Asthma is an inflammation of the lining of the lungs. When this happens, the airways become narrower and swollen. This makes breathing more difficult. Wheezing occurs when you inhale. Shortness of breath occurs when you exhale.
Since asthma symptoms are the result of uncontrolled inflammation (1)(2)(3)(4)(5), these simple steps are most effective because they strengthen the immune system and help control the inflammatory response.
Natural Asthma Remedies – Our Recommendations
The 3 natural asthma remedies we recommend are:
- Take Vitamin D3 daily
- Take a quality probiotic daily
- Eliminate grains and dairy from the diet
For reasons that are too complex to discuss here, grains and dairy are among the most inflammatory foods we can eat. Eliminating them from the diet is one of the most important measures an asthma patient can take to eradicate asthma symptoms.
Furthermore, Vitamin D is imperative for controlling inflammation, and science has observed low Vitamin D levels in patients with asthma (a)(b). However, a correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and asthma doesn’t necessarily mean that Vitamin D deficiency causes asthma. That would be like saying that since 80% of people with diabetes say they eat corn flakes for breakfast, then corn flakes cause diabetes.
Nevertheless, we have noticed over the years that many asthmatics who optimize their Vitamin D levels show a reduction or complete resolution of asthma symptoms. These two studies supported my observation (6)(7) and concluded that “Vitamin D is a potential treatment for airway remodeling in asthma.”
Regardless of a person’s state of health, Vitamin D is often the first supplement we recommend for anyone. It’s one of the 3 supplements most people take every day.
The Need for Probiotics in Controlling Asthma Symptoms
Another supplement I always recommend for asthmatics is a daily probiotic. 80% of the human immune system is located in the gut as health-promoting, friendly bacteria. They are responsible, in part, for controlling the immune response and are therefore a major culprit in asthma and allergy problems when not optimized.
If these friendly bacteria, also called “intestinal flora,” become depleted or imbalanced, inflammation will go uncontrolled, and a myriad of health issues can result.
Most of us are born with a probiotic deficiency, and it just gets worse from there. Processed food, sugar and sugar substitutes, grains, dairy, alcohol, antibiotics, and food chemicals all destroy intestinal flora and our immunity along with it.
Aside from Vitamin D and probiotics, there is one other nutrient in which most humans are deficient, and that has been highly praised as beneficial for asthma patients: Omega-3 fats.
The Need for Omega-3 Fats in Controlling Asthma Symptoms
Until writing this article, we were unaware of such an abundance of science-supported omega-3s for people living with asthma.
Research Conclusion: “Diet supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids significantly improved asthma control tests, pulmonary function tests, and pulmonary inflammatory markers in children with moderately persistent bronchial asthma.”
The best omega-3 supplements are made from small oily fish. However, some fear mercury levels and radiation in commercial fish these days and opt to get their omega-3s from other sources (like flax and chia seeds) instead.
There are a few important points I’d like to make concerning this trend:
- Seeds do not provide EPA and DHA omega-3 fats, which are much more biologically important than the ALA Omega-3s in plants and seeds. The omega-3s shown to benefit asthma patients were EPA and DHA.
- ALA omega-3s from plants have a shorter carbon chain than EPA and DHA, making it necessary for the body to convert ALA to EPA and DHA. Science has shown this process to be very inefficient – even absent entirely – in most people.
- Quality omega-3 supplements have been filtered, the contaminants removed and then tested by a 3rd party for purity.
If every human would supplement these 3 nutrients every day (Vitamin D, omega-3s, and probiotics), I believe we would reduce or even eliminate 90% of the health challenges we suffer from.
Foods and Other Supplements Which Reduce Asthma Symptoms
Other supplements and foods are shown to have a beneficial effect on asthma symptoms:
♦ Butterbur is an herb that helps fight headaches. Native American ancestors knew this about Butterbur, but the rest of us may be surprised by how effective this native plant is. It’s one of the most widely studied natural migraine interventions today, and studies suggest it can be a safe and effective asthma therapy (19)(20).
♦ 70% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. This deficiency can lead to restless leg syndrome (RLS), sleep disorders, irritability, abnormal heart rhythms, low blood pressure, muscle spasms and weakness, hyperventilation, and even seizures and death.
♦ Two studies commented on improvements observed when asthma patients increased their antioxidant intake (c)(d), while another stated that “adherence to the Mediterranean diet early in life protects against the development of asthma and atopy in children.” (30)
In addition to these foods and supplements, a few forms of manual therapy are also worth mentioning here for their results on asthma symptoms in scientific research.
♦ One study cited acupuncture as a helpful, non-invasive adjunct to traditional asthma treatment (31).
♦ A review of 8 studies showed an improvement with chiropractic in both subjective and objective measurements in test subjects (32).
♦ Impressively, there were numerous studies showing the practice of yoga improves the long-term management of asthma (33)(34)(35)(36)(37) and that the positive effects of specific yoga breathing exercises were statistically significant (38)(39).
♦ It is also well documented that obese people have a higher incidence of asthma and suffer more severe asthma symptoms. Research shows that asthma patients who lose weight reduce their breathing difficulties (40).
Many asthma patients aren’t aware that so many scientifically supported, non-medical remedies are available to them. None of these natural therapies take the place of emergency asthma medications, but perhaps they can offer some hope in helping asthma sufferers breathe easier over the long-term.