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Breathing Easy

Asthma can be controlled

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Breathing Easy

What is asthma? Put simply, it is a chronic inflammation of the respiratory system. Asthmatics have hyperactive, easily constricted airways and they produce excessive bronchial mucus.

What is asthma? Put simply, it is a chronic inflammation of the respiratory system. Asthmatics have hyperactive, easily constricted airways and they produce excessive bronchial mucus.

Setting off the inflammatory process are various “triggers.” A low trigger threshold means frequent, severe asthma attacks. Conversely, identifying inflammatory triggers and using supplements that raise the threshold permanently decreases the incidence of asthma attacks.

To increase your trigger threshold, first identify allergies and chemical sensitivities and remove them from your environment or diet. Neither medications nor supplements can be fully effective if you’re surrounded by allergens.

Second, desensitize your trigger with a supplement program. Here are my top choices with adult dosage (AD) recommendations. For children over 12 years, use the AD; ages 6 to12 years, use 1/2 the AD; and from ages 2 to 6 years, use 1/3 the AD. Improvements may take 3 to 6 weeks.

Vitamin C is number one for natural asthma treatment. It’s the primary antioxidant in the lungs and a powerful antihistamine. Vitamin C enhances immunity and reduces the severity of allergic responses.

Dosage: 1.0 g three times daily.

N-acetylcysteine helps thin mucus in the lungs and normalizes its production to prevent clogging of the bronchial tubes. N-acetylcysteine is also a building block for glutathione, the most abundant antioxidant within our cells, and another crucial lung protectant. Working synergistically, glutathione and vitamin C prevent “runaway” lung inflammation (a condition in which the body’s immune response spins out of control) and bolster lung immunity.

Dosage: 500 to 1,000 mg daily.

Magnesium is needed to relax the bronchial tubes, and levels are chronically low in asthmatics. In a 2003 study, 89 asthmatic children ages 4 to 16 were given 200 to 290 mg of magnesium daily or a placebo. During the 12-week study children receiving magnesium used their inhalers less than those receiving placebo.

Dosage: 400 to 800 mg daily.

Antioxidants help reduce inflammation. As chemical “sacrificial lambs,” antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which may damage the body’s cells. Asthmatics tend to have reduced blood levels of antioxidants, especially vitamins A, C, E, carotenoids, and selenium. Grapeseed, green tea, curcumin, and rosemary are examples of antioxidant-rich herbs.

Carotenoids are especially important to asthmatics. In a 2000 study, 20 patients with exercise-induced asthma were given 30 mg lycopene (a carotenoid) daily or placebo for one week and then tested on a treadmill. After a two-week wash-out, they were switched to the other supplement and tested again. Eleven patients were protected against exercise-induced asthma by lycopene. A 1999 study found identical results for beta-carotene.

Finally, don’t neglect a multivitamin with 50 to 75 mg B-complex. Raising your trigger threshold is neither difficult nor expensive and puts you in control of your asthma.

Common Asthma Allergens

  • mold and mildew
  • pets
  • cockroaches
  • smoke
  • perfumes
  • cleaning chemicals
  • dairy products
  • wheat
  • soy
  • yeast
  • citrus
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