Purpose of review
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fifth cause of mortality in the world. This article reviews diet as a risk or protective factor for COPD, mechanisms of malnutrition, undernutrition consequences on body functioning and how to modulate nutritional status of COPD patients.
Different dietary factors (dietary pattern, foods, nutrients) have been associated with COPD and the course of the disease. Mechanical disadvantage, energy imbalance, disuse muscle atrophy, hypoxemia, systemic inflammation and oxidative stress have been reported to cause systemic consequences such as cachexia and compromise whole body functioning. Nutritional intervention makes it possible to modify the natural course of the disease provide that it is included in respiratory rehabilitation combining bronchodilators optimization, infection control, exercise and in some patients correction of hypogonadism.
Diet, as a modifiable risk factor, appears more as an option to prevent and modify the course of COPD. Reduction of mechanical disadvantage, physical training and anabolic agents should be used conjointly with oral nutrition supplements to overcome undernutrition and might change the prognosis of the disease in some cases. Major research challenges address the role of systemic inflammation and the best interventions for control it besides smoking cessation.