by Metabolic Practitioner/World Champion CM Monteleone
It was a sad moment when my friend Lauren told me of her brother-in-law’s passing just a few months ago. She was devastated that he left this world at such a young age: in his 50’s from an asthma attack. My first response was to ask if he was taking magnesium since it was a nervous system disorder?
She was surprised to hear that there are lifestyle methods to help with asthma. I am not a doctor and I this is not medical advice, but here are some things to consider in asthma and allergy situations that have worked for clients of mine (all supplements are listed on my website and the ones mentioned are under the category of Asthma Article for quick reference) :
1. Omega 3 (fish oil) supplementation. Studies have shown that an increase in omega 6 fats from things like seed oils have a negative effect on asthma. Increasing Omega 3 fatty acids will help with anti-inflammation of airways. I cycle my clients with high doses to start- for at least 1-3 months of 1 gram per percentage of bodyfat. If someone is 32 % bodyfat, that means 32 grams a day which is 32 x 1,000 mg pills OR get yourself a high quality concentrated liquid.
2. Magnesium. Magnesium is an actual western medicine treatment for asthma- in particular magnesium sulfate that is given in an IV or inhaled. There is an absolute correlation between magnesium deficiency and asthma. I have found that adequate magnesium supplement in the form of Synermag by ATP or Magnesium glycinate by Nutridyn plus a nightly Magnesium L-threonate like Yin Reserve or Myoxience Myo Relax and Calm is a great foundation to counter magnesium deficiency.
How much of each should be dictated by an experienced practitioner. Magnesium sulfate can be inhaled on a regular basis by taking regular (minimum 2 x week) hot Epsom salt baths and allowing the steam to rise.
3. Antioxidants: There is a direct correlation to asthma and an overabundance of Reactive Oxygen Species or free radicals in the blood. Although Vitamin C deficiency is shown in patients with asthma, there is not a lot of evidence for supplementation making it better. What there is a plethora of evidence for, however, is Resveratrol, the polyphenol that gives blueberries their color. It also is present in red wine, but wine and alcohol in general are counter productive for treating asthma. Avoid alcohol.
In addition to Resveratrol, the antioxidant Vitamin E in the form of gamma Tocotrienols have been shown to be very effective. This is not to be confused with traditional vitamin E which is made from Tocopherols. My favorite source of tocotrienol is Annatto E-300 by DFH which is a gamma and delta blend. These should be taken with fats like butter or nuts as they are fat soluble vitamins.
Alpua Lipoic Acid, supplementrd or found in red meat, especially beef liver, inhibited airway inflammation and down regulated the inflammatory cytokine called IL-18.
4. Amino Acids: Technically these can fall under the above anti-oxidants but studies have shown that a decrease in amino acids are associated with asthma. The most important seems to be Taurine. Taurine rich foods are shellfish and octopus, but you can also supplement with Taurine or an Essential Amino Acid blend.
Also important is glycine which is broken down in the body by commercial pesticides. If you are eating a lot of commercial fruits and vegetables, especially GMO ones, you are likely getting residual pesticide. In addition, pesticides are all around us in our environment. The worst culprit is Round Up which has glyphosate. The other ingredients in Round UP have been shown make the toxic effects of glyphosate even worse. Glyphosate breaks down glycine which is essential to our cells. Supplementing with Glutamed by ATP or straight glycine can help get your glycine back on track. Avoid all pesticides as much as possible and buy organic produce and grass fed/wild meats.
5. Selenium and Zinc: Studies show that those with asthma and allergies have low levels of selenium and zinc. You can overdo it with selenium supplementation, so I have my clients cycle Brazil nuts a month on and off. Zinc is an extremely important essential nutrient as even our DNA is coded with zinc. I have my clients use Synerzinc by ATP which is properly balanced with copper since they compete for the same receptors. Zinc also alters airway reactivity and supports the immune system in general.
6. Bowswellia and Licorice root: are shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in the mucosal lining of the gut. The gut (as we see in the next section) is connected to breathing through the gut-lung axis. Both are available in supplement form.
7. Microbiome: There exists perhaps the most data on prevention of asthma in children with proper exposure to the microbiome. This includes proper nutrition and metabolic health during pregnancy, breastfeeding, vaginal birth, decreased exposure to cleaning products early on, farm or rural exposure and having a pet as a child. In particular, Prevotella overabundance is associated with chronic inflammation of the body. Prevotella comes from eating a diet rich in starch, carbohydrates and plant foods. In contrast, Bacteroides, bacteria from eating meat shows the opposite effect. Increasing Lactobacilius is one way of helping. Adding probiotics into your daily routine can help. The best time for my clients to take probiotics is at night right before bed.
A word on diet: Standard American processed diet is associated with increased asthma. Clients have found great success with AVOIDING processed foods and fast food. They avoid gluten, dairy, sugar and grains (rice, corn, wheat,etc). All are inflammatory and can disrupt the mucosal lining of the gut. Limit fruits to mostly berries. Grass fed/wild meats contain more amino acids and more omega 3’s than conventional. They also eliminate inflammatory omega 6 seed oils such as: canola, sunflower, corn and vegetable oils.
The key here is to reduce inflammation. Since excess bodyfat also contributes to inflammation. Add in exercise 3 x a week. A great way to start is walking up a hill 8-10 times for approximately 2:30.
Getting outside and in nature helps to build the immune system as well so plan your exercise for outdoors instead of on a treadmill or machine.
