Asthma/AllergyOmega-3 Fatty Acids

Treating salicylate intolerance with fish oil

 Clinicians from Southampton University Hospitals Trust report on 3 patients with disabling salicylate-induced intolerance.

First, the details.

  • 3 patients experienced severe urticaria (itching), asthma requiring systemic steroid therapy, and anaphylactic reactions.
  • Each patient then received 6 to 8 weeks of dietary supplementation with 10 grams daily of fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

And, the results.

  • All 3 experienced complete or virtually complete resolution of symptoms allowing discontinuation of systemic corticosteroid therapy.
  • Their symptoms returned after reducing the daily dose of fish oil.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Fish oil appears [to be] a safe and effective treatment for this difficult and often serious condition.”

I’d like to know how they arrived at the decision to treat with omega-3 and the dose used. It turns out that a review and 2 studies published this year provide some support.

A review of nutritional approaches to manage exercise-induced asthma concluded that high levels of omega-3, among other factors, can reduce this condition.

A study by researchers at Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark concluded that increasing the intake of omega-3 fatty acids to 2.7 grams daily in pregnant women during late pregnancy might reduce the risk of asthma in their offspring.

Another study by researchers at Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin in Germany concluded that giving 5.4 grams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) daily to patients with atopic eczema might have a beneficial impact on the outcome of atopic eczema,

The dosing is still a mystery.

9/20/08 15:04 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.