Seafood extract helps treat asthma in youth, says Auckland group

Press Release – Asthma Auckland
The results of a childhood asthma trial conducted in New Zealand point to a popular Kiwi seafood extract improving the quality of life for young people with asthma, says Asthma Auckland.

Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases affecting young children and adults in New Zealand, particularly during winter. But a random, double-blind trial in children with moderate-severe chronic obstructive asthma indicates the NZ green-lipped mussel’s lipid fatty acids can reduce the severity of asthma symptoms.

The clinical trial conducted by Asthma Auckland for Asthma New Zealand and the results have just been published in the Journal of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology.

They show that in capsule form Lyprinol, a safe natural supplement which contains anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, widely used for the treatment of arthritis, can now be used by children in conjunction with traditional steroid-based inhalers to reduce the severity of symptoms and limit exacerbations. The patented oil extract from the shellfish Perna canaliculus used in Lyprinol, is sold in Australia, New Zealand and more than 28 countries around the world.

While further research is required, the study of 74 children aged 6-13, concluded that while the supplementation of this unique free fatty acid combination did not reduce the amount of medication the children were taking, “there were trends noted to improved quality of life (Juniper Scale Measure) and a decreased rate of moderate asthma exacerbations in those children randomised to the active compound.”

Study leader Dr J M Lello, an Auckland GP and Medical Adviser to Asthma Auckland, says it was an encouraging result. “This is the first time we have had information on the use of Lyprinol in children with moderate to severe asthma.

“Although the primary outcome of steroid sparing was not demonstrated, several secondary outcome measures (e.g. quality of life measures and reduction in exacerbations) showed trends suggesting benefits in this group of children with troublesome asthma.”

The Juniper Scale Measure was filled out by the children’s parents and was developed to measure three functional challenges (physical, emotional and social) that are most troublesome to children living with asthma.

Dr Lello says the children with food allergies could safely take the oil extract which was found to be devoid of allergens associated with shellfish protein.

While recruitment of children for the study proved a challenge across the greater Auckland area, 80 youngsters began the 4-month trial and 72 completed the study.


* Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases affecting young children and adults in New Zealand, particularly during winter

* One in seven NZ adults and one in four children experience asthma symptoms (equivalent to more than 600,000 New Zealanders

* New Zealand has the second highest prevalence of asthma in the world (after the UK)

* It is the third highest ranking specific cause of long-term disability in New Zealand and is the most common cause of hospital admissions among Kiwi children

* Hospitalisation rates for asthma have more than doubled in the past 30 years and the economic cost of asthma in NZ is more than $800 million per year

* The prevalence of asthma is similar for Maori and non-Maori children however the rate of asthma in adults is higher for Maori (22%) than non-Maori (15%)

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