The best treatment for a cold or flu can be fish therapy, according to a new study.
The research team from the University of Queensland’s School of Medicine and Dentistry in Brisbane said the fish therapy method was effective at treating symptoms of a cold and flu-type illness, but the research is still in its infancy.
“Our aim is to understand the efficacy of the fish-based therapy and how it can be used as a treatment option for the prevention and treatment of colds, flu and other flu-related infections,” Professor Simon Rees said.
“We’re now in the early stages of developing a trial using a combination of fish and human immune cells, and we are keen to understand how the treatment will affect the human immune system and how the immune system responds to fish.”
The research found that the fish oil was effective for treating symptoms, but it was not the only type of treatment.
The fish oil also prevented the body from releasing an inflammatory cytokine called interleukin-12 (IL-12) which can trigger inflammation in the body.
“The fish therapy weigama was also shown to reduce the release of interleucin-8 and interleu-12 and to inhibit the production of IL-8,” Professor Rees explained.
“These are important markers of inflammation and the immune response, so they are important biomarkers of the impact of a treatment on inflammation.”
The study was published in the journal Infectious Diseases.
The study also found that people who received fish oil had less chance of developing other symptoms, including asthma and heart disease.
“One of the things that we found is that people with asthma who had fish oil as part of their therapy, and people with other immune system disorders, did not show these other adverse events,” Professor Rebecca O’Connell said.
Professor Rees was a senior lecturer in the School of Public Health and Clinical Medicine at the University, where the research was funded by the Health Research Council of Queensland.
“It’s really important that we can develop effective treatment options for the many different forms of illness that can occur in the community,” he said.
“We are looking at all of these different factors to help develop a better treatment strategy.”