Omega-3 supplements can prevent childhood asthma

By Adem Lewis / in , , /

[Narrator] You probably
know somebody who has asthma. You may even have it yourself. It can cause difficulty breathing, chest pain, wheezing, and coughing. In western countries, one in five kids is now diagnosed with asthma
before their fifth birthday. That’s more than double
the number it used to be. But, what if a simple supplement could prevent asthma in the first place? Researchers at COPSAC and
the University of Waterloo had a hunch that the rising
rates of childhood asthma might be linked to our decreasing intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. This specific type of omega-3 is found in cold-water fish, and is a key to regulating
our immune responses. To test their hypothesis, the researchers recruited
736 expectant mothers and divided the group in two. For the third trimester
of their pregnancy, half the women were given 2.4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily. The other half were given placebo pills. The researchers monitored
changes to the level of omega-3 in the women’s blood until just after the babies were born. Now let’s fast-forward to when those kids are five years old. The children whose mothers
took the supplements had a 31% reduced risk
of developing asthma. More surprising, the kids whose moms had the lowest levels of
omega-3 in their blood at the beginning of the study had their risk for asthma cut by 54%. That’s right. By more than 1/2. While the causes of
asthma can be complicated, these new findings will equip parents with a frontline defense
to help prevent it, moving us one step closer to making asthma a thing of the past.

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