Omega-3 fatty acids seem to be good for everything, and a new study of their effect on exercise-induced asthma is yet another example of the benefits of this healthy type of fat. A study at Indiana University found that adults with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma who took an omega-3-rich fish oil supplement daily for three weeks improved their post-exercise lung function by 64 percent, allowing a 31 percent decrease in their use of emergency inhalers.|
People with exercise-induced asthma usually experience inflammation of the airway, called bronchoconstriction, immediately following exercise. The standard American diet is rich in pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids and low in Omega-3 fatty acids, which have an anti-inflammatory effect. In this study, researchers found that while taking supplemental fish oil—3.2 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 2 grams of docohexaenoic acid (DHA) daily—samples of mucus taken from participants showed reduced amounts of pro-inflammatory cells and markers.
It's important to note that the supplement used in this study was pharmaceutical grade, which means it was standardized for quality and also filtered at a molecular level to eliminate contaminants like mercury. Store-bought supplements do not have any guarantees about quality or potency since they are not regulated by the FDA.
Besides benefiting asthma sufferers, omega-3s are beneficial to health in lots of other ways too, helping to prevent cardiovascular disease, boost brain function, and even fight depression. Eating fatty fish, such as salmon, is a good way to boost your omega-3 consumption. In addition to certain fish, these healthy fats can be found in tofu and other forms of soybeans, canola oil, walnuts, walnut oil, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil. If you suffer from exercise-induced asthma, talk to your doctor to see if a fish oil supplement would be right for you.