Asthma: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Support Strategies

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Asthma, Asthma: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Support Strategies

Asthma, Asthma: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Support Strategies

Asthma: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Support Strategies

Asthma is one of the most common inflammatory conditions of the lung.   It is characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, bronchial spasm and reversible airflow obstructions.  In this article, I will go over the major symptoms and root causes of asthma as well as some natural support strategies to improve immune and respiratory health.

Asthma is more of an immune imbalance than it is a lung disease (1, 2).  When the immune system gets triggered it causes an inflammatory reaction to occur within the lung epithelial tissue.  The bronchial tubes swell with fluid and mucous in order to isolate the insulting allergen.  This swelling irritates the airways even further which results in an increased level of sensitivity.

Asthma, Asthma: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Support Strategies

Environmental Allergens:

Common environmental allergens that trigger the inflammatory immune response include mold, mites, dust, dander, chemicals & pollutants.   It is critical to keep the home clean by using natural cleaning products with grape seed extract which is a potent anti-fungal that keeps mold down.  Dust and vacuum the house regularly and use high quality air filters.

The most common food allergens include processed and refined foods of all kinds.  Food additives and preservatives like sodium bisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, and sulfur dioxide have caused severe attacks in asthmatics (3, 4). Pasteurized dairy products, gluten containing grains, soy products, & peanuts are also highly inflammatory and mucous forming foods.

Asthma, Asthma: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Support Strategies

The MicroBiome and Asthma:

The gut microflora is responsible for 70% of our bodies innate immune response (5, 6, 7).  The natural makeup should help the body recognize between safe environmental particles (pollen, dust, weeds, etc) and unsafe environmental particles (bad bacteria, fungal/yeast overgrowth and viruses).

When the gut microflora is altered early in life it can create an immune malcoordiation where the immune system is oversensitive to safe environmental particles.  This may lead to seasonal allergies in some and auto-immunity and/or chronic inflammatory conditions such as asthma in others (8, 9, 10).

Asthmatics also have an altered lung microbiota.  Asthmatic patients are found to have a much higher level of proteobacteria and streptococci bacteria.  They had reduced levels of both bacteroidetes and firmicutes (1112).

Asthma, Asthma: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Support Strategies

Improve the Microbiome:

Asthmatic individuals need to really focus on improving their microbiome.  This begins by reducing intake of anti-biotics and NSAID’s.  These have a negative effect on the microbiome (13).   An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle is key for improving the microbiome and reducing inflammatory activity.

Anti-inflammatory foods help to modulate the immune system and give it a more accurate pair of eyes so as to not over-inflame when stimulated. To effectively de-inflame it is key to completely avoiding man-made foods, sugars and food allergens as listed above. The long chain omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA powerfully de-inflame the body by restoring natural balance to the lipid wall of the cell membrane (14).

Stabilizing the gut with high quality fermented foods such as red cabbage sauerkraut, kimchee, coconut water kefir, coconut milk kefir, coconut yogurt, raw milk kefir and amasai is very important.  Apple Cider vinegar is very useful for providing useful enzymes and reducing mucous formation.  Drink a glass of clean water with 1-2 Tsp of ACV throughout the day to reduce mucous and provide beneficial enzymes to help reduce inflammation.

Some individuals with asthma have a histamine intolerance and may not do well with fermented foods.  Be careful to notice if you have challenges with fermented foods and they flare up your asthma symptoms or give you hives and allergy symptoms.

Asthma, Asthma: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Support Strategies

Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition Plan:

Other great anti-inflammatory foods include coconut products, berries and bone broth protein poweder. This protein source is also loaded with L-glutamine and enhances cellular glutathione stores which are both necessary for rebuilding the gut and de-inflaming the body.  If the individual has a food sensitivity to whey they can use a high quality bone broth protein.

Red onions and garlic contain sulfur compounds and the anti-oxidant flavonoid quercetin.  These components have been shown to inhibit an inflammatory enzyme associated with asthma and other inflammatory disorders.  Anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric, ginger, boswellia, cinnamon, rosemary & oregano among others should be used as much as possible.

Good fibers called arbinogalactans from carrots, onions, radishes & jicama help to feed the gut microbiome and improve the diversity of beneficial species.  Other good fibers include those found in seeds like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds.Asthma, Asthma: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Support Strategies

Vitamin D Deficiency and Asthma:

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to increased rates of asthma.  In over 60 years of research, scientists have found vitamin D deficiency linked to lower lung functions, increased airway reactivity and worse asthmatic control (15, 16).

