Research: MICKLEBOROUGH and others,

Listed in Issue 98


MICKLEBOROUGH and others, Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University, 1025 East 7th Street, HPER 112, Bloomington, IN 47401, USA,, have found that fish oil supplementation reduces the severity of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction in elite athletes.


Some elite athletes suffer from exercise-induced constriction of bronchi (EIB). The study aimed to investigate whether this might respond to dietary intervention, thereby reducing the need for pharmacological treatment.


10 elite athletes with EIB and 10 elite athletes without EIB (controls) participated in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo controlled crossover study. Subjects received either fish oil capsules containing 3.2 g of eicosapentaenoic acid and 2.2 g docosahexaenoic acid or placebo capsules containing olive oil daily for 5 weeks.


Diet had no effect on pre-exercise pulmonary function in both groups and on post-exercise pulmonary function in the control group. In the EIB group, the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids improved post-exercise pulmonary function. Numerous arachidonic acid metabolites with inflammatory properties were found to be significantly decreased in these athletes.


Dietary fish oil supplementation has a markedly protective effect on exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. This may be attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties.


Mickleborough TD, Murray RL, Ionescu AA, Lindley MR. Fish oil supplementation reduces severity of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction in elite athletes. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 168 (10): 1181-1189, Nov 2003.

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