Can It Be Asthma?

Asthma is more than an allergy, though an asthma attack may be triggered by an allergen but may also be set off by vigorous exercise, a chest infection, cold air, or even stress. Asthma is a chronic lung and airway disease. Asthma sufferers experience asthma attacks when the airways become narrowed and inflamed leaving them breathless with a tight chest accompanied with coughing and wheezing.

Who Gets Asthma?

No doubt you have known someone with asthma, or maybe you have asthma yourself. It affects five out of every 100 people and is on the rise in children with possibly even higher numbers. One tell-tale sign is the inhaler that is usually close by an asthma sufferer. But, how do you get asthma?

Why People Get Asthma?

The onset of asthma may happen when you are a child or come on as an adult. It seems to cross age barriers, though childhood asthma is on the rise. Doctors and experts admit that they don’t know why one person may become asthmatic while another does not. For instance, asthma can run in families, but this doesn’t necessarily mean every genetic offspring will develop the disease. This leads us to the question, “Does the environment, toxins cause asthma?” to which experts again disagree, but most agree that even if the cause of asthma is genetics, the evidence indicates that environment plays a huge role in determining whether or not an asthma attack or the symptoms of asthma will occur. These experts do agree, however, that those with asthma have sensitive airways and that inflammation is at the root. All asthmatic sufferers have inflammation that triggers an immune response. Studies have discovered that pregnant mothers who have a Vitamin D deficiency may pass on asthma to their unborn baby.

Does Nutrition Play a Role in Asthma?

Naturally, if inflammation is at the root of the symptoms of asthma, eating foods that help alleviate or prevent inflammation should help. Studies on those who eat a Mediterranean diet, which contains low saturated fats and sugars but high amounts of whole grain, vegetables, and fruits, show low amounts of asthma. In fact, research has discovered that those who eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like beef, eggs, milk, cheese, salmon, and walnuts have alleviated their asthma symptoms. To balance the Omega-3, foods rich in Omega-6 and Omega-9 are also important. These foods include chicken, whole grains, nuts and seeds, avocado, and olive or coconut oil. Green leafy vegetables also provide a rich source of nutrients that help with asthma as well as natural Vitamin A sources of mangoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, egg yolks, and liver. Since asthma attacks are the result of inflammation, lessening the oxidation with antioxidant foods is a good idea. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and maybe even slip in some chocolate, apple juice, coffee, or tea as they have high levels of antioxidants as well. Eliminating cow’s milk from your diet may also help.

What Vitamins Can Protect From Asthma?

Studies have been conducted that show that magnesium deficiency may be a very significant clue to helping asthmatics, and by simply adding magnesium to your daily intake, symptoms can improve greatly. Those suffering from asthma tend to have a deficiency in, or possibly for some reason need more of, certain vitamins. Specifically, fat soluble vitamins seem to play an important role in alleviating asthma symptoms. These vitamins include Vitamin D and Vitamin E along with Omega 3 and a healthy balance of other fatty acids found in meat. Vitamin D helps to control the inflammatory response that asthma triggers.

Of course, sunlight in moderation is the best way to absorb Vitamin D. Vitamin E is a friend to Vitamin D and higher doses have been found to be associated with lower frequency of allergen sensitization and provides an overall boost to immunity. These vitamins work hand-in-hand with fish oil, krill oil, or flax seed oil supplements or fats derived from a healthy diet. Bromelain, derived from pineapple, is an amazing enzyme that works well to help with the inflammation of asthma. Vitamin A is another fat soluble vitamin that seems to help asthmatics who are typically lacking in this vitamin. B vitamins and minerals of selenium and zinc may also help to asthma sufferers.

Antioxidants to the Rescue

Because inflammation seems to be the trigger for asthmatic symptoms, antioxidants could only benefit the situation. Oxidation in the body occurs rapidly within airways of those who suffer from asthma. When triggered, the immune system responds and inflammation is the result. Alleviating this oxidation will also alleviate the inflammation result. Vitamins high in antioxidant properties, such as Vitamin C, have been studied and shown to improve lung function.

Journaling Relieves Asthma Symptoms

One surprising secret to some asthma relief may be in the pen and notebook. Research has revealed that one simple practice may improve asthma. That simple practice is simply taking the time to write down your feelings. Turns out that writing tends to reduce stress with long-lasting results. Yes, writing or keeping a journal might be the secret to alleviating your asthma. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association April 14, 1999 issue, patients in the study who wrote about stressful events in their lives tend to suffer less with asthma symptoms. In fact, the study measured lung function on two groups: one group wrote about their most stressful life events, while the other group did not write. The results showed an almost 20 percent improvement in those who wrote it out and no improvement among the non-writers. Writing also proved beneficial for those with allergies and even rheumatoid arthritis.  If you hated writing those high school essays, take heart. Writing about your emotions seems to help put strong negative stressful emotions into proper perspective.



April 14, 1999 Issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, (281:1304-1309, 1328-1329) –

R Barros – Adherence to the Mediterranean diet and fresh fruit intake are associated with improved asthma control –

January 1999, A. Emelyanov, Reduced intracellular magnesium concentrations in asthmatic patients –

Graham Devereux, December 22, 2005, ATS Journal, Low Maternal Vitamin E Intake during Pregnancy Is Associated with Asthma in 5-Year-Old Children –

Artemis P. Simopoulos, MD, FACN, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Volume 21, 2002 – Issue 6 – Omega-3 Fatty Acide in Inflammation and Autoimmune Diseases –