Improving asthma during pregnancy with dietary antioxidants: the current evidence.

Research paper by Jessica A JA Grieger, Lisa G LG Wood, Vicki L VL Clifton

Indexed on: 21 Aug '13Published on: 21 Aug '13Published in: Nutrients


The complication of asthma during pregnancy is associated with a number of poor outcomes for the mother and fetus. This may be partially driven by increased oxidative stress induced by the combination of asthma and pregnancy. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways associated with systemic inflammation and oxidative stress, which contributes to worsening asthma symptoms. Pregnancy alone also intensifies oxidative stress through the systemic generation of excess reactive oxidative species (ROS). Antioxidants combat the damaging effects of ROS; yet antioxidant defenses are reduced in asthma. Diet and nutrition have been postulated as potential factors to combat the damaging effects of asthma. In particular, dietary antioxidants may play a role in alleviating the heightened oxidative stress in asthma. Although there are some observational and interventional studies that have shown protective effects of antioxidants in asthma, assessment of antioxidants in pregnancy are limited and there are no antioxidant intervention studies in asthmatic pregnancies on asthma outcomes. The aims of this paper are to (i) review the relationships between oxidative stress and dietary antioxidants in adults with asthma and asthma during pregnancy, and (ii) provide the rationale for which dietary management strategies, specifically increased dietary antioxidants, might positively impact maternal asthma outcomes. Improving asthma control through a holistic antioxidant dietary approach might be valuable in reducing asthma exacerbations and improving asthma management during pregnancy, subsequently impacting perinatal health.