Did you know that over 3 millions Canadians currently have a diagnosis of asthma? Prevalence rates are increasing by 50% worldwide, meaning more awareness needs to be raised on how we can prevent asthma attacks. Conventional treatment for asthma usually involves an inhaler. Inhalers can save your life during an attack, but natural asthma treatment is also a great option for preventing future attacks and providing a long-term solution. Early treatment of asthma, especially in children may prevent long-term lung damage and prevent worsening of the condition over time.
Asthma attacks happen when the body inappropriately responds to something in the environment that is not considered "harmful". This creates activation of immune cells leading to inflammation in the lungs. The airways in your lungs become blocked through inflammation, muscle constriction and excessive mucus production, which is what creates the wheezing. Asthma typically begins early in childhood as a result of genetics, second-hand smoke, exposure to environmental moulds, food allergies and/ or pollutants.
- Air Pollutants (smog, tobacco, smoke)
- Airborne allergens (pollen, animal dander, moulds, dust mites, fungi)
- Certain medications (NSAID’s, aspirin)
- Respiratory infections
- Cold air
- Emotional stress
- Reflux disorder
- Early introduction of formula
- Nutritional deficiencies (Vitamin E, Magnesium, Potassium, Vitamin C & Fatty Acids)
- Specific foods or additives (sulfites in food preservatives, Hen’s eggs, cows milk, soy, wheat, nuts, peanuts, fish, MSG, shellfish)
- Leaky Gut
- Identify and remove all allergic triggers
- Change pillowcases, carpet removal and frequent cleaning
- Remove pet dander by brushing more often
- Home assessment for mould
- Smoking cessation
- Dietary triggers --> Dairy, eggs, sulphites, citrus, soy, additives/preservatives
- Decrease Inflammation in the lungs
- Immune Regulation
- Immune regulation is a key factor in allergic asthma. Strengthening the immune system can help decrease reactions to allergens/triggers. As well, viral infections are known to worsen asthma symptoms so immune enhancement can help prevent this. Some great immune modulators include Echinacea, Astragalus, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin D (known to improve lung function as well) & Zinc.
- Enhance dilation in the airways
- Magnesium works as a bronchodilator by helping surrounding muscles to open up, allowing more air to pass through.
- Correct Digestive Imbalances
- Asthma is linked to increased digestive permeability, reflux and dysbiosis. Probiotics can help to culture good bacteria in the gut, which helps to better digest food, leading to a better connection with the immune system. Healing the digestive lining with botanicals and nutrients can also help with leaky gut.
- Dietary Changes
- A diet high in sodium and fast foods may be linked with more severe asthma. Antioxidant-rich diets that contain high amounts of fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids were shown to reduce asthma risk in children.
- Lifestyle Changes
- Lots of children have allergies to pollen dust & pet dander which can make asthma attacks more severe with frequent exposure. So what can do you?
- Wash linens in hot water
- Use an air purifier
- Place pillows in the dryer to get rid of dust mites
- Vacuuming with a HEPA filter can help to get rid of the small particles
If you suffer from asthma and are interested in seeking alternative long-term care, speak to your Naturopathic Doctor to learn more if the above solutions are right for you!
The advice in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the care of a Naturopathic physician.