St. Louis, MO, January 24, 2011 Asthma is one of the world's most common chronic diseases, affecting as many as 300 million people. It is estimated that by 2025 there could be an additional 100 million people with the disease. This rapid increase in asthma is most likely due to changing environmental or lifestyle factors, and over the last 15 years, changing diet has emerged as a promising contributor. Two studies published in the in the February 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association explore the possible relationship between nutrition and asthma. Researchers review the rationale for investigating associations between diet and asthma, discuss the potential for dietary intervention to complement conventional asthma treatment, and summarize the recent data suggesting that diet may influence the development of asthma.
Investigators from the University of Aberdeen, UK, review three dietary factors that have been hypothesized to explain the increase in asthma a changing antioxidant intake, an increasing ratio of n-6 to n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) consumption and changing vitamin D status. Although there is insufficient clinical evidence for the use of nutritional supplements to complement conventional asthma treatments, the authors note that ongoing studies may change this picture. They also review a small number of studies of maternal diet during pregnancy that suggest that dietary modification during pregnancy might reduce the incidence of childhood asthma.
According to Graham Devereux, MD, PhD, "The generally weak observational and very limited intervention data suggest that whilst there are associations between diet and asthma, the nature of the associations (with PUFA, antioxidants, nutrients, food), the timing (antenatal, infancy, childhood, adulthood), and the therapeutic potential of the associations are far from clear." He continues, "Future studies should consider the use of dietary intervention
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Elsevier Health Sciences