Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways characterized by wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, airway hyper-responsiveness, and coughing, particularly at night or after exercise. Asthma can seriously impact the daily routines of the estimated 300 million individuals worldwide that suffer from it. It is important for people with asthma to recognize their triggers and avoid them. The same factors that provoke allergies can also trigger childhood asthma. These triggers include items such as dust, pet dander, indoor and outdoor mold, air pollutants, smoke, and other toxic chemicals. Changes in weather, especially temperature, can also trigger an asthma attack. Supplements can be a great way to decrease inflammation, relax the airways, and improve the body overall.
- Magnesium – is a known anti-inflammatory that also promotes the relaxation of muscles. This is especially pertinent when it comes to the treatment of asthma because magnesium can relax the bronchial smooth muscle. It is well known that magnesium administered intravenously during an acute attack is an effective treatment. There has been little research done on magnesium taken orally, but one study found that it improved symptom scores as well as reduced bronchodilator use.
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) – promotes relaxation of the tracheal smooth muscle, which means it may also have a bronchodilating effect. Theophylline, one of the many medications used in the treatment of allergies, works by inhibiting phosphodiesterase. Vitamin C was also found to have a very similar effect in vitro. It is well documented that vitamin C has an ability to reduce histamine released in the body. Studies have shown that there is a correlation between low levels of vitamin C and increased levels of histamine in the blood. Vitamin C was also found to have a protective effect against exercised-induced asthma attacks. There is a lot of research that shows vitamin C is a beneficial nutrient in the treatment of asthma.
- Vitamin D– One study showed that reduced levels of vitamin D in the body are associated with impaired lung function, increased airway hyper-responsiveness, and reduced response to glucocorticoid medications. In other words, patients who have adequate levels of vitamin D will respond better to asthma treatments and may even have less severe symptoms.
- Fish Oils– Research has demonstrated that a diet supplemented with fish oil ameliorates the severity of exercise-induced airway narrowing in subjects with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma. The study also showed that fish oil reduces airway inflammation in asthmatic subjects with exercised-induced bronchoconstriction. Fish Oils have long been known to have an anti-inflammatory effect and this study only further proved that.
- Selenium– is an essential mineral found in the body that works as an antioxidant preventing against oxidative stress. One of the many theories behind what causes asthma is an increased oxidative stress load in the body. Research showed that selenium levels are depleted in patients with asthma vs. patients without it. It also showed that taking selenium daily was able to reduce medication requirements and have non-significant improvement in pulmonary function in steroid dependent adult asthmatics.