Asthma risk factors in Desert Southwest of USA: Role of nutritional supplement, Pycnogenol® in therapy

Ronald Ross Watson, Peter Rohdewald, Graciela E. Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Desert environments have some unique causative agents that promote asthma. These include molds like Alternaria alternata and Dermatophagoides farinae, and Bermuda grass pollen. In addition, dietary supplements with antioxidant activities are being shown to reduce asthma symptoms with Pycnogenol being the example used. Design: Literature review. Materials and methods: This review was conducted by searching PubMed and other medical databases, as well as doing original research reviewed. It was presented at the meeting of the British Society for Ecological Medicine in London, June 2006. Results: Recent studies are defining the risk factors for asthma induction in children in the desert environment of Southwest USA. In particular, exposure to molds and pets, maternal smoking, and being overweight. Two recent studies have shown that Pycnogenol, a dietary supplement containing bioflavanoids with strong antioxidant activity, reduced asthma symptoms in adults and youths. There was evidence that the extract lowered symptoms and reduced use of rescue inhalers. In addition, Pycnogenol reduced serum leukotrienes helping explain its action. Conclusions: Exposure to desert materials, in particular Alternaria alternata, increased risk of childhood asthma while Dermatophagoides farinae had no effect. Therapy was successful using a dietary supplement, Pycnogenol, containing bioflavanoids with strong antioxidant activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Alternaria
  • Asthma
  • Bioflavanoids
  • Dietary supplement
  • Leukotrienes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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