Asthma/AllergyChildrenOmega-3 Fatty AcidsVitaminsZinc

Omega-3, vitamin C, and zinc in asthmatic children

 Researchers from Tanta University, in Egypt report improved asthma control.

Is this a breakthrough study?

First, the details.

  • 60 children with moderate persistent asthma were randomly assigned to each treatment for 6 weeks.
    • Supplementation with omega-3 (1000 mg) + zinc (15 mg) + vitamin C (200 mg)
    • Each supplement alone
  • Asthma was evaluated using the childhood asthma control test (C-ACT).
  • Lung function and inflammatory markers were also recorded.

And, the results.

  • Diet supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids + vitamin C + zinc was associated with significant improvement of C-ACT, pulmonary function tests, and sputum inflammatory markers.
  • There was also significant improvement with the combined use of the 3 supplementations vs. single use of any one of them.

The bottom line?
The findings should be confirmed.

The authors hypothesized that omega-3, vitamin C, and zinc might act through their anti-inflammatory effects.

They also think that zinc may work by regulating the actions of T-cell lymphocytes, which are part of the body’s allergy response. “It also inhibits the activation of NF-kB, a transcription factor implicated in many proinflammatory genes,” they added.

Regarding the individual effects of omega-3 and vitamin C, in an earlier study, modifying the dietary intake of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids during early childhood didn’t change the risk of getting asthma later on.

A Cochrane review of the effect of vitamin C on asthma identified a positive study result. However, overall, the authors concluded, “At present, evidence… is insufficient to recommend a specific role for vitamin C in the treatment of asthma.”

The effects of zinc are unclear.

4/12/09 21:19 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.