How to Beat Asthma Attacks without Relying on Pharmaceuticals
If you’ve ever seen someone having an asthma attack, you know it’s not pretty.
According to asthma sufferers, an attack can be one of the scariest experiences in life. Muscles around the airways tighten up, less and less air can get in, inflammation increases, the airways become even more swollen and narrow, and it becomes harder and harder to breathe.
Asthma is an immunological problem. The immune system mistakenly identifies substances—pollens, dust, dander, foods, etc.—as being dangerous, and it overreacts, setting up a cascade of events that leads to inflammation in the lungs and a narrowing of the air passages.
The good news is, you can cool this inflammation down and reduce the effects of asthma, and today I’m going to tell you how.
Asthma and Allergies: What’s the Connection?
If that overreaction of the immune system to everyday stimuli sounds somewhat like the description of an allergy, it’s because that’s exactly what it is. Allergic asthma is a specific type of asthma that can be triggered by an allergy to your environment. Pollen or mold for example.
This kind of asthma is common: In the United States, it’s estimated that about half of asthma sufferers have allergic asthma.
Because allergies and asthma are inflammatory disorders, it makes sense that a diet high in natural anti-inflammatories (like fruits, vegetables, and omega-3’s) is a good idea for sufferers. And for asthma—and allergies—one of the best and most powerful of the natural anti-inflammatories is a substance called quercetin.
The Magic of Quercetin…
Quercetin—which was called “the most important flavonoid” by the peer-reviewed journal Nutrition in Cancer—is highly anti-inflammatory, making it very useful in calming the symptoms of asthma and allergies.
It’s found in onions, apples, berries, tea, red wine, and supplements. In one study published in 2002 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, higher quercetin intakes were associated with a lower incidence of asthma.
One of the reasons quercetin is so helpful with asthma (and with allergies) has to do with cells in the body known as mast cells. Mast cells are responsible for a lot of the crummy symptoms you have when you get an allergy attack or experience asthmatic wheezing. The mast cells, which are actually part of the immune system, carry around all sorts of granules, the most famous of which is histamine.
hat you want, whether you’re suffering from an allergy attack, asthmatic wheezing, or both.
During an attack—of allergies or asthma—the mast cells release histamine and other chemicals like cytokines and leukotrines, causing the characteristic symptoms that drive everyone—especially the sufferer—crazy.
Quercetin stabilizes the mast cells, calming them down. When you put quercetin in a test tube with mast cells, they relax. And that’s exactly w
So you can focus on eating foods that are high in anti-inflammatories like quercetin. You can also supplement to help reduce your inflammation even more. Below you will find our favorite quercetin supplement as well as several other anti-inflammatories that can help you cool off your overactive immune system.
This product combines 600 mg of quercetin with nettles, a well-known anti-inflammatory botanical that works synergistically with quercetin for added benefit.
People with asthma are subjected to increased oxidative stress, the damage done to cells by free radicals. One super antioxidant that has special importance to people with asthma is selenium. A number of studies have reported low selenium levels in people with asthma, and one study—in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine—reported that study participants with the highest intakes of selenium were only about half as likely to have asthma as those who consumed the least.
This product by Douglas Labs contains 200 mcg of selenium, a clinically meaningful dose, along with a little vitamin C and vitamin E—both powerful anti-oxidants in their own right.
Asthmatics need more vitamin C than the rest of us. Low intakes of vitamin C from food or supplementation can lead to increased risks for asthma. A review article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that “symptoms of ongoing asthma in adults appear to be increased by exposure to environmental oxidants and decreased vitamin C supplementation”
Foods high in vitamin C include peppers (green and red), kale, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, guavas, orange or grapefruit juice, kiwis, peaches, oranges, strawberries and pineapples.
One to two grams of vitamin C have been shown in studies to be the most helpful for asthmatics. Higher intakes (and blood levels) of vitamin C are related to decreased levels of histamine production. Alive Organic Vitamin C is an excellent whole foods product that will give you dose you need.
The herb boswellia is a superb anti-inflammatory, particularly when combined with anti-inflammatory curcumin. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, says of boswellia “this wonderful anti-inflammatory herbal—also called ‘frankincense’—significant reduces asthma after 6 weeks (and usually within days)”.
This terrific product uses patented forms of both boswellia (BosPure) and curcumin (BCM-95) both of which have been shown to have superior absorption.
Finally, Omega-3’s remain one of the most anti-inflammatory nutrients on the planet, and are a good idea for asthma sufferers (as well as everyone else).
Used in conjunction with a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet, these supplements may be the ticket to helping you remain allergy- and asthma-free this spring.
Wishing you health and happiness,
The Rockwell Nutrition Team