ATS 2018 Perspectives - Episode 11

Sonali Bose, MD: Diet's Role in Asthma Care

Diet, in the treatment of many conditions, can make or break the patient's response to care. Though the correlation between asthma prevalence or progression and food intake is well-documented, researchers are still trying to draw definite conclusions from the association. Such findings were heavily discussed at the 2018 American Thoracic Society (ATS) International Conference in San Diego, CA, this year, where Sonali Bose, MD, joined in the rhetoric.

Sitting down with MD Magazine, Bose talked the present knowledge of diet and ashtma, and what's hoped for in the future.

What is the significance of diet in asthma maintenance and prevention?

Sonali Bose, MD: The role of diet in asthma prevention and treatment has been a very hot topic in the last 5-10 years, and has made a lot of press this year at ATS, mainly because we've had a number of studies that have shown relationships between individual dietary patterns and their asthma control, or their propensity to develop asthma later in life.

A few of those highlights have been looking at people's intake of omega fatty acids, vitamin D, as well as more global assessments of diets, such as the Mediterranean diet. You'll be hearing a lot of press about those.

It's still not clear what the relationships are. Some of the findings that were presented relate to the individual relationship of what you're eating and its consequence on asthma control. And it may not be so simple as that. Additional data was presented that looked at the relationship of diet as a susceptibility factor to other insoles like air pollution. In other words: does diet make you more resilient to the effects of air pollution, or more susceptible?

And some of these results are very promising in a way that can really empower individuals to say, "Okay, I'm faced with bad air pollution in my environment, but what can I do about it? And can I maintain a healthy diet to help buffer against the adverse effects of that exposure?" And I'm hoping that we'll see a lot more in the future, particularly with intervention trials, to see if that can make a difference with people's health.