July 20, 2018
1 min read

Nutrition bar improves lung function in overweight, obese teens with asthma

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Joyce McCann, PhD
Joyce McCann
Ashutosh Lal, MD
Ashutosh Lal

Teens with overweight or obesity and uncontrolled asthma who consumed two nutritional supplement bars daily and attended nutrition and exercise classes experienced improved lung function and a better quality of life without losing weight, according to results of a small pilot clinical trial published in The FASEB Journal.

“A common form of asthma in those with obesity is poorly understood and difficult to treat. In some studies, this form of asthma had been shown to be associated with poor dietary habits and insulin resistance,” study researcher Joyce McCann, PhD, director of the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) bar project, told Infectious Diseases in Children.

The researchers previously found that providing nutrients and fiber in the form of the CHORI bar could close gaps in poor diets and improve the metabolism of healthy adults with overweight and obesity. They then conducted a pilot trial that included teenagers with overweight and obesity, in addition to poorly controlled asthma. In this trial, two groups were randomly assigned to weekly nutrition and exercise classes, with or without two CHORI bars each day.

Although the researchers did not observe any specific effects of the CHORI bar when they conducted an intent-to-treat analysis, teenagers who complied with the intervention and had relatively low rates of exhaled nitric oxide (less than 50ppb) had significant improvements in lung function that were associated with CHORI-bar consumption. These effects, according to the researchers, were mostly observed in adolescents who had low levels of chronic inflammation (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein less than 1.5 mg/L).

Those who received twice-daily CHORI bars had improved lung function without the need to lose weight, the researchers said. Additionally, a questionnaire assessing these teenagers’ asthma control and quality of life demonstrated improvement.

“Management of asthma is primarily centered on pharmacologic treatment,” study researcher Ashutosh Lal, MD, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist at the University of California, San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital, said in an interview. “Even with obesity-associated asthma, dietary and lifestyle modifications are not widely used as they are perceived to be difficult to sustain long term. We want to reach out to physicians and inform them of the value of targeted nutritional therapy in managing their patients’ [asthma].” – by Katherine Bortz

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.