Alternative Treatments for Asthma

Asthma sufferers may lessen their need for chemical treatments prescription medications (steroids) and inhalers through lifestyle and dietary changes and nutritional supplements.
-Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke, indoor and outdoor pollution, and common allergens such as dust (see Allergies)
-Avoid food additives and processed foods. The diet should emphasize whole, organic foods as much as possible. Focus on decreasing refined carbohydrates like sugar and heavily processed starches; hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils (which interfere with fatty acid metabolism); artificial food additives, flavorings, and sweeteners; fried foods; and pork.
-Avoid nitrates/nitrites and sulfites. Many asthma patients are sensitive to these substances and should avoid foods containing such additives. This may include deli meats and cheeses, hot dogs, bacon, wine and beer. Individuals who know they are sensitive to sulfites may benefit from supplements of both vitamin B12 and the mineral molybdenum. Both help in the oxidation and metabolism of sulfites and may help decrease an inflammatory reaction to sulfites exposure. In addition, vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to some forms of asthma.

-Include a balance of aerobic exercise, resistance training, and stretching or yoga in your workout routine. Try to avoid exercising in cold, dry air, and always warm up with at least 10 minutes of lower-intensity exercise. Stress management techniques including biofeedback and meditation are recommended.
-Supplement with omega-3s. Fish oil and flaxseed oil, both excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, may help decrease inflammation.
-Get plenty of antioxidants through diet or supplements. They decrease free radical activity, which tends to stimulate inflammation. This includes vitamins A, C, and E, quercetin, bioflavonoids (hesperidin and rutin), N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and bromelain. Bromelain, which comes from the stem of pineapple, is an enzyme that when taken without food, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
-Try taking magnesium, which has a broncho-dilating effect. Magnesium stores have been shown to be low in individuals with asthma.

The Best Food for your Asthma

Asthma, a condition that strikes the small air passages of the lungs in episodes called asthma attacks, affects the lives of many people in this country. Asthma attacks occur when smooth muscle cells clamp down on air passages, closing them off. This makes it much harder to get air in and out of the lungs, leading to wheezing and difficulty breathing. If the attack continues, the patient may pass out or even die from suffocation.
Although asthma patients may be symptom-free between attacks, they must live with the fear that another asthma attack may happen at any time. Fortunately, healthy food choices may help reduce attacks and alleviate symptoms caused by this debilitating condition.
A Mediterranean Diet approach to food has been shown to have unique benefits in bringing asthma under control. The great antioxidant support provided by fresh fruits and vegetables is very likely to be a major source of lung and airway support in a Mediterranean Diet, as are the rich array of anti-inflammatory compounds found in signature foods like extra virgin olive oil.
Eat more
Organically grown fruits and vegetables
Cold water fish including cod, salmon, mackerel, herring and halibut
Extra virgin olive oil
Flax seeds
Rosemary, ginger and turmeric

Eliminate milk and other dairy products which have been most commonly cited as increasing the severity of asthmatic symptoms.

What is Exercise Induced Asthma?

Exercise induced asthma (EIA) occurs when a person begins to experience asthma symptoms brought on by exercise or while engaging in high energy physical activity such as sports. It is especially likely to occur during colder weather and symptoms may include shortness of breath, a feeling of pressure or tightness in the chest, wheezing, coughing, sore throat, headache, and fatigue. Symptoms can last up to one hour, but have been known to last for several days.
While the exact cause of exercise induced asthma hasn’t yet been pinpointed, the most widely accepted theory suggests that the hard and fast deep breathing brought on by exercise allows the passageways in the lungs to become overly cool and dry. When that happens the muscles of the lungs begin to tighten and become narrower, irritating the lining of the lungs which then leads to inflammation and the formation of mucous. As these things occur the sufferer will begin to feel the familiar asthma like symptoms that make it harder to breathe.
The following are common triggers of EIA attacks in those who are susceptible:
-Participating in sports activities during cold weather when the air is dryer. Reports of EIA attacks rise in winter.
-Exercise – This includes any form of gym or sport activity which increases the rate of breaths taken per minute over an extended period of time. EIA attacks may also be triggered by not properly preparing for gym routines or sporting activities like football.
-Exposure to irritants – Exercising or playing sports in close proximity to things that may aggravate the lungs can cause an EIA episode. These irritants may include pet dander, dust, pollen, tobacco smoke, and chemicals like chlorine.

Is your Asthma Under Control?

No matter what type of asthma you have, an important step in managing your asthma is to find out if your asthma is under control. Uncontrolled asthma symptoms can have a bigger impact than you may realize. And if you have had a recent asthma attack, this may mean you are more likely to have another one.
Your asthma may not be under control if one or more of the following are true for you.
Do you:
-Have symptoms more than 2 days a week?
-Limit or avoid daily activities?
-Wake up at night because of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath?
-Use your rescue inhaler more than 2 times a week?
-Have peak flow or FEV1 readings below your personal best?
-Need emergency medical care due to asthma symptoms more than once a year?

