Posted by: Indonesian Children | April 14, 2010

Food allergy and asthma

Paediatr Respir Rev. 2003 Sep;4(3):205-12.

Food allergy and asthma–what is the link?

Roberts G, Lack G.

Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, E1 1BB, London, UK.


Food allergy and asthma are both atopic diseases and therefore frequently co-exist. Food allergy is common in childhood, affecting approximately 8% of infants. The diagnosis is based on a suggestive history supported by skin-prick testing, serum specific IgE or food challenge. The role of diet in the aetiology of asthma and as a precipitant of exacerbations has been investigated extensively. Many people perceive diet as being an important precipitant of their asthma but objective testing suggests that it is only important in a minority. Meanwhile, there is considerable epidemiological evidence to suggest that there is a link between asthma and food allergy. Food can induce bronchospasm and food allergy has been implicated as a risk factor for life-threatening asthma. Additionally, asthma also seems to be a risk factor for life-threatening food allergy. The mechanism underlying this connection is unclear. The co-existence of food allergy should be considered in any child with asthma. Where food allergy is confirmed, steps should be taken to avoid these foods as this may considerably improve asthma control.


Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001 Apr;1(2):145-9.

Role of food allergy in asthma in childhood.

Baena-Cagnani CE, Teijeiro A.

Division of Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Department of Pediatric, Infantile Hospital Cordoba, Argentina.


Atopy is the major predisposing factor for asthma identified up to now, and allergen exposure, particularly indoor allergens, is considered as a causal factor for asthma. Food allergy is frequently underestimated in association with asthma, however food allergy has been shown to trigger or exacerbate broncho-obstruction in 2 to 8.5% of children with asthma. There is also evidence that double-blind placebo-controlled oral challenge is able to increase unspecific bronchial hyperresponsiveness. Sensitization to food can occur early in life involving T cell response, mainly of the Th2 phenotype, but also IgE-mediated hypersensitivity. Moreover, it has been shown that sensitization to food allergens early in life is a risk factor for sensitization to inhalent allergens and respiratory symptoms later on. Epidemiological studies suggest that changes in the dietary composition, such as trans-fatty acids, could be involved in the increase of asthma prevalence. The introduction of formula during the first trimester of life increases the risk of having asthma. The diagnosis of food allergy associated with asthma is not easy, nevertheless is important for allergists, pulmonologists and paediatricians to consider food allergy in children with respiratory symptoms, especially when asthma symptoms start early in life and when they are associated with other manifestations of food allergy. Children sensitized to cow’s milk proteins and also having atopic eczema are at higher risk for asthma. Since avoidance of the offending food is the first step in the management of children with asthma associated with food allergy, a careful identification should be done in order to avoid unnecessary elimination of foods.

Arch Pediatr. 2002 Aug;9 Suppl 3:402s-407s.

[Asthma and food allergy: report of 163 pediatric cases]

[Article in French]

Rancé F, Dutau G.

Service d’allergologie et de pneumologie, hôpital des Enfants, CHU Toulouse, 330, avenue de Grande-Bretagne, 31026 Toulouse, France.


The prevalence of food as a cause for asthma is not well known. The aim of this study was to define with standardized tests the incidence of food-induced asthma, the distribution of foods allergens in asthmatic children with food allergy. The study was carried on 163 asthmatic children with food allergy followed during average of 5.5 years. Asthma has been identified with pulmonary function tests (reversibility of FEV1 to bronchodilators) and food allergy has been documented by double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC). Familial atopic disease was found in 148 children (90.7%). Inhalant sensitization was documented in 132 children (81%). Positive DBPCFC were observed in 250 of 385 challenges (65%) carried on these 163 children. The most frequent offending foods were, sometimes in association, peanut (30.6%), egg (23.1%), cow’s milk (9.3%), mustard (6.9%), codfish (6%), shrimp (4.5%), kiwi fruit (3.6%), hazelnut (2.7%), cashew nut (2.1%), almond (1.5%), garlic (1.2%). Symptoms occurring during DBPCFC were cutaneous (143 cases, 59%), respiratory symptoms (58 cases, 23.9%), gastrointestinal symptoms (28 cases, 11.5%) and 15 anaphylactic shock (6.1%). Respiratory symptoms were oral allergy syndrome in 13 cases (5.3%), rhinoconjunctivitis in 15 cases (6.1%), asthma in 23 cases (9.5%). Only seven of these children had asthma only (2.8% of cases). The prevalence of asthma induced by food allergy is low. In our study, asthma induced by food allergy concerned 9.5% of cases and asthma alone was identified in only 2.8% of cases. We observed new food allergens associated with respiratory symptoms such as kiwi fruit, tree-nuts (hazelnut, cashew) and spices. Diagnosis relied upon data obtained from history, skin prick-tests and specific IgE. Oral food challenge is the corner stone of the diagnosis. Asthma induced by food allergens is potentially severe leading to prescribe to these patients a first aid kit with bronchodilators and epinephrine auto-injectors.


Rev Pneumol Clin. 2003 Apr;59(2 Pt 1):109-13.

[Food allergy and asthma in children]

[Article in French]

Rancé F, Micheau P, Marchac V, Scheinmann P.

Service de Pneumologie-Allergologie, Hôpital des Enfants, 330, avenue de Grande-Bretagne, 31026 Toulouse Cedex.


