Every year, at least 26 million American adults and children are affected by asthma. Asthma attacks are also the reason for a whopping 2 million visits to the emergency room each year.
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways, scientifically called the bronchi of the lungs. When people with asthma are exposed to certain substances, commonly dust mites, pollen and pet dander, the airways are irritated. As a result, they become tight and narrow and there is an increase in mucous or phlegm.
Asthma symptoms range from mild; difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing and tightness of the neck and chest, to severe; blue lips and fingernails, the inability to speak, and feelings of panic and anxiety.
Common treatments for asthma include antihistamines for allergic reactions, inhalers and oral steroids. However, these treatments can cause side effects. Furthermore, they don’t effectively deal with the inflammation of the airways that occurs during an asthma attack.
Because of their safety, some people have chosen natural vitamin and supplements to treat mild to moderate asthma symptoms. But what really works?
As you’ll read below, there are a number of supplement that can help prevent asthma symptoms. However, when searching for natural treatments for asthma, it critical to find the right supplements. You’ll also want to ensure the products you buy are of the highest quality, preferably professional grade. Read on and we’ll help you navigate through the options.
Caffeine as a bronchodilator
Doctors since the nineteenth century have been using caffeine to treat patients with asthma. Caffeine helps because it has a bronchi-dilating effect and shares a structure similar to mainstream asthma medication.
When the right amount of caffeine is taken, it can widen and relax the airways, allowing the free flow of air into the lungs.
Several studies have shown that people with asthma who are regular coffee drinkers exhibit one-third fewer symptoms than non-coffee drinkers.
In a meta-analysis of clinical trials, researchers found out that caffeine can improve lung function for up to four hours, impacting the results of lung function tests. Therefore, if your doctors asks you to take a lung function test, it’s recommended that you don’t drink coffee for at least four hours before the test.
Fish oil reduces inflammation
A healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is important in preventing and managing inflammation.
In a randomized, double-blind study of athletes with exercise-induced asthma, researchers discovered that supplementation with fish oil improved lung function of the athletes by as much as 64%. Asthmatic athletes reported a 31% decrease in the use of inhalers after supplementing with fish oil.
A quality fish oil supplement should be purified at the molecular level and all metals and contaminants should be removed.
To assist with asthma, a good fish oil should contain at least 3.2 g of eicosapentaenoic acid and 2 g of docohexanoic acid. Both the omega 3-6-9 liquid offered here and the Quell fish oil offered on our site exceed these standards.
Magnesium and asthma
Lately magnesium has been touted as a miracle supplement that can cure a variety of health problems ranging from heart rhythm issues to high blood pressure. It has also been said that magnesium is a powerful natural treatment for asthma.
One study published in the journal Asthma showed the positive effects of magnesium supplementation on mild to moderate asthma. The researchers found out that patients who took magnesium citrate, the more powerful form of magnesium, saw an improvement in lung function and asthma control as well as an increase in the quality of life.
Magnesium helps relax smooth muscle fibers, the same muscle fibers found in the walls of your bronchi. This mineral also reduces inflammation by stabilizing the mast cells and T-lymphocytes.
Another study found that laboratory animals that had low levels of magnesium had high levels of histamine. Histamine is a chemical substance that produces the allergic symptoms in individuals who are exposed to irritants. People who have high histamine levels are more likely to have allergic reactions, which can be the trigger for an asthma attack.
The presence of magnesium in the subjects’ bloodstream significantly reduced histamine and and reduced inflammation of the bronchi.
Vitamin D is a common treatment for conditions involving the bones. What most people aren’t aware of is that vitamin d is one of the most powerful vitamins for asthma and other inflammatory conditions.
Studies have shown that a Vitamin D deficiency is found in people who have weak asthma control and lung function. Subsequently, supplementing with Vitamin D greatly improved asthma control.
Vitamin D is more of a hormone than a vitamin. It works by blocking the production of interleukin-17A, a protein secreted by the immune system’s white blood cells that can increase inflammation, cause asthma attacks and decrease a patient’s responsiveness to medication.
At the same time, Vitamin D triggers the production of interleukin-10, another protein released by the immune system. Interleukin-10 helps fight inflammation and control the symptoms of asthma.
Pycnogenol is the standardized extract of the bark of the French maritime pine tree. It is also found in witch hazel bark, grape seed and peanut skin.
Pycnogenol is a mixture of bioflavonoids, which are antioxidants responsible for providing color in fruits and vegetables that contain them. The bioflavonoids in Pycnogenol consist of oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), catechins, epicatechins and phenolic fruit acids such as ferulic and caffeic acids.
These antioxidants protect the cells in the lungs and bronchial pathways by scavenging for free radicals that cause damage.
Pycnogenol is also known to inhibit 5-lipoxygenase, an enzyme that triggers the production and expression of inflammatory molecules called leukotrienes.
Studies have shown that patients who supplement with Pycnogenol were able to reduce their need for inhalers and asthma medication.
If you need help controlling your asthma one or more of these natural treatments could help.
For information on the supplements and products discussed in this article please visit our product pages. Or for more information on health conditions, return to our Home page.
*This article is provided for your information only and should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this website; instead, readers should consult their physician or health professional on any matter relating to their health and well-being.