Vitamin D plays a strong role in modulating the inflammatory immune response by blocking pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin 10.  Asthma typically worsens in the winter and early spring when vitamin D is at its lowest.

Asthma, Asthma: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Support Strategies

5 Key Supplements for Respiratory and Immune Health:

These 5 nutrients are important for helping to improve the inflammatory response and support respiratory health.  It is important to know that these strategies are not at this time FDA approved to prevent, mitigate, treat or cure asthma and should not be confused as such.

1. Vitamin D3:  Vitamin D3 is crucial for immune coordination in the body.  Low levels of vitamin D3 are associated with chronic inflammation, asthma & allergies (17).  I recommend getting high quality sun exposure on a regular basis or supplementing with 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 with 4.5 mcg of K2 per 25 lbs of body weight daily.

2.  Probiotics:  Probiotics play an important role in the gut microbiome and immune coordination.  Studies have shown that supplemental probiotics are very effective at reducing allergy and asthma symptoms (18).

3.  Quercetin & BioFlavonoids: Quercetin, dihydroquercetin (DHQ) and rutin are active bioflavonoids that modulate an exaggerated immune response. Bioflavonoids work synergistically with other antioxidants to protect tissues from the negative effects of oxidation and inflammation often observed during hyperimmune reactions (19).  

4.  Bromelein:   Bromelain is an enzyme complex extracted from the stem and fruit of the pineapple. Its modulation of the inflammatory response is thought to exert a beneficial effect in combating hypersensitive immune reactions (20)  Studies identified its positive effects on controlling edema, tissue permeability and vasodilation (21). Bromelain is also found to enhance the absorption of quercetin (22).

5.  Stinging Nettle:  Stinging nettle leaf has been found to regulate a variety of inflammatory activities associated with hyperimmune response, including mast-cell degranulation, prostaglandin formation, and histamine action (2324)

Asthma, Asthma: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Support Strategies

Chiropractic Care and Asthma:

Physical trauma to the upper cervical spine can impact the developing immune system of an infant or child.  This form of trauma could include a slip or fall, a car accident, bad sleeping habits, or poor posture.  This leads to an upper cervical (neck) subluxation that puts pressure on the brain stem.

Upper cervical subluxations lead to malcoordinated immunity which can lead to asthmatic reactions in many individuals (25, 26, 27).  Chiropractic adjustments help to restore normal motion to the spine and optimal function to the neurological system.  This modulates the immune system and reduces inflammation throughout the body.

Asthma, Asthma: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Support Strategies

Asthma, Asthma: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Support Strategies

Respiratory Health Support Strategies:

Here is a list of action steps to take to begin the process of improving respiratory and immune health.   These strategies are not currently FDA approved to prevent, mitigate, treat or cure asthma and should not be confused as such.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is the first 10 steps to take and most people will see a significant improvement in overall respiratory health.  You should always discuss any lifestyle change with your physician and this is especially important if you are taking medications.

1.  Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition Plan:  Follow an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan here

2. Boost Your Vitamin D3 Levels: You can do this by getting more whole body sun exposure and/or using a high quality supplement.  I recommend a D3 with vitamin K2.

3. Heal Your Gut:  Restore harmony to your gut through diet and proper supplementation.

4.  Identify Food Sensitivities:  You can discover any major food sensitivities through either a lab test here or biofeedback test here and come off of these for 90 days.

5.  Practice Deep Breathing:  Take time to practice deep diaphragmatic breathing on a regular basis.

6.  Regular Exercise:  Get quality exercise on a regular basis.

7.  Sleep Well:  Prioritize sleeping and aim to get 8 hours with ideal hours being something along the lines of 10-6 or 11-7.

8.  Chiropractic Care:  Find a great chiropractor in your area for a complete spine and nervous system evaluation and follow the recommended treatment protocols.

9.   Mental Imagery:  Visualize yourself healthy and well – full of life, breathing deep and easy.  What you picture and hold to strong enough in your mind, you will begin to manifest in your life.  This is simple to do, empowering and FREE!!

