Eating oily fish regularly in childhood may decrease rhinitis risk


Published Online: July 4, 2015

Rhinitis is one of the most common chronic diseases in childhood. Fish, especially oily fish, has been suggested to decrease the risk of rhinitis. This is mainly because of its content of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and vitamin D, which both have immune affecting properties.  

In a recently published research article in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), Magnusson and colleagues studied potential associations between consumption of fish, dietary omega-3 and -6 fatty acids and vitamin D, and development of allergic and nonallergic rhinitis in childhood. They used data from the Swedish birth cohort BAMSE and included 1,970 participants followed up to 16 years of age. Follow-ups were performed regularly throughout childhood, and provided information on symptoms of allergic disease as well as demographic and environmental factors possibly affecting the associations under study. Data on food intake was collected through a food frequency questionnaire when the children were 8 years of age. The researchers analyzed associations between intakes of total fish, different types of fish, total dietary PUFA, different types of PUFAs and vitamin D, and incidence of AR and NAR between ages 8 and 16 years. Children with rhinitis symptoms at age 8 years were excluded from the analyses.

Among the 1,590 children without rhinitis symptoms at age 8 years, 21% developed allergic rhinitis between ages 8 and 16 years, and 15% developed nonallergic rhinitis. The authors found that a regular intake of oily fish and a higher long-chain omega-3 PUFA intake were significantly associated with a lower risk of developing nonallergic rhinitis. The results for rhinitis, irrespective of allergy status, were in line with the findings for nonallergic rhinitis.  

The findings from this article suggest that a regular intake of oily fish and dietary long-chain omega-3 PUFA in childhood may decrease the risk of developing rhinitis.


The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is an official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

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