Fish intake seems to be beneficial in childhood asthma


Childhood asthma is very most common among children. In asthma, there is inflammation that results in a temporary narrowing of the airways that carry oxygen to the lungs. This results in asthma symptoms, including wheezing (especially when breathing out), coughing (especially at night), rapid or labored breathing, reduced energy, and/or feeling weak or tired. There are several types of asthma; allergic asthma (which is triggered by inhaling allergens) is the most common form, but it may also appear with colds or only when exercising or playing a sport, for instance.

It is now known that nutrition is always an important determinant of health, but particularly during the first years of our life. Immune system development can be influenced by nutritional factors, and a large part of development of the human immune system occurs in utero and during infancy and childhood. Fish and fish oil are sources of EPA and DHA; these omega-3 fatty acids have shown to inhibit many aspects of inflammation (which is strongly related with immunity), and there is some evidence that higher intake of fish, especially fatty fish, in pregnant women is associated with lower risk of allergy in the offspring during infancy and childhood. Some studies have also reported a protective effect of fish intake or fish oil supplementation during infancy or childhood on allergy, and also a reduction in wheeze, use of bronchodilator, allergic sensitization, cough, and severity of asthmatic symptoms.

Recently, an analysis of several separate but similar studies about fish intake in association with childhood asthma has been conducted by researchers from Australia and Nepal. The findings of this study suggest that “introduction of fish early in life (6-9 months) and regular consumption of all fish (at least once a week) reduces asthma and wheeze in children up to 4.5 years old, while fatty fish intake may be beneficial in older children”.

Knowledge about asthma is constantly increasing, and it is important to bear in mind that asthma can be controlled throughout life with appropriate diagnosis, education and treatment. Your pediatrician knows what will work best for your child.


Papamichael MM, Shrestha SK, Itsiopoulos C, Erbas B. The role of fish intake on asthma in children: A meta-analysis of observational studies. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2018 Mar 9. [Epub ahead of print]

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American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Childhood asthma

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Pediatric asthma