Diet and asthma: has the role of dietary lipids been overlooked in the management of asthma?Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2003; 90(4):371-7; quiz 377-8, 421AA
This article discusses the role of diet in the management of asthma. Readers will gain an understanding of how evolution of the western diet has contributed to increased asthma prevalence and how dietary modification that includes management of dietary lipids may reduce symptoms of asthma.
Relevant studies published in English were reviewed.
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Asthma and obesity, which often occur together, have increased in prevalence in recent years. Studies suggest adaption of a western diet has not only contributed to obesity, but that increased intake of specific nutrients can cause changes in the frequency and severity of asthma. Increased asthma prevalence has also been proposed to arise from increased exposure to diesel particles or lack of exposure to infectious agents or endotoxins during childhood, generating a biased Th2 immune response, and increased cytokine and leukotriene production. Antagonists directed against these pro-inflammatory mediators include anticytokines and antileukotrienes. A reduction in the levels of inflammatory mediators associated with asthma has also been seen with dietary interventions, such as the administration of oils containing gamma-linolenic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid.
Evidence suggests elevated body mass index and dietary patterns, especially intake of dietary lipids, contribute to symptoms of asthma. Dietary modification may help patients manage their asthma as well as contribute to their overall health.