Omega-3 fatty acids, renowned for their role in supporting heart health, brain function, and inflammation reduction, have long been a staple in health-conscious diets. These essential nutrients have garnered widespread acclaim for their broad spectrum of health benefits. Intriguingly, recent research has begun to shed light on another potential advantage of Omega-3s, extending beyond their well-known cardiovascular and cognitive benefits. Emerging studies suggest that these fatty acids might also play a pivotal role in promoting lung health, offering new insights into their diverse impact on our well-being. This post will focus on the recent research revolving around Omega-3 and lung health, as well as highlight ingredients that are already associated with lung health.
What Does The Research Say About Omega 3 And Lung Health?
A 2023 study by Patchen et al. published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine investigated the association between Omega-3 fatty acids and lung function (1). This study was inspired by Omega-3’s anti-inflammatory effects and the role of inflammation in respiratory complications. The findings from over 15,000 participants indicate that higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are linked to slower lung function decline. This was true for people of different backgrounds and smoking histories. The study suggests that increasing Omega-3s, particularly DHA, might be good for your lungs.
How Can You Include More Omega-3 In Your Diet?
Fatty fish are the most popular source of Omega-3s. The American Heart Association recommends that you eat 2 servings of fish per week (2). However, there are some vegetarian sources of Omega-3. Seeds and nuts are great options for vegans looking to consume Omega-3. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, spinach, and soybeans are some examples of foods that provide this necessary fatty acid (3). For those whose diets fall short, Omega-3 supplements are an option. These supplements are designed to provide the optimal balance of Omega-3 fatty acids in order to help improve overall well-being.
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What Other Ingredients Help With Respiratory Health?
As mentioned above, the connection between Omega-3 and lung health came about because of Omega-3’s anti-inflammatory effects. There are many anti-inflammatory ingredients that have already been used in respiratory health supplements for years. For example, Quercetin is one of the best ingredients for lung health supplements. Quercetin is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that has been found to help with both allergy and asthma relief (4,5). Nettle Leaf is another anti-inflammatory ingredient that you might find in respiratory supplements. It has been found to contribute to the inhibition of the inflammation that occurs with allergic rhinitis (6). However, inflammation is not the only factor that causes lung issues.
Certain nutrients have been found to be linked to respiratory health. For example, deficiencies of Vitamin A may intensify COPD and increase the risk of respiratory infections (7,8). Similarly, Vitamin D deficiency is often found in children with allergic rhinitis, asthma, and wheezing (9). Additionally, Vitamin C supplementation has been found to improve lung function in patients with COPD and to benefit individuals with allergic rhinitis and asthma due to its antihistamine qualities (10).
Antioxidants too can help with protecting lung health. These compounds can help with protecting the cells against free radicals and can help with immune function to help prevent respiratory infections (11,12).
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The new link found between Omega-3 and lung health provides new insights into how nutrition can benefit overall health and well-being. Omega-3 has long been considered an important part of a healthy diet and if your have respiratory complications then it can be especially important to make sure you include Omega-3 in your diet. However, Omega-3 alone might not be strong enough to be the sole defender of respiratory health. Ingredients like Quercetin, Nettle Leaf, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and antioxidants can help contribute to respiratory health.
Want to learn more about respiratory health? Check out our post titled “Can A Respiratory Supplement Really Help With Breathing Problems?” to learn more!