If you think you may have uncontrolled asthma, it’s important to talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

Asthma in Spring

People who have spring allergies and asthma often enjoy a short respite during the cold months when symptoms abate and they can breathe easy, or easier, at least. As the weather begins to warm and trees begin to bloom and sprout leaves, though, things change. Before you know it, you’re sneezing, wheezing and coughing once again. Spring allergies have just begun.
Some allergies and asthma produce problems year round, because they are triggered by substances found in the everyday living environment. You may find that your symptoms get worse every spring. Some people, though, are lucky enough to have more seasonal allergies and asthma. Spring allergies are sometimes called “hayfever,” although they aren’t caused by hay and don’t result in a fever. They are, however, usually the outdoor type of allergies, meaning that the triggers are commonly found outdoors, rather than indoors.
Common symptoms of spring allergies can include:
-Nasal stuffiness
-Runny nose

Crucial Diet for your Asthma

The latest research suggests that eating a balanced diet high in nutrients is a crucial step to manage asthma and keep your immune system working at its best.
While it’s important to follow your asthma action plan and take your medications as directed, if you get the okay from your doctor first, you can also try adding some key foods and supplements into your diet in order to help keep your asthma in check. The five simple steps below can bring about some important benefits and may even lessen your reliance on conventional medicines:
-Load up on fruits and vegetables.
-Use fish oil supplements for lung health.
-Eat an apple to keep your asthma at bay.
-Go heavy on milk, eggs, and fish to get more vitamin D.

-Add more spice to your life. The vitamin C contained in hot chili peppers can be good for your health and asthma, too, since it serves as an antioxidant and also fights inflammation. Eating spicy foods for respiratory health may also help clear mucus caused by allergies.

Is There a Diet for Asthma?

There is no special asthma diet. We don’t know of any foods that reduce the airway inflammation of asthma. Beverages that contain caffeine provide a slight amount of broncho-dilation for an hour or two, but taking a rescue inhaler is much more effective for the temporary relief of asthma symptoms. But these steps may help:
-Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. They’re a good source of antioxidants such as beta carotene and vitamins C and E, which may help reduce lung swelling and irritation (inflammation) caused by cell-damaging chemicals known as free radicals.
-Take in vitamin D. People with more severe asthma may have low vitamin D levels. Milk, eggs and fish such as salmon, all contain vitamin D. Even spending a few minutes outdoors in the sun can increase vitamin D levels.
-Avoid sulfites. Sulfites can trigger asthma symptoms in some people. Used as a preservative, sulfites can be found in wine, dried fruits, pickles, fresh and frozen shrimp and some other foods.
-Avoid allergy-triggering foods. Having asthma puts you at increased risk for having a food allergy. And allergic food reactions can cause asthma symptoms. In some people, exercising after eating an allergy-causing food leads to asthma symptoms.
-Eat to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can worsen asthma. Even losing a little weight can improve your symptoms. Learn how to eat right to maintain a healthy weight over the long term.
It’s also possible that eating less salt (sodium) or eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (oils found in cold water fish and some nuts and seeds) may reduce asthma symptoms. But more research is needed to verify this.

Asthma gets Worst in Cold Weather

Cold weather is a major trigger for asthma symptoms. Here are five tips for keeping asthma at bay as the winter temperatures plummet.
Hospital admissions for asthma traditionally peak during periods of particularly cold weather. This can be due to breathing cold air into the lungs, which can in turn trigger asthma, as well as picking up colds and flu.

Five tips for preventing cold weather asthma symptoms:
-Keep taking your regular prevented medicines as prescribed by your doctor.
-If you know that cold air triggers your asthma, take one or two puffs of your reliever inhaler before going outside.
-Keep your blue reliever inhaler with you at all times.
-Wrap up well and wear a scarf over your nose and mouth – this will help to warm up the air before you breathe it in.
-Take extra care when exercising in cold weather. Warm up for 10-15 minutes and take one or two puffs of your reliever inhaler before you start.

What Triggers an Asthma Attack?

Asthma is a chronic breathing disorder characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing. Some causes and triggers are common to all people with asthma, and some are more individual. Although the fundamental causes of asthma are not completely understood, the strongest risk factors for developing asthma are inhaled asthma triggers. These include:
-indoor allergens (for example house dust mites in bedding, carpets and stuffed furniture, pollution and pet dander);
outdoor allergens (such as pollens and moulds);
-tobacco smoke; and
-chemical irritants in the workplace.
Other triggers can include cold air, extreme emotional arousal such as anger or fear, and physical exercise. In some people, asthma can even be triggered by certain medications, such as aspirin and other non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, and beta-blockers (which are used to treat high blood pressure, heart conditions and migraine). Urbanization has also been associated with an increase in asthma, however the exact nature of this relationship is unclear.

A Cure for ASTHMA?

With all the new findings on alternative medicine and natural remedies, you may ask if there’s a cure for asthma.
Unfortunately there is no single identifiable cause for asthma. Increasingly there is the view that asthma is more realistically viewed as a group of symptoms which are common to several underlying conditions.

Consequently finding a ‘cure’ is more like trying to put together a large jigsaw puzzle without any idea of what the final picture is. Each research group is contributing to adding a small piece of the jigsaw puzzle.
A way to prevent asthma from developing is as important as finding a cure; it is far better to stop young lungs being damaged by asthma than it is try to treat the damage once it has occurred. We know that there are certain risk factors associated with asthma and there are also some things that seem to provide a protective effect. So gradually parts of the jigsaw are being put together.
It may seem reasonable to expect that because of the amount of research being conducted into asthma that ‘breakthroughs’ would occur quite frequently. Because of the breadth and complexity of the research this is unfortunately not the case.