Don’t be a slave to your asthma inhaler! Learn which supplements and food sources can help ease the inflammatory responses to asthma and allergies.
If you have asthma like I do, you know the feeling of a tight chest, wheezing, coughing and more. It’s not fun and can be scary! Technically, asthma is the consequence of spasms of the bronchial tubes or swelling of their mucus membranes. Allergic triggers, irritants or the result of an upper respiratory infection, including the common cold virus, can cause it. Doctors prescribe medication and inhalers, but this can become a tedious and cyclic habit, helping the symptoms but do they really cure the underlying inflammation? This is where I have personally researched and studied ways to combat the inflammatory response to help reverse asthma the natural way. I would like to share a few things that have helped me.
Vitamin C, known as the citrus vitamin, works like an antihistamine without the drowsy effects of most drugs. It’s also a potent antioxidant keeping the body strong and healthy to ward off colds and other viruses. It’s easy to pop a supplement like I do, but many foods also contain natural vitamin C. Food sources include berries, citrus fruits and green vegetables. Orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C, but only if it’s freshly squeezed or processed without heat or pasteurization.
Quercitin is a bioflavonoid that has been noted for its antihistamine properties that helps asthma and allergies. It can be taken in supplement form, sometimes combined with bromelain (an enzyme from the pineapple fruit). Other food sources include apples, leafy greens, onions, tea and many citrus fruits.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important additions to combat asthma. This powerhouse nutrient can be found in flaxseed and fatty fish like salmon and tuna. Ingesting these oils act as natural anti-inflammatory substances that inhibits inflammatory markers like prostaglandins. When a person has asthma, they experience both the acute inflammatory response and sometimes a lingering phase. This is known as chronic asthma and where the omega-3 oils help. The effect is not immediate, but over a period of time offers a treatment that helps repair tissue damage. I also take Evening Primrose Oil, which is obtained from plants and provide a source of GLA (gamma linoleic acid) another important fatty acid.
Magnesium is a star nutrient for asthmatics according to Richard N. Firshein, D.O. in his book Reversing Asthma. He stated that, “over half a century ago, scientists reported that magnesium sulfate worked as a natural bronchodilator; one that opened constricted bronchial tubes without side effects.” Magnesium helps to relax smooth muscles easing bronchial constriction and making breathing easier. I take a magnesium supplement daily and try to consume food sources such as dairy products, fish and meat. Great produce sources include apples, avocados, bananas, green leafy vegetables, peaches and cantaloupe. You can also snack on nuts, seeds and soybeans for a magnesium boost.
The B-vitamins are very helpful to balance the immune system and helps with allergies, which are a precursor of asthma in many people. B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride) is one of the B-complex vitamins that seem to be most helpful. I basically take a B-complex supplement that covers all the B vitamins – it’s best when they work together. Foods to consume that contain plenty of vitamin B6 are tuna, turkey, beef, chicken, salmon, sweet potato, sunflower seeds, spinach, and banana.
These are my main asthma supplements that I add to a multi-vitamin. Dr. Firshein also recommends herbs like turmeric and ginger, zinc, selenium and garlic in his book. It’s best to check with your physician before adding supplements to your medication protocol. I have found that this natural routine has helped me feel better and reduce my medication load with my doctor’s blessings.
Firshein D.O., Richard N.; Reversing Asthma; Warner Books, 1996
Balch, Phyllis A.; Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Avery, 2010
This author is not a licensed medical professional and this article is not intended to replace medical advice.