In India, we have known for quite some time the healing properties in fish which have the potential to prevent asthma.  Don’t you recall the Hyderabad-based famous fish treatment to receive which thousands of people queue up every year?

Now, a scientist from James Cook University (JCU) in Australia confirms that eating fish can help prevent asthma in an innovative study.  As part of the research Professor Andreas Lopata from JCU’s Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) tested 642 people working in a fish processing factory in a small village in South Africa.

The research team chose this particular fishing village for testing since it had a population with high fish consumption and low socioeconomic status. Interestingly, dramatic change in diet worldwide has brought about increased consumption of n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) found in vegetable oils.  The change in diet has also resulted in a decline in the consumption of n-3 PUFA which is mainly found in marine oils.

So, the South African village was chosen since they most likely received n-3 from marine oils from fish rather than supplements.  The research team found that marine oils were significantly associated with a decreased risk of having asthma or asthma-like symptoms by up to 62%. The study also further confirmed that vegetable oil consumption increased asthma risk by up to 67%.  The study, according to Professor Andreas, confirmed the long-held suspicion that n-6 played an inflammatory role in the development of asthma while n-3 provided significant protection.

The research needs further fine-tuning.  But, it is certainly soothing because around 334 million people worldwide have asthma and about a quarter of million people die from it every year.

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