Asthma and food allergy

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2008 Jan;14(1):9-12. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0b013e3282f1981c.


Purpose of review: Food allergy associated clinical and social burdens have increased substantially in prevalence in the past decade. Coexisting asthma is a significant problem as food reactions tend to be more severe when they involve the lung. Food allergy also increases asthma morbidity in adults and children.

Recent findings: Especially in early infancy, food allergy can be related to the development of future asthma. For diagnosis, cut-off values are very important for both specific IgE levels and skin-prick test when interpreting food allergy. For the treatment, oral immunotherapy is showing promise for refractory patients with IgE-mediated food allergies.

Summary: Food allergies can be classified as IgE-mediated or non-IgE-mediated. Besides foods, some additives and preservatives can also trigger asthma in certain people. Asthma may develop in about 5% of individuals who suffer from food allergy and current asthma may be triggered by foods among 6-8% of children and 2% of adults. Because of the difficulty of confirming diagnosis of food allergy, novel approaches are currently being investigated and new therapy modalities are being sought. For total asthma control and for better quality of life, steps should be taken to avoid foods in cases of food allergy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens / adverse effects*
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Anaphylaxis / etiology
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Asthma / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Exercise
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Immunotherapy
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Risk Factors


  • Allergens
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Immunoglobulin E