Immune Function

Breast Milk Fatty Acids and Risk of Asthma and Allergen Sensitivity in Infancy

Is breastfeeding linked to the development of infant and childhood allergies? The Canadian Early Childhood Development study reported that infants who were breastfed for more than 3 months were significantly less likely to develop asthma during the preschool years. This study also observed that wheezing before the age of 2 was associated with a higher risk of preschool-age asthma. Reduced risk of asthma in U.S. children who had ever been breastfed was also noted in the NHANES survey, 1988-1994. A study in the Netherlands reported that children who had been…

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Added DHA Linked to Higher Reading Scores in Children with the Lowest Scores

The intake of long-chain omega-3 PUFAs (n-3 LC-PUFAs) in most developed countries with low consumption of fish and seafood is well below the amounts recommended for adults and women of childbearing age. For example, in the U.S., adult intakes of n-3 LC-PUFAs are approximately 100 mg/day, with women of childbearing age consuming approximately 50 mg of DHA per day. International recommended intakes for pregnant and lactating women are at least 200 mg of DHA per day. In addition to the low consumption of n-3 LC-PUFAs, very high intakes of linoleic…

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Fish Oil Consumption and Immune Function After Endurance Exercise in Untrained Men

Thoughts of exercise usually suggest fitness, better health, recovery from injury or surgery, and superior athletic performance. Admittedly, for some the idea is unappealing; but seldom does exercise suggest a “clinical condition,” unless exercise has been specifically prescribed to improve one’s ill health or recover from injury or surgery. The health benefits of regular exercise in individuals of all ages and physical abilities have been well described for improved quality of life, mental health and cognition, cardiovascular and respiratory health, type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance, weight loss, bone…

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High-Dose Omega-3s Linked to Reduced Cumulative Allergic Disease up to Age 2

The literature on the relationships between dietary fatty acids and the risk of allergy, especially in infants at high risk of developing eczema, asthma or allergic rhinitis, is fraught with inconsistencies. Omega-6 (n-6) and omega-3 (n-3) PUFAs have been associated with increased or reduced risk of allergic diseases, but the existing data do not permit firm conclusions. The effect of maternal supplementation with n-3 long-chain (LC) PUFAs in pregnancy is also unclear, although plausible reasons and evidence why these PUFAs might have anti-allergic effects, including lower sensitization to common food…

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Higher Fish Intakes Linked to Better Endothelial Function and Lower Inflammatory Markers in Healthy Adults

Blood vessels are lined with a single layer of endothelial cells that actively contribute to healthy heart function, blood flow and immune responses. They release substances that affect blood clotting, fight inflammation and maintain healthy blood pressure. When their function is disturbed, as in atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes and inflammation, these cells become highly active by producing an array of substances to handle the challenges. Endothelial function is sensitive to an individual’s dietary pattern, fish intake and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3s). Studies have reported that individuals with severe heart failure,…

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Infants with Higher Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Have Fewer Illnesses

It is well known that infants born before term have a greater likelihood of developing illnesses and developing more slowly; the earlier the birth, the greater the health risks. There is growing evidence that preterm infants provided with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) from breast milk or special infant formula have improved neurodevelopmental outcomes, such as visual acuity, growth or developmental scores. Breast-feeding is recommended, and if that is not possible, LC-PUFA-supplemented formula should be provided. In both term and preterm infants, healthy development is promoted if these fatty acids…

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