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Ital J Pediatr. 2012 May 31;38:22. doi: 10.1186/1824-7288-38-22.

How changes in nutrition have influenced the development of allergic diseases in childhood.

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  • 1Pediatric Department, University of Verona, Ospedale G,B,Rossi, 37134, Verona, Italy. diego.peroni@univr.it

Abstract

The increasing prevalence of allergic diseases in childhood in the last decades could be linked to concomitant dietary changes, especially with the modified and lower consumption of fruit, vegetables and minerals. The consumption of these foods by pregnant women and children in the first years of life seems to be associated with a reduced risk of asthma and related symptoms. Foods that can prevent the development of wheezing through their antioxidant effects contain vitamin C and selenium; blood levels of these elements correlate negatively with the risk of wheezing. Intake of vitamin E during pregnancy also appears to be correlated with a reduced risk of wheezing for the unborn child. Similarly, low intake of zinc and carotenoids by pregnant women is associated with an increased risk of wheezing and asthma in childhood. Fiber also has anti-inflammatory properties and protective effects against allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis and asthma. The consumption of fat influences the development of the airways. Populations in Western countries have increased their consumption of n-6 PUFAs and, in parallel, reduced n-3 PUFAs. This has led to decreased production of PGE2, which is believed to have a protective effect against inflammation of the airways. Conflicting hypotheses also concern vitamin D; both an excess and a deficiency of vitamin D, in fact, have been associated with an increased risk of asthma. Further studies on the role of these substances are necessary before any conclusions can be drawn on a clinical level.

PMID:
22651129
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3433366
Free PMC Article
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