The links between food allergy and asthma are becoming more clear. The association of food allergy and asthma in the same child is unusual (less than 10% in atopic subjects). This association is however a sign of gravity leading to more severe manifestations of food allergy in asthmatic children. Compared with the non-asthmatic child, the asthmatic child has a 14-fold higher risk of developing a severe allergic reaction to the ingestion of food. The most commonly cited foods are fruits with a rind, cow’s milk and, of course, nuts. Epidemiological data established from methodologically sound studies should enable a definition of the current allergic environment. Formal diagnosis is established with standardized tests. Treatment is oriented towards prevention associating a restricted diet, asthma control, patient education, and prescription of an emergency first aid kit with epinephrine. Supplementary inquiries are needed to determine the outcome in children with food allergy and respiratory symptoms.


Paediatr Drugs. 2007;9(3):157-63.

Food Intolerance and childhood asthma: what is the link?

Beausoleil JL, Fiedler J, Spergel JM.

Division of Allergy and Immunology, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Food allergies and asthma are increasing worldwide. It is estimated that approximately 8% of children aged ❤ years have food allergies. Foods can induce a variety of IgE-mediated, cutaneous, gastrointestinal, and respiratory reactions. The most common foods responsible for allergic reactions in children are egg, milk, peanut, soy, fish, shellfish, and tree nuts. Asthma alone as a manifestation of a food allergy is rare and atypical. Less than 5% of patients experience wheezing without cutaneous or gastrointestinal symptoms during a food challenge. In addition to acute respiratory symptoms, a food allergy may also induce airway hyper-responsiveness beyond the initial reaction. This process can occur in patients who do not demonstrate a decrease in lung function during the reaction. Inhalation of aerosolized food particles can cause respiratory symptoms in selected food-allergic individuals, particularly with fish and shellfish during cooking and aerosolization. However, this has not been demonstrated with the smelling of, or casual contact with, peanut butter. Rarely, food additives such as sulfating agents can cause respiratory reactions. This reaction occurs primarily in patients with underlying asthma, particularly in patients with more severe asthma. In contrast, there is no convincing evidence that tartrazine or monosodium glutamate can induce asthma responses. Although food-induced asthma is rare, it is common for patients and clinicians to perceive that food can trigger asthma. Avoidance of specific foods or additives has not been shown to improve asthma, even in patients who may perceive that a particular food worsens their asthma.However, patients with underlying asthma are more likely to experience a fatal or near-fatal food reaction. Food reactions tend to be more severe or life threatening when they involve the respiratory tract. The presence of a food allergy is a risk factor for the future development of asthma, particularly for children with sensitization to egg protein. The diagnosis of a food allergy includes skin or in vitro testing as an initial study when the history suggests food allergy. While negative testing generally rules out a food allergy, positive testing should be followed by a food-challenge procedure for a definitive diagnosis. The CAP-RAST FEIA (CAP-radioallergosorbent test [RAST] fluoroenzyme immunoasssay system [FEIA]) is an improved in vitro measure that in some cases may decrease the need for food challenges. However, similar to skin testing and the RAST, there is good sensitivity but poor specificity, such that specific challenges are often warranted.

Pediatr Pulmonol Suppl. 1995;11:59-60.

Food allergy and asthma.

Businco L, Falconieri P, Giampietro P, Bellioni B.

Department of Pediatrics, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


Food allergy (FA) is one of the causes of atopic dermatitis (AD), of acute urticaria, of reactions of the gastrointestinal tract, and of acute systemic anaphylaxis, but its role in asthma appears to be less clear. The prevalence and incidence of subjects with food-induced wheezing have not been well studied. In addition, the number of subjects with proven food-induced wheezing by double-blind, placebo-controlled oral food challenge (DBPCOFC) has been small. At the moment wheezing is considered unusual in food-hypersensitive subjects, and wheezing as the unique symptom of FA is rare. Furthermore, most cases of food-induced asthma have been observed in children. Food allergy may trigger allergic respiratory symptoms through two main routes: ingestion or inhalation. Children with asthma, who are allergic to foods, present some particular features such as AD and a related significantly elevated total serum IgE level. Alternatively, FA may occur in patients who are “high IgE responder” and more prone to become sensitive to many allergens, including foods. Therefore, children with asthma and a history of AD and/or elevated total serum IgE level should be carefully assessed for FA. We have shown that a significant proportion of children with IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy experienced asthma following DBPCOFC with cow’s milk.


Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 1999 Nov-Dec;27(6):287-93.

Egg and milk allergy in asthmatic children: assessment by immulite allergy food panel, skin prick tests and double-blind placebo-controlled food challenges.

Yazicioğlu M, Başpinar I, Oneş U, Pala O, Kiziler U.

Department of Pediatrics, Trakya Faculty of Medicine, Edirne, Turkey.


There is a perception that asthmatic symptoms may be worsoned by ingestion of certain foods. This study aimed to investigate whether ingestion of cow’s milk or egg might induce respiratory symptoms in asthmatic children. Fifty asthmatic children aged 1.5 to 6 years old, with positive Immulite Food Panel FP5 test results were included in the study. Fifty healthy children within the same age group were accepted as control group. Total serum IgE levels were measured and skin prick tests for food allergens including milk and egg were performed. All of the subjects underwent oral, double-blind, placebo-controlled challenge with fresh egg and cow’s milk powder. Two medical histories were confirmed by double-blind, placebo-controlled challenge in 9 patients (22.2%). Skin prick tests were positive in 9 patients (18%) with milk and 18 patients (36%) with egg antigen. Two children experienced wheezing, one after ingesting milk and the other after egg challenge (4%). In the control group no positive reactions were seen with egg or milk challenges. Our findings confirm that food allergy can elicit asthma in children, but its incidence is low, even with major allergens such as egg and milk. History, specific IgE determinations and skin prick tests are not reliable in diagnosing food reactions. Since any diet can cause rapid deficiencies in infancy, diet restrictions must not be applied, without performing double-blind, placebo-controlled challenge.


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