Influence of mediterranean diet on asthma symptoms, lung function, and systemic inflammation: a randomized controlled trial

J Asthma. 2013 Feb;50(1):75-81. doi: 10.3109/02770903.2012.740120. Epub 2012 Nov 16.


Objective: The rapidly increasing prevalence of asthma in developed countries suggests an environmental cause. The benefits of Mediterranean diet (MD) in cardiovascular disease have been tentatively attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties. Asthma is an inflammatory disease and MD is associated with reduced asthma risk in epidemiological studies, but there are no reported interventional studies of MD in asthma.

Methods: In this 12-week open-label randomized trial, 38 adults with symptomatic asthma were allocated to high-intervention (HI), low-intervention (LI), and control groups. The first two groups were encouraged to adopt an MD and received multiple consultation sessions with a nutritionist, written advice, and vouchers for the purchase of appropriate foods. Food frequency questionnaires, asthma control questionnaires, asthma-related quality of life questionnaires (AQLQs), and spirometry were completed at the beginning and at the end of the study.

Results: The MDt score increased in the HI group (p < .001), indicating successful alteration of dietary behavior. Statistically, nonsignificant improvements were seen in spirometry and several AQLQ subdomains in the two intervention groups. No changes were seen in the asthma control or in inflammatory markers.

Conclusions: The trial intervention has successfully altered the dietary behavior among adults with asthma. Small but consistent improvements were seen in quality of life and spirometry among the intervention group. The use of the MD to treat asthma is feasible and warrants evaluation in a larger study, powered to examine clinical endpoints.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / diet therapy*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diet therapy
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Interferon-gamma / blood
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Spirometry
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood


  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interferon-gamma