10.  Specific Supplementation:  Use a high quality, immune support supplement with quercetin, vitamin C, rutin, N-Acetyl Cysteine, stinging nettle and bromlein.  After much research, I helped to formulate Allergy Defense here

Asthma, Asthma: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Support Strategies

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Ngoc PL, Gold DR, Tzianabos AO, Weiss ST, Celedón JC.Cytokines, allergy, and asthma. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 Apr;5(2):161-6. PMID: 15764907
2. Chung F. Anti-inflammatory cytokines in asthma and allergy: interleukin-10, interleukin-12, interferon-gamma. Mediators Inflamm. 2001 Apr;10(2):51-9. PMID: 11405550
3. Steinman HA, Weinberg EG. The effects of soft-drink preservatives on asthmatic children. S Afr Med J. 1986 Sep 27;70(7):404-6. PMID: 3764611
4. Gunnison AF, Jacobsen DW. Sulfite hypersensitivity. A critical review. CRC Crit Rev Toxicol. 1987;17(3):185-214. PMID: 3556020
5. Wu H-J, Wu E. The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity. Gut Microbes. 2012;3(1):4-14.
6. O’Hara AM, Shanahan F. The gut flora as a forgotten organ. EMBO Reports. 2006;7(7):688-693.
7. Purchiaroni F, Tortora A, Gabrielli M, Bertucci F, Gigante G, Ianiro G, Ojetti V, Scarpellini E, Gasbarrini A. The role of intestinal microbiota and the immune system. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Feb;17(3):323-33. PMID: 23426535
8. Kramer MF, Heath MD. Probiotics in the treatment of chronic rhinoconjunctivitis and chronic rhinosinusitis. J Allergy (Cairo). 2014;2014:983635. PMID: 24872820
9. Matsuzaki T, Takagi A, Ikemura H, Matsuguchi T, Yokokura T. J Intestinal microflora: probiotics and autoimmunity. Nutr. 2007 Mar;137(3 Suppl 2):798S-802S. PMID: 17311978
10. Potera C. Asthma: A Gut Reaction to Antibiotics. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2005;113(6):A372.
11. Benjamin J. Marsland & Eva S. Gollwitzer. Host–microorganism interactions in lung diseases. Nature Reviews Immunology 14, 827–835.
12. Gerritsen J, Smidt H, Rijkers GT, de Vos WM. Intestinal microbiota in human health and disease: the impact of probiotics. Genes & Nutrition. 2011;6(3):209-240.
13. Ananthakrishnan AN, Higuchi LM, Huang ES, et al. Aspirin, Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug Use, and Risk for Crohn Disease Ulcerative Colitis: A Cohort Study. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2012;156(5):350-359.
14. Mickleborough TD, Ionescu AA, Rundell KW. Omega-3 Fatty acids and airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma. J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Dec;10(6):1067-75. PMID: 15674003
15. Rajabbik MH, Lotfi T, Alkhaled L, Fares M, El-Hajj Fuleihan G, Mroueh S, Akl EA. Association between low vitamin D levels and the diagnosis of asthma in children: a systematic review of cohort studies. Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2014 Jun 11;10(1):31. PMID: 24955097
16. Somashekar AR, Prithvi AB, Gowda MN. Vitamin d levels in children with bronchial asthma. J Clin Diagn Res. 2014 Oct;8(10):PC04-7. PMID: 25478419
17. Searing DA, Leung DY. Vitamin D in Atopic Dermatitis, Asthma and Allergic Diseases. Immunology and allergy clinics of North America. 2010;30(3):397-409.
18. Vliagoftis H, Kouranos VD, Betsi GI, Falagas ME. Probiotics for the treatment of allergic rhinitis and asthma: systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008 Dec;101(6):570-9. PMID: 19119700
19. Chirumbolo S. The role of quercetin, flavonols and flavones in modulating inflammatory cell function. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2010 Sep;9(4):263-85. PMID: 20887269
20. Maurer HR. Bromelain: biochemistry, pharmacology and medical use. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2001 Aug;58(9):1234-45. PMID: 11577981
21. Khosropanah H, Bazargani A, Ebrahimi H, Eftekhar K, Emami Z, Esmailzadeh S. Assessing the Effect of Pineapple Extract Alone and in Combination With Vancomycin on Streptococcus sanguis. Jundishapur Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products. 2012;7(4):140-143.
22. AksPublication – Quercetin: A Versatile Flavonoid Link Here
23. Roschek B Jr, Fink RC, McMichael M, Alberte RS. Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis. Phytother Res. 2009 Jul;23(7):920-6. PMID: 19140159
24. Plant extracts from stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), an antirheumatic remedy, inhibit the proinflammatory transcription factor NF-kappaB. FEBS Lett. 1999 Jan 8;442(1):89-94. PMID: 9923611
25. Models of Vertebral Sublixation: A Review. Link Here
26. Sternberg EM, Chrousos GP, Wilder RL, Gold PW. The stress response and the regulation of inflammatory disease. Ann Intern Med. 1992 Nov 15;117(10):854-66. PMID: 1416562
27. Nielsen NH, Bronfort G, Bendix T, Madsen F, Weeke B. Chronic asthma and chiropractic spinal manipulation: a randomized clinical trial. Clin Exp Allergy. 1995 Jan;25(1):80-8. PMID: 7728627

