New research has recently been published in the European Respiratory Journal, led by Rosetrees funded researchers. They reported that increasing the daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids in childhood has the potential to reduce the risk of developing asthma in certain children carrying a common gene variant. The paper, published in January of this year (2021), was led by Professor Seif Shaheen from Queen Mary University of London, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, the University of Southampton, UK and the Karolinska Institute, Sweden.

The study used data from a large UK birth cohort (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children). This study recruited pregnant mothers in the early 1990s and have continued to follow up the health and development of the children ever since. When the researchers first analysed the association of long chain omega-3 intake from fish with asthma they did not find an association in the cohort as a whole. However, they then looked at children that carry a common variant in the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) gene which is associated with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood. In these children a higher dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a decreased chance of developing asthma. This study sheds light on the potential health benefits of children increasing their intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fish. The research was featured in The Times newspaper.