How Zinc Deficiency Affects The Body
Zinc helps with a number of different processes in the body. It is considered an antioxidant that helps repair the effects of oxidative damage. It is also involved in growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence.
Zinc plays a beneficial role in the immune system and in wound healing. But zinc has an interesting role in the immune system, and a deficiency can cause the immune system to be underactive or overactive.
The relationship between zinc and asthma is believed to occur because low levels of zinc are associated with increased production of mast cells, basophils, and B-cells, cells that are part of the immune systems role in asthma exacerbations.
Best Foods For Preventing And Alleviating Asthma Symptoms
This section of HealWithFood.org’s Guide to Fighting Asthma presents 19 super foods with nutrient profiles that are particularly well suited for preventing and alleviating symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness in asthma sufferers. So continue reading to learn how foods like bananas, rosemary or flaxseed could help ease your asthma!
If you are interested in more general diet tips that can help prevent and keep asthma under control, check out the 10 Diet Tips to Keep Asthma Symptoms Away. For healthy recipes that combine some of the top anti-asthma foods, visit this Guide’s recipe directory.
Herbs & Supplements For Kids With Asthma
Supplements and herbs are growing in popularity with parents of asthmatic kids as a way of treating some of the underlying problems and reducing the chance of attacks. Today, 89% of children with asthma receive some sort of complementary or alternative therapy. Youre interested in exploring the possibility of alternative medicine to treat your childs asthma, but you have no clue where to start. Heres a rundown on some of the most common supplements and herbs used for this respiratory disorder:
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May Hurt: Liquid Nitrogen
Some people call it “nitro puff,” but there are other names. You might notice a stream of smoky coldness that spirals from a fancy cocktail, a new frozen dessert at the mall, or other foods. It may look like fun, but it’s best to avoid it. It could cause breathing problems, especially if you have asthma, as well as serious injury to skin and even internal organs.
Asthma and Your Diet: Foods That Help and Hurt
- American Lung Association: “Asthma and Nutrition: How Food Affects Your Lungs.”
- Asthma UK: “Food.”
Risks Of Herbal Treatments
Keep in mind that all of these herbs require more scientific research to prove their effectiveness.
Using herbs for asthma can carry risks. Always follow your asthma treatment plan and discuss any changes to the plan with your doctor.
Remember the following before you begin taking any herbal supplements:
- No herbal treatment has strong evidence supporting its efficacy in improving asthma symptoms or lung function. Also, a study showing efficacy in animals doesnt necessarily mean that it will work for humans.
- Some herbs may interfere with traditional asthma medications and cause complications or ineffectiveness.
- Herbal supplements arent regulated by the FDA. This means theyre not reviewed by any governing body, or packaged with recommended doses. Supplements may be of poor quality or contaminated with other substances.
- Herbs can cause allergic reactions, and children may react differently to them. Dont give herbs to children without talking to a doctor. Also, use caution if youre pregnant or breastfeeding.
You may already have this bright yellow spice in your pantry for cooking flavorful curries and other dishes. Turmeric gets its color from curcumin. This natural coloring agent can also reduce inflammation.
Turmeric may help with arthritis and even cancer. In relation to asthma, one study followed 77 participants with mild to moderate asthma who took curcumin capsules for 30 days.
Ginseng and garlic are common herbs and available in a variety of supplement forms.
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Botanicals Herbs And Supplements
ASHMI, a combination of three herbal extracts ), is used in China for antiasthma intervention , and in oriental cultures and Vietnam, the seaweed is used .
Gamma linolenic acid as a dietary fatty acid without any side effects can modulate the endogenous inflammatory mediators .
Ephedra has bronchodilator effects, but it has some side effects such as significantly increasing blood pressure and heart rate, arrhythmias, and problems with blood glucose. This has been removed from the market by the Food and Drug Administration , but some forms are available.
Licorice, stinging nettle, gingko, and anise have not shown efficacy, and side effects of these should be evaluated .
Boswellia serrata extract has anti-inflammatory effects due to the triterpene compounds . The mechanism of anti-inflammatory properties of boswellic acids is inhibition of proteases , lipoxygenases , and NF-kB .
Dietary Supplements That May Help Your Asthma
From omega-3s to caffeine, weve rounded up the nutrients, herbs, and supplements that may reduce inflammation, a key part of asthma management.
If youre wondering whether certain dietary supplements can help improve asthma symptoms, there are a few things you should know.
For starters, there is very little scientific evidence that they work, says Maureen George, PhD, RN, a medical adviser of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and a certified asthma educator whose research specialties include alternative and complementary medicine.
And even though small studies have shown some clinical benefits of vitamins and minerals on asthma management, says Clifford Bassett, MD, founder and medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York and a clinical assistant professor in the department of medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center, the evidence is limited and, in some cases, even contradictory.
At the same time, George adds, certain vitamins, herbs, and minerals appear to be safe and even helpful for some people with asthma. I allow patients to use what theyd like as long as they take it along with their prescribed medications, she says.
Here are eight dietary supplements that may help alleviate asthma symptoms and what research and experts say about making them part of your asthma management plan:
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Histamine And Serotonin Storehouses
When the body comes in contact with allergens, white blood cells begin to produce allergic antibodies known as IgE. The IgE antibodies travel throughout the body until they combine with mast cells or basophils. Mast cells and basophils are types of cells which store histamine and serotonin.
As the IgE cells come in contact with the mast cells and basophils, they begin to release histamine and serotonin. A release of histamine and serotonin into the bloodstream is what causes allergic symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes and of course wheezing, a sensation those with asthma are all too familiar with.
