Overweight and Asthma
According to a study conducted by the CDC, being overweight can increase the risk of asthma by 66%. Some studies suggest that some of these cases are not true asthma, but breathing difficulties caused by other factors and not airway obstruction. According to the Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology there is growing evidence that there is an association between child obesity and asthma in children. One study found that obese children don’t respond as well to their inhaled medication used to treat asthma. Obesity also appears to affect the way adults respond to their medication, with leaner adults responding better to inhalers and obese adults doing better with an oral medication. (European Respiratory Journal, 2006,Vol. 27, No. 3)
Food Allergies and Sensitivities
Food allergies and sensitivities can increase inflammation in the body and may trigger or worsen asthma symptoms. A skin prick or RAST blood test can uncover IgE/type 1 food allergies and a food elimination diet or MRT test (mediator release testing) can uncover food sensitivities.
Produce-Rich Diet May Ease Asthma Symptoms
Vitamins and antioxidant phytochemicals found in fruits, vegetables and other plant based foods may help protect airways from damage caused by increased inflammation. Some studies have found a connection between increased fruit consumption in children and reduce asthma symptoms. A study conducted in the UK at London’s Kings College found adults who ate at least 2 apples a week were 22-32% less likely to develop asthma.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in your gut and have been shown to influence the immune system and reduce the risk of allergies and eczema, an itchy skin condition. New research has found a supplement containing pre and probiotics may help reduce the risk of asthma in children with atopic dermatitis which is a type of eczema. In the study the infants receiving the probiotic Bifidobacterium brevis and the prebiotics (carbohydrates the bacteria like to eat) were less likely to develop asthma like symptoms and even had a reduce risk of allergy to cats. Allergy 2011;66:170–7.
Vitamin D and Asthma Control
A study published in the September 2010 issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that low vitamin D levels may lead to more severe asthma. Improving vitamin D levels through supplementation and/or sunshine may positively influence the immune system to reduce the severity of asthma symptoms. Ask your physician to check your vitamin D levels with a 25 (OH) D test.