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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Stopping Dairy Doesn't Cut Asthma Symptoms

I've been hearing anecdotes for years from those in the anti-milk community that taking children off of dairy problems relieves their asthma symptoms.

While it's impossible to say for sure for any individual whether that may be the case, a major study has found no such correlation.

The International Study on Allergy and Asthma in Childhood 2 (ISAAC-2) looked at the consumption of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, whole grain products, and fish in relation to asthma in 598 Dutch children between the ages of 8 and 13 years. Findings were published in the medical journal Thorax.

According to a story from the Reuters Health news syndicate, Whole grains and fish may protect against asthma:

Parents completed food questionnaires, which were used to estimate the kids' dietary intakes. Wheezing and asthma were also determined with questionnaires, as well as from medical tests.

No clear associations were observed between asthma or wheezing and intake of citrus fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, but there was a link with consumption of fish and whole grain products.

"The crude prevalence of current wheeze was observed to be 19.4% in children with a low intake of both foods compared with 4.2% in children with a high intake of both foods," Smit's team [Dr. H. A. Smit, of the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, in Bilthoven, the Netherlands, and colleagues] reports. "For current asthma the crude prevalences were 16.7% and 2.8%, respectively."

After adjustments, whole grains and fish were linked to a reduction of 54 percent and 66 percent, respectively, in the likelihood of having asthma, and similar reductions of 45 percent and 56 percent for wheezing.

Further studies will look at the reasons why whole grains and fish may decrease the likelihood of these symptoms.

However, dairy products appeared to have no effect on asthma symptoms.

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