neutrophil percentage

So faty acid intake- in the direction of omega-3- in children with asthma may modify either the systemic inflammatory process possibly through a diminished harmful effect of indoor particulate matter (PM) exposure on respiratory symptoms. If further confirmed alterations in omega-3 and omega-6 intake may provide opportunity for intervention to improve asthma health and reduce the harmful effects of indoor PM exposure.


Families and health care professionals may protect children from the harmful effects of air pollution by increasing the diet intake of omega-3 fatty acids and by simultaneously reducing foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids, Diet intervention may have a supplementary role in the assessment of pediatric asthma.