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Effect of eicosapentaenoic acid in asthma


Warren M. Gold, MD, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Box 0130, M-1327, University of California, San Francisco. CA 94143, U.S.A.


The role of arachidonic acid metabolites in the pathogenesis of airway inflammation and clinical asthma is currently unknown. The addition of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) to the diet of humans has been shown to generate metabolites that are less potent than their arachidonic acid counterparts. The substitution of EPA for arachidonic acid metabolites in patients might cause a decrease in airway inflammation and an improvement in clinical asthma. We studied the effect of addition of EPA to the diet of twelve asthmatic patients. Standard clinical evaluations and pulmonary function tests were done on weeks 0, 3, 6, 10, 12 and 14. Patients ingested either low-dose EPA (0.1 g/day) or high-dose EPA (4.0 g/day) from weeks 6–14 (total of 8 weeks). There was no difference in clinical status or pulmonary function between groups at the start of the study. There was no change in clinical status or pulmonary function between or within groups at the end of 8 weeks of EPA ingestion.

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