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February 2012

Soda Consumption Linked to Increased Asthma, COPD Risk

A new study suggests that high soda consumption may be linked to an increased risk for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory lung disease. The air passages within the lungs are constantly swollen, restricting the amount of air allowed to pass through the trachea. Asthmatics have recurrent breathing problems and a tendency to cough and wheeze.

COPD is a type of lung disease that involves damage or obstruction to the airways of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. COPD is an overall term referring to a group of chronic lung conditions, most commonly including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and possibly asthma or asthmatic bronchitis. While chronic bronchitis and emphysema may occur separately, it is common for patients to have both diseases at the same time.

In a new study, researchers collected data from 16,907 participants (at least 16 years-old) to assess the potential associations between soda intake and COPD or asthma risk. Of the participants, 11.4 percent reported that they consumed over half a liter of soda daily.

The researchers found that high soda consumption was linked to an increased risk of COPD and asthma. The authors noted that 15.6 percent of the participants with COPD and 13.3 percent with asthma reported the highest daily soda consumption. After analyzing the data, the researchers found that consuming more than half a liter of soda daily was linked to a 26 percent increased risk for asthma, and a 79 percent increased risk for COPD when compared to individuals who did not consume any soda.

This study only suggests a potential association and does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. Additional research is necessary to further understand these findings.

Many integrative therapies have been studied for their potential benefits in various respiratory conditions. Multiple human studies report benefits of yoga (such as breathing exercises) when added to other treatments for mild-to-moderate asthma (such as standard drug therapy, diet, or massage). Additionally, choline is possibly effective when taken by mouth for asthma. Choline supplements seem to decrease the severity of symptoms, number of symptomatic days and the need to use bronchodilators in asthma patients. There is some evidence that higher daily doses might be more effective than lower daily.

For more information about integrative therapies for asthma or COPD, please visit Natural Standard's Comparative Effectiveness Database.

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  1. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
  2. Shi Z, Dal Grande E, Taylor AW, et al. Association between soft drink consumption and asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among adults in Australia.Respirology. 2012 Feb;17(2):363-9. View Abstract
The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright 2013 Natural Standard Inc. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited.