Sure, everyone knows a healthy diet provides lots of health benefits for patients with respiratory diseases, but now a new study has shown a direct link between eating fish, fruit and dairy products and improved lung function among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Conducted by researchers in the U.S. and Europe, the study specifically looked at COPD patients’ lung function within 24 hours of eating grapefruit, bananas, fish and cheese.
The study will be presented at the ATS 2014 International Conference.
“Diet is a potentially modifiable risk factor in the development and progression of many diseases, and there is evidence that diet plays a role in both the development and clinical features of COPD,” said study lead author Corinne Hanson, Ph.D. “This study aimed to evaluate that association.”
For their study, the researchers used data from the Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate Endpoints study (ECLIPSE). ECLIPSE was designed to help determine how COPD progresses and to identify biomarkers associated with the disease. Limited diet records were available for 2,167 ECLIPSE participants who provided dietary intake information at eight time points over a three-year period. Each participant reported the amount of a specific food they had consumed during the previous 24 hours.
Next, the researchers looked at specific standard lung function measurements for the same group of people, including the six-minute walk test (SMWT), St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) scores and inflammatory biomarkers. Results were adjusted for age, sex, body mass index (BMI) and smoking.
What they found was that people who reported recently consuming fish, grapefruit, bananas or cheese had showed improvement in lung function, less emphysema, improved six-minute walk scores, improved SGRQ scores, and a decrease in certain inflammatory markers associated with poor lung function including white blood cells and C-reactive protein.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make breathing difficult.
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions that make up COPD. Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs. Emphysema occurs when the air sacs (alveoli) at the end of the smallest air passages (bronchioles) in the lungs are gradually destroyed.
Damage to your lungs from COPD can’t be reversed, but treatment can help control symptoms and minimize further damage.
“This study demonstrates the nearly immediate effects a healthy diet can have on lung function in in a large and well-characterized population of COPD patients,” Hanson said. “It also demonstrates the potential need for dietary and nutritional counseling in patients who have COPD.”
Based on these results and the results of other studies indicating a link between COPD and diet, the role of diet as a possible modifiable risk factor in COPD warrants continued investigation, she added.
What Do You Want to Know About COPD?
COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a lung condition usually caused by smoking. It affects more than 24 million people in the U.S., or 6 percent of the population (COPD Foundation, 2013). It is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. (American Lung Association, 2013).
People with COPD have difficulty breathing. In the early stage of COPD, they may feel breathless during physical activity. Eventually, they have trouble breathing even at rest.
The lungs’ airways are called bronchi, or “branches.” They divide and spread throughout the lung and end in tiny sacs. In someone with normal lungs, these sacs inflate upon the inhale and deflate upon the exhale. In people with COPD, the sacs don’t work properly because they are damaged (this condition is also known as emphysema) or the bronchi become inflamed (chronic bronchitis).
Types of COPD
Most people with COPD have both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In cases of chronic bronchitis, large amounts of mucous develop in the lungs, interfering with breathing.
Some forms of asthma are also categorized as COPD.
* Please note that numbers in this release may differ slightly from those in the abstract. Many of these investigations are ongoing; the release represents the most up-to-date data available at press time.
Dietary Intake Is Associated With Lung Function In The Eclipse Cohort
Type: Scientific Abstract
Category: 09.09 - COPD: Outcomes (CP)
Authors: C. Hanson1, H. Sayles1, E. Rutten2, E.F.M. Wouters3, W. MacNee4, P.M. Calverley5, S.I. Rennard1; 1University of Nebraska Medical Center - Omaha, NE/US, 2Program Development Center, Centre of Expertise for Chronic Organ Failure - The Horn/NL, 3University of Maastricht - Maastricht/NL, 4University of Edinburgh - Edinburgh/UK, 5University Hospital Aintree - Liverpool/UK
Objective Diet is a potentially modifiable risk factor in the development and progression of many diseases, and there is evidence that diet plays a role in both the development and clinical features of COPD. The objective of this study is to evaluate the relationship between dietary intake and clinical characteristics of COPD in a large and well-characterized population of COPD patients and controls that were part of the Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate Endpoints study (ECLIPSE).
Methods: Limited diet records were available for 2,167 subjects who provided dietary intake information at eight time points over a 3-year period. Subjects reported the amount they had consumed over the last 24 hours for four food categories which included grapefruit, fish, bananas, and cheese. Intake of each food group was handled as a dichotomous variable (Yes/last 24 hours at any of the eight follow-up points versus No at all eight points). These two groups were then compared using clinical outcome measures at the last available follow-up that included lung function, emphysema, 6-minute walk, SGRQ scores, and inflammatory biomarkers. Multivariate models for each food group and each outcome measure were run to adjust for confounding factors of age, sex, BMI, and smoking (SGRQ and 6-min walk were also adjusted for FEV1).
Results: Associations between intake of food items and outcome variables are given in the following table:
Conclusion: Subjects who demonstrated recent consumption of foods associated with a healthy diet, including fish, fruit, and dairy products, had improved markers of lung function, less emphysema, improved 6-minute walk and SGRQ scores, and a decrease in certain inflammatory markers. The role of diet as a possible modifiable risk factor in COPD continues to warrant investigation.