The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Omega-3, vitamin C, and zinc in asthmatic children

     Researchers from Tanta University, in Egypt report improved asthma control.

    Is this a breakthrough study?

    First, the details.

    • 60 children with moderate persistent asthma were randomly assigned to each treatment for 6 weeks.
      • Supplementation with omega-3 (1000 mg) + zinc (15 mg) + vitamin C (200 mg)
      • Each supplement alone
    • Asthma was evaluated using the childhood asthma control test (C-ACT).
    • Lung function and inflammatory markers were also recorded.

    And, the results.

    • Diet supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids + vitamin C + zinc was associated with significant improvement of C-ACT, pulmonary function tests, and sputum inflammatory markers.
    • There was also significant improvement with the combined use of the 3 supplementations vs. single use of any one of them.

    The bottom line?
    The findings should be confirmed.

    The authors hypothesized that omega-3, vitamin C, and zinc might act through their anti-inflammatory effects.

    They also think that zinc may work by regulating the actions of T-cell lymphocytes, which are part of the body’s allergy response. “It also inhibits the activation of NF-kB, a transcription factor implicated in many proinflammatory genes,” they added.

    Regarding the individual effects of omega-3 and vitamin C, in an earlier study, modifying the dietary intake of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids during early childhood didn’t change the risk of getting asthma later on.

    A Cochrane review of the effect of vitamin C on asthma identified a positive study result. However, overall, the authors concluded, “At present, evidence… is insufficient to recommend a specific role for vitamin C in the treatment of asthma.”

    The effects of zinc are unclear.

    4/12/09 21:19 JR

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