A pilot feeding study for adults with asthma: The healthy eating better breathing trial

Emily P. Brigham, Elizabeth C. Matsui, Lawrence J. Appel, Deborah A. Bull, Jean Curtin-Brosnan, Shuyan Zhai, Karen White, Jeanne B. Charleston, Nadia N. Hansel, Gregory B. Diette, Meredith C. McCormack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale: Evidence from observational studies and to a lesser extent clinical trials suggest that a healthy diet may improve symptoms and lung function in patients with asthma. We conducted a pilot study to determine the feasibility of conducting a larger scale dietary trial and to provide preliminary evidence on the impact of a healthy diet on asthma outcomes. Methods: In a randomized, two period cross-over trial, participants with asthma received a 4-week dietary intervention followed by a usual diet (or vice versa), separated by a 4-week washout. The dietary intervention was a healthy diet rich in unsaturated fat. During the dietary intervention, participants ate three meals per week on site at the Johns Hopkins ProHealth Research Center. All remaining meals and snacks were provided for participants to consume off-site. During the control diet, participants were instructed to continue their usual dietary intake. Relevant biomarkers and asthma clinical outcomes were assessed at 0, 2, and 4 weeks after starting each arm of the study. Results: Eleven participants were randomized, and seven completed the full study protocol. Among these seven participants, average age was 42 years, six were female, and six were African American. Participant self-report of dietary intake revealed significant increases in fruit, vegetable, and omega-3 fatty acid intake with the dietary intervention compared to usual diet. Serum carotenoids (eg. lutein and beta-cryptoxanthin) increased in the intervention versus control. Total cholesterol decreased in the intervention versus control diet. There was no consistent effect on asthma outcomes. Conclusions: The findings suggest that a feeding trial in participants with asthma is feasible. Larger trials are needed to definitively assess the potential benefits of dietary interventions on pulmonary symptoms and function in patients with asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0180068
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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