n International SportMed Journal - Dietary salt and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction : sports nutrition




Exercise-induced asthma or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) are synonymous terms used to describe a reversible airway disease and refer to the post-exercise decrement in airway function, characterised by airway narrowing and increased airway resistance, which can lead to symptoms of cough, wheezing and/or chest tightness after exercise. Epidemiological evidence with limited experimental data has linked high dietary salt consumption to increasing severity of asthma. Recently, a series of interventional studies have demonstrated that a high salt diet (HSD) worsens and a low salt diet (LSD) improves post-exercise pulmonary function in subjects with EIB. Furthermore, it is possible that both the sodium and chloride ions in salt contribute to the worsening of EIB symptoms after consuming a normal salt diet or HSD. These studies have demonstrated that a LSD reduces the severity of EIB to below the diagnostic limit of a 10% post-exercise fall in FEV1. Athletes can employ a LSD as a potential beneficial therapy for reducing the severity of their EIB. It is not known if a LSD will reduce reliance on pharmacological intervention, thus decreasing reliance on the medications on the IOC banned list, but it is one potential benefit.


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