8. Mycobiome: The mycobiome is the name for the fungi that live in our body alongside the microbacteria. The balance of fungi is also important. Molds, yeasts and candida can absolutely contribute to asthma. Keep your mycobiome in tact with Spore biotics.
9. Preservatives and Chemicals: This one encompasses a lot! This means cutting out food with any kind of artificial ingredients or colors. You won’t find much on it these days, but early childhood vaccination has also been linked to asthma in children. These contain preservatives as well. Chemicals such as parabens and phytates are called endocrine disruptors. This means they mess with your hormones. Eliminate any household cleaning products or detergents with these. Use of antibacterials like tricolasan is also associated with asthma. Yikes, this is scary to think about after 2020 and the increased use of sanitizers!!! One study pointed to a direct link between beauty products for all women and increased asthma. Another pointed to hair products for African American women (relaxers) and increased asthma. Cut the chemicals! One of the worst recent trends for asthma is vaping or E-cigarettes. These are loaded with toxins such as chemicals and heavy metals.
10. Other foods/spices that have helped: garlic, rosemary, ginger, and inhaled eucalyptus for relaxation. Other alternative methods that have helped: yoga, massage, and acupuncture, getting a pet and visiting farms at an early age.
I hope this article shared with you a few ways that science has proven that lifestyle can play a part in regulating asthma and rhinitis (allergies).
Here are my notes with links to articles for your own research:
Strategies for the next decade: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7558718/
Diet, Vitamins and Food Supplements
Various studies have confirmed that food and nutrients can protect the airway from oxidative damage through different mechanisms. For example, some vitamins (soluble (vitamin C) and fat-soluble (vitamin E)) are considered an important defense against RONS. Similarly, carotenoids (α and β), vitamin A, and lycopene have shown significant potential antioxidant effects. Those results also show that asthmatic individuals present lower concentrations of vitamins A, C and E, which may enhance their symptoms. The same happens if selenium levels are low, since this element is essential for the enzyme glutathione peroxidase (GPx) to function properly and to reduce the amount of H2O2, preventing the lipid peroxidation of the cell membrane [43,59,60].
Tocotrienols: Research carried out by Hernández et al. (2013) and Peh et al. (2015) with the vitamin E γ-tocotrienol isoform showed that this isoform can inhibit oxidative damage by promoting the production of endogenous antioxidants in the lungs.
the daily dose of oral steroids [65,66]. The second study (2016) consisted of 29 trials that included 3000 participants with an average age of 43 years. Mainly, the anti-asthmatic effect of the plants Glycyrrhiza uralensis (licorice root), Angelica Sinensis, Pinellia ternata, and Astragalus membraneceus (the latter two included in traditional Chinese medicine) were evaluated. The diagnosis and treatment of the disease was performed on the basis of parameters of the GINA. The analysis confirmed that almost all plants, as a complement to routine therapy, improved the asthmatic control and lung function. Likewise, the frequency of acute exacerbations and the use of salbutamol decreased . In addition to the examples mentioned above, there are records on the plants “Perpetual” (Helichrysum stoechas), “Eucalyptus” (Eucalyptus globulus), “Rosemary” (Rosmarinus officinalis), “Ginger” (Zingiber officinale) and “Elecampane” (Inula helenium) that due to their aromas and relaxing effects, they can reduce asthma symptoms [43,67]. It is worth mentioning that the traditional consumption of these medicinal herbs is, in general, orally, on a weekly basis and for one month (mainly as aqueous extracts or tea). According to each area or geographic entity where they are used, their preparation includes the use of the plant alone or a mixture derived from the leaves, stems, roots and/or fruits.
On the other hand, garlic (Allium sativum L.), a bulbous perennial plant with a peculiar purgative flavor, has shown antimicrobial, antifungal, analgesic, antihypertensive, anticancer, antioxidant and anti-asthmatic capabilities, attributed to different phytochemicals in its chemical composition, among which organic sulfur compounds (such as diallyl sulfide (DS)) stand out. In the case of its anti-asthmatic potential, studies conducted with DS showed that when it acts on Nrf2 it can reduce ovalbumin-induced infiltrated inflammatory cells and proinflammatory cytokines in BALF mice [57,68].
Finally, research carried out with resveratrol, a phenolic compound found in grapes, indicated that it can decrease ROS production and reverse the high levels of TNF-α and iNOS in the lungs of obese C57BL/6 male mice sensitized with ovalbumin (OVA). This protective effect is probably related to its ability to regulate the decrease in the phosphoinositide 3-kinase-protein kinase B pathway, while regulating or producing an elevation of inositol polyphosphate 4 phosphatase [69,70].
Alternative Treatment of Ashtma: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11207455/
Antioxidant nutrients, especially vitamins C and E, selenium, and zinc appear to be necessary in asthma treatment. Vitamins B6 and B12 also may be helpful. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish, the flavonoid quercetin, and botanicals Tylophora asthmatica, Boswellia serrata and Petasites hybridus address the inflammatory component. Physical modalities, including yoga, massage, biofeedback, acupuncture, and chiropractic can also be of help.
Diet and A: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21185068/
Histamine foods and A: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33167542/
ALA (alpha lipoic acid) :
ALA inhibits airway inflammation: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15316528/
On mice with A: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31430453/
ALA downregulates IL-18: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31430453/
Respiratory diseases and nutrients: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12391710/
Ox stress and A: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30069955/
Ox stress and airways: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16500642/
ROS and A: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16357572/
Diet and A: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29161081/