New research has suggested that the prevalence of poor quality diets, containing high volumes of processed food, fat and refined sugar, is contributing to increased asthma prevalence.
The findings, presented at this year’s meeting of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) also suggested that these ‘bad fats could also be decreasing the effectiveness of ventolin inhalers used by asthmatics.
Increasing inflammation in the body, caused by poor diet, has been linked to decreased lung function and asthma risk.
A study by the Head of the Nutrition programme at the Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases, University of Newcastle assessed the inflammatory potential of individual diets in 99 people with stable asthma and 61 healthy patients.
Results showed that those with poor diet had their lung function reduced by 10 per cent. Another indicator of inflammation observed in those with poor diet was higher levels of interleukin-6 – an inflammatory marker in the blood.
Another study conducted by the University of Sydney looked at the effects of dietary fat on the effectiveness of ventolin – the most common inhaler-based treatment for asthma.
“One potential mechanism by which FAs may interfere with bronchodilation involves inhibition of drug transport across the airway epithelium,” said study researcher Associate Professor Lisa Wood.
They found that a mixture of saturated fatty acids and polunsaturated fatty acids reduced patient responses to ventolin.
Researchers hope to continue looking into the effects of nutrition and diet for asthma. Dietary fibre and antioxidants as anti-inflammatory agents, are the next factors to be examined.