Long chain omega-3 may help in childhood allergies


Allergic disease, including asthma and rhinitis, is one of the most common types of non-communicable diseases (diseases that are not caused by infectious agents) in childhood, and it is also common in adolescence. In the 1990s, when the hypothesis about polyunsaturated fatty acids and allergic disease was suggested, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids were attributed opposite roles in inflammation: omega-3 to decrease inflammation and omega-6 to promote inflammation. However, the actions of both families of fatty acids on inflammation have been shown to be more complex, with many different mechanisms involved.

The outcomes of the studies performed to date have shown conflicting results about the relationship between long chain omega-3 (primarily found in oily fish) and allergic disease in children, but in a very recent study of blood composition of fatty acids in relation to allergic disease, higher proportions of omega-3 in blood at age 8 years have been are associated with a reduced risk of asthma or rhinitis at the age of 16 years.

These results add to the evidence that polyunsaturated fatty acids can influence subsequent allergic disease in childhood.


Magnusson J, Ekström S, Kull I, et al. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in plasma at 8 years and subsequent allergic disease. J Allergy Clin Immunol. December 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2017.09.023http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(17)31589-0/fulltext