Asthma is an increasing global health burden, especially in the urbanized world. Public health interventions are sought to lessen its prevalence or severity. Diet and nutrition have been identified as potential factors.
With rapid changes in diet being one of the hallmarks of westernization, nutrition may play a key role in affecting the complex genetics and developmental pathophysiology of asthma. The present review investigates hypotheses about hygiene, antioxidants, lipids and other nutrients, food types and dietary patterns, breastfeeding, probiotics and intestinal microbiota, vitamin D, maternal diet and genetics
Asthma has been categorized as a disease programmed in utero i.e. the internal (e.g. genetics) and external (e.g.environmental) factors for the development of asthma are acquired by the baby in the womb itself.
Exclusive breastfeeding for four or more months can reduce the risk of asthma in early childhood
Probiotics and intestinal microbiota
Breastfeeding is known to modify the intestinal composition of bacteria, which drives immune development in the infant. Hence, breastfed infants have the most potentially beneficial intestinal microbiota. This favourable bacterial environment created by breastfeeding can help reduce asthma symptoms among young children.
Probiotics , which are live bacteria present in fermented products such as curds/yoghurt, etc have immunomodulatory effects that could prevent progression of asthmatic symptoms
Some studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency can increase the incidence of asthma in young children
Vitamin D does not occur naturally in humans and is acquired through supplements and exposure to sunlight. The rise of asthma in westernized countries may be linked to the fact that people spend much more time indoors and away from sunlight.
Furthermore, vitamin D has significant immunomodulatory functions
Maternal intake of vitamin D during pregnancy is associated with lung function, suggesting that increased vitamin D in maternal diet may reduce risk of wheeze and other symptoms of asthma
Maternal diet hypothesis
Maternal nutrition (mothers nutrition) has been recognized as a potential factor in the development of the fetal airway and immune system.
Oily fish consumption during pregnancy may be protective against childhood asthma, particularly in children who have asthmatic mothers.
– Dr. Pooja, Senior Nutritionist @eKincare.com