ALA, Omega-3s Linked to Improved Asthma Control

April 12, 2011

Food frequency questionnaires showed that lower omega-6 to omega-3 ratios were best for improving asthma control.

Researchers at the University of Porto in Portugal believe that omega-3 alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) and omega-3s in general can encourage asthma control in asthmatic patients. Their research has been published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

The researchers assigned food frequency questionnaires to 174 asthmatics (average age of 40 years old) and used Food Processor Plus software to assess the nutritional content of subject diets.

Asthma control was defined by Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) scores, levels of exhaled nitric oxide (nitric oxide is a sign of asthma via inflammation), and forced expiratory volume from breathing.

After adjusting for a variety of lifestyle factors, the researchers concluded that ability to control asthma was improved with lower omega-6 to omega-3 ratios in the diet; high omega-6 to omega-3 ratios was a predictor of high amounts of exhaled nitric oxide in subjects.

High intake of omega-3s, saturated fatty acid, and ALA independently were associated with lower levels of exhaled nitric oxide.

“The present results introduce a protective effect of ALA in asthma control, independent of marine n-3 fatty acids, and provide a rationale to dietary intervention studies in asthma,” concluded the researchers.