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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2014 Apr;114(4):675-82. doi: 10.1007/s00421-013-2792-7. Epub 2013 Dec 25.

The effects of short-term fish oil supplementation on pulmonary function and airway inflammation following a high-fat meal.

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  • 1Department of Kinesiology, Kansas State University, 1A Natatorium, Manhattan, KS, 66502, USA,



Many environmental and dietary influences can cause immune cells to produce biological mediators that increase airway inflammation. A high-fat meal (HFM) is one stimulus that increases airway inflammation in healthy individuals. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation systemically and may be beneficial to the airways.


To determine if omega-3 fatty acid supplementation via fish oil would mitigate the airway inflammatory response induced by a single HFM.


Seventeen non-asthmatic men (22 ± 2 years.) were supplemented with 3,000 mg × day(-1) fish oil or a placebo for 3 weeks. Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO; a marker of airway inflammation), impulse oscillometry (a measure of respiratory impedance), pulmonary function, and triglycerides were measured prior to and 2 h following a HFM.


Following a HFM, triglycerides increased in both fish oil and placebo groups compared to pre-HFM (~59 and ~49 %, respectively, p < 0.05). The percent increase in FENO was greater in the placebo group compared to the fish oil group (25.7 ± 16.7 vs. -1.99 ± 10.5 %, respectively, p < 0.05). A significant correlation was observed between blood triglycerides and FENO in the placebo group (r = 0.61; p < 0.05), but not the fish oil group (p = 0.21).


A single HFM increases airway inflammation and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation via fish oil protects against HFM associated changes in airway health.

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