Asthma, Asthma: Symptoms, Causes and Natural Support Strategies

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  1. Typically, lol, how long til improvement such as eczema etc, is seen following these measures? Will allergies heal or would these same recommendations for diet be necessary for maintenance? Can you get enough omega 3’s through food, which ones, or is supplimentation needed?

  2. BJ, these are impossible questions to answer without understanding a health history and knowing what health challenges are present. However, the nutrition plan should be followed as closely as possible for life to avoid food sensitivities and environmental toxins.

    Yes, you can get a lot of omega 3’s from wild caught fish, sea vegetable, grass-fed beef and flax/chia seeds. But you need to stay away from omega-6 fats from refined oils, nuts and commercial meats as well.

  3. I have COPD and am looking for information to improve my abilities and have limited funds to work with. Can you recommend any place that may be helpful in healing and gaining some more abilities.

    Thank you for this article and look forward to your answer.

    1. Hey Andrew, so sorry to hear about your health issues. There is tons of free information, recipes, shopping plans, etc on this site that you can take advantage of as well as low-cost, high quality supplements. Wishing you all the best! Blessings!

  4. I am surprised there is no mention of MSM supplementation in this article. After reading Dr. Jockers’ “The Health Benefits of MSM”, I started supplementing 2 grams MSM, 2-3 times daily. For the first time in 15 years, I have survived February-March pollen season in Phoenix, AZ with absolutely zero asthma/allergy symptoms. In the past I have had to rely on Albuterol, Benadryl, Sudafed, Mucinex, and various prescription nasal sprays just to get through the season. I have seen references claiming 60-70% of asthmatics are completely relieved of symptoms through MSM supplementation. It definitely seems to be a life changer for me.

  5. Poor Micah is18 months old..he gurgles all night to the point of vomiting..he coughs constantly but cannot seem to get it up until he vomits..
    his breathing sounds horrbile at night.A friend suggested I get some L Glutamine and Bromelaine , which I did..but I don’t know what dose to give him..The doctor says it is upper respiratory and nothing an antibiotic will help with. His nose runs all the time
    I have been sick for 4 days myself and wonder is Micah contagious.I am keeping 5 other kids here for DSS

  6. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply…A Chiropractor for congestion and runny nose?..could you tell me the thought proccess behind that?

    Micah saw 3 doctors this week Pediatrician, ENT, Allergist, in that order..he got 40 pricks 🙁 daily… Claritin, Qvar , Nasonex, Nasal saline at night) rescue..for cough Pro Air…(man that stuff works nicely and quick) albuterol nebulizer …also as needed

    allergies to dust mites, mold, pollen, Timothy Grass -which we have a yard full of..:(…

    no significant change yet..but back in 6 weeks and if no better ..beck to ENT to research deeper nasal activity

    1. Hey Joyce, chiropractic adjustments have been shown to improve these symptoms. Additionally, you may be able to find one who is qualified in natural medicine who can give you some ways to improve your son’s immune defenses against these things so he is not as reactive. I hope this is helpful!


  7. Dr Jockers, got issues with asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, HP, High Cholesterol levels and bad allergies. Been on medication since 2012, no feeling OK. Please help I live in Zambia, Chingola CopperBelt.

    What can I use and to get the remedies. Please help me…..

  8. Hi Dr. J.
    Although my doctor has a hard time believing me, I believe that I contracted Asthma at the age of 42 from using snorkeling equipment that wasn’t cleaned before it was given to me. The mouth piece was full of thick mucus when I put in in my mouth. That same night I developed a bad bronchiole cough that lasted for weeks, and mild asthma started after that. It is now 10 years later and I still use asthma medication daily to control the symptoms. Is there anything that I can do to cure myself.

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