Published in the Journal Allergy and Clinical Immunology July 2015, a research paper explores the relationship between anti-inflammatory lipids in food and risk of allergic responses.
The Karolinska Institute in Sweden is a world famous research centre, and scientists there explored the notion that increasing omega three fatty acids through dietary ingestion may confer benefit in a subset of people, chosen by age. Specifically they wanted to see if eating oily fish would reduce the risk of rhinitis in school children – for those of you with school children of your own, you know already that this has an effect on them, and you!
At the start of the study, parents and kids completed questionnaires detailing how often the children consumed 98 foods and beverages common in Sweden. For fish, they were asked specifically about oily varieties such as herring, mackerel and salmon, as well as less oily alternatives like codfish, Pollock, pike, tuna and fish fingers.
They also asked parents if kids had symptoms of rhinitis and 19% of the children did.
Among the 1,590 children who didn’t have rhinitis symptoms at age eight, 21% of them developed allergic rhinitis and 15% developed non-allergic rhinitis by age 16.
Total fish consumption didn’t appear related to the development of rhinitis between the ages of 8 and 16. Nor did fish fingers, or the less-oily options like tuna and cod.
But eating oily fish was linked to a drop in risk of allergic rhinitis by roughly half. It was also tied to lowered risk of non-allergic rhinitis but not enough to rule out the possibility that the reduction was due to chance.
Regular consumption of oily fish and dietary long-chain n-3 PUFAs in childhood might decrease the risk of rhinitis, especially non allergic rhinitis, between the ages of 8 and 16 years.
 Magnusson J, Kull I, Westman M, Håkansson N, Wolk A, Melén E, Wickman M, Bergström A. Fish and polyunsaturated fat intake and development of allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 Jul 4. pii: S0091-6749(15)00772-1. View Full Paper