Thursday, June 17, 2010

Margarine Reduces the Risk of Asthma

A few days ago I got an email from reader asking about a study from 2001 that alleged margarine increases children's risk for asthma.

Related to this, a study came out a few days ago indicating children who eat more burgers than vegetables have a higher risk of asthma.

The premise of both of these studies is that trans fat is associated with asthma.

I don't have a scientific background and can't even begin to explain this study relating burgers to asthma. However, because of my background knowledge and professional knowledge of margarine I can explain why the study alleging margarine is related to asthma is completely false.

Other studies have found evidence that consuming margarine actually reduces the risk of developing asthma.

Fats are composed of fatty acids. Several of them are essential in that our bodies cannot manufacture them. Two essential types, which are found in margarine and many other foods, are called omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The recommended balanced ration of consumption of omega-6 to omega-3 is 3:1 to 5:1. Unfortunately, the typical Western diet provides the ratio between 10:1 to 30:1. The excess consumption of omega-6 can boost inflammation of body tissues by releasing prostaglandins.

The major sources of omega-6 fatty acids are cereals, whole grains, vegetable oils, baked goods, and eggs. Margarine is not a significant contributor of omega-6 in our diet, and thus is not the “smoking gun” of asthma development.

However, mothers who do not consume enough vitamin E during early pregnancy may run the risk of her fetus not fully developing lung growth and airway inflammation. Margarine products are an excellent source of vitamin E, as are sunflower seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils. So, that’s a direct correlation between margarine consumption and the reduced risk of asthma development

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