This is where quercetin comes into play. Quercetin is attracted to mast cells and basophils. It tends to stabilize their cell membranes, preventing them from spilling their allergy causing histamine and serotonin into the bloodstream.
Asthma Rates And Vitamin Deficiencies
The hypothesis is based in large part on higher rates of asthma in Western countries where diets rich in refined sugar, fats, and processed foods have led to widespread deficiencies of certain vitamins, including vitamin D and B complex vitamins.
By comparison, the rate of asthma in non-industrialized parts of the world that rely on real foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is generally lower. Although nutritional deficiencies are common in developing countries, those deficiencies are driven more by malnutrition than by the dietary habits of the population.
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Asthma Treatment That Works
People with severe asthma have low blood concentrations of ascorbate , particularly men and children .
Effective asthma treatment is readily available with cheap, safe and convenient vitamin C. The only requirement is to take enough vitamin C to be effective. Typical dietary quantities and low supplemental doses do not work. Robert F. Cathcart III, M.D., who has treated many asthma sufferers, says Asthma is most often relieved by bowel tolerance doses of ascorbate . A child regularly having asthmatic attacks following exercise is usually relieved of these attacks by large doses of ascorbate. So far all of my patients having asthmatic attacks associated with the onset of viral diseases have been ameliorated by this treatment.
If you want asthma relief, consider trying this:
Go to a discount store and buy a large bottle of 1,000 mg vitamin C tablets. The cost should be less than $15.
Beginning when you awake in the morning, take 1,000 to 2,000 mg of vitamin C every 30 minutes and continue doing so until you have a single episode of loose stool . If you havent had loose stool after 15 hours on this dosage, increase the vitamin C to 3000 mg every 30 minutes.
People with asthma should also avoid tobacco smoke, minimize stress in their lives and minimize their consumption of junk foods, meat and dairy products.
Remember: Vitamin C replaces antibiotics, antihistamines, antipyretics, antitoxics, and antiviral drugs at saturation levels. It reduces inflammation.
What Are Emerging Therapies For Asthma
- Suplatast tosilate, a Th2 cytokine inhibitor that eases inflammation
- Omalizumab , a monoclonal antibody that inhibits a key mediator of IgE
- Other monoclonal antibodies that modulate inflammatory response
- Pitrakinra , a blocker of interleukin-4-mediated inflammation
- Bronchial thermoplasty, a process in which radio-frequency energy destroys tissue in the airway to prevent constriction
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Do You Need A Supplement
Mild zinc deficiency is relatively common. If you cannot get an adequate amount of zinc from your diet or if you have a medical condition, you may need to take a zinc supplement. Some reasons that you may be at risk for low levels of zinc in your body could be the result of:
- Restricted diet: vegetarians may need up to 50 percent morethan the RDA for zinc due to low bioavailability of zinc from plant-basedfoods.
- Medical or digestive disorders that inhibit the absorptionof nutrients, such as Crohns, colitis, chronic diarrhea or IBS
- Chronic liver disease or sickle cell anemia
- Alcohol abuse
What Should I Eat To Prevent Asthma
Given the murky evidence for a link between asthma and nutrition, there is no particular asthma diet. But it’s a good idea to adhere to a healthy diet, anyway.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. We still donât know which fruits and vegetables might have an effect on asthma, so the best advice is to increase your intake of a wide variety of them.
- Eat foods with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids — found in fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines and some plant sources, like flaxseed — are believed to have a number of health benefits. Although the evidence that they help with asthma is not clear, itâs still a good idea to include them in your diet.
- Avoid trans fats and omega-6 fatty acids. Thereâs some evidence that eating omega-6 fats and trans fats, found in some margarines and processed foods, may worsen asthma, and other serious health conditions such as heart disease.
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Lifestyle Management For Asthma
Asthma needs to be managed even when symptoms are not present. According to the 2007 guidelines issued by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute , people with asthma should educate themselves and have a clear action plan for the management of their asthma symptoms.
To effectively control and manage asthma in the long-term, patients must be able to self-monitor their symptoms and recognize the warning sign of an attack. They must also be able to respond quickly through timely use of medication and/or other intervention. In addition, the patient must recognize and minimize contact with the specific asthma trigger as well as manage other medical/health conditions that can exacerbate symptoms.
How Is Asthma Diagnosed And Treated
Your doctor can diagnose asthma during a physical exam. They may order certain tests to verify their findings. These tests may include spirometry or bronchoprovocation.
If you doctor diagnoses you with asthma, theyll probably prescribe two kinds of medication. They can prescribe controller medications for long-term control and prevention of asthma attacks. They can prescribe rescue medications for short-term relief during acute asthma attacks.
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Cod Liver Oil Use And Multivitamin Supplements At Baseline
Total months of daily use of cod liver oil and multivitamin supplements during the past 12months prior to HUNT2 were sought in questionnaires. We defined daily intake of either cod liver oil or multivitamin supplements for 3months as regular intake. There were 16952 subjects with complete data on use of cod liver oil and multivitamin supplements at baseline, and 6614 with missing information on exposure to either cod liver oil, multivitamin supplements or both. The regular intake of supplements was categorised as 1) use of cod liver oil only, 2) use of multivitamin supplements only and 3) use of both. Nonusers or those with a daily intake of cod liver oil or multivitamin supplements for < 3months served as the reference group.
Home Remedies For Asthma
1. Best Foods for Treating Asthma
Eating a healthy diet supplies asthma sufