Intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in childhood, FADS genotype, and incident asthma

Mohammad Talaei*, Emmanouela Sdona, Philip Calder, Louise R Jones, Pauline M Emmett, Raquel Granell, Anna Bergstrom, Erik Melén, Seif O Shaheen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Longitudinal evidence on the relation between dietary intake of n-3 (omega-3) very long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in mid-childhood and asthma risk is scarce. We aimed to investigate whether a higher intake of EPA and DHA from fish in childhood is associated with a lower risk of incident asthma.
In the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, dietary intakes of EPA and DHA from fish were estimated by food frequency questionnaire at 7 years of age. We used logistic regression, controlling for confounders, to analyze associations between intake of EPA and DHA (quartiles) and incidence of doctor-diagnosed asthma at age 11 or 14 years, and explored potential effect modification by a fatty acid desaturase (FADS) polymorphism (rs1535). Replication was sought in the Swedish BAMSE birth cohort.
There was no evidence of association between intake of EPA plus DHA from fish and incident asthma overall (n=4,543). However, when stratified by FADS genotype, the odds ratio (95% confidence interval) comparing top versus bottom quartile amongst the 2,025 minor G allele carriers was 0.49 (0.31-0.79) (P-trend 0.006), but no inverse association was observed in the homozygous major A allele group (odds ratio 1.43, 95% confidence interval 0.83-2.46, P-trend 0.19) (P-interaction 0.006). This gene-nutrient interaction on incident asthma was replicated in BAMSE.
In children with a common FADS variant, higher intake of EPA and DHA from fish in childhood was strongly associated with a lower risk of incident asthma up to mid-adolescence.
Original languageEnglish
JournalERJ Open Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Jan 2021

Structured keywords



  • eicosapentaenoic acid
  • docosahexaenoic acid
  • asthma
  • childhood
  • fatty acid desaturases

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