It is a known fact that high-fat meals are bad for the heart, but a recent study showed that the lungs have to suffer also. Australian researchers tested 40 asthmatic patients before and after a high-fat meal or after a low-fat meal, and found that the high-fat meal increased inflammation and reduced lung function.
“Subjects who had consumed the high-fat meal had an increase in airway neutrophils and TLR4 mRNA gene expression from sputum cells, that didn’t occur following the low fat meal,” said Dr. Lisa Wood, Ph.D., research fellow of the University of Newcastle. “The high fat meal impaired the asthmatic response to albuterol. In subjects who had consumed a high fat meal, the post-albuterol improvement in lung function at three and four hours was suppressed.”
The researchers found that markers of airway inflammation increased significantly among those who ate the high-fat meal. They also found that lung function was affected as well. And people who were given the high-fat meal who then used their asthma inhaler medication saw just a 1 percent improvement in their lung function. Those on the low-fat meal saw a 4.5 percent increase in their lung function after using their medication.
The mechanism by which a high fat meal could change the bronchodilator response requires further investigation.
“We are designing more studies to investigate this effect. We are also investigating whether drugs that modify fat metabolism could suppress the negative effects of a high fat meal in the airways,” said Dr. Wood. “If these results can be confirmed by further research, this suggests that strategies aimed at reducing dietary fat intake may be useful in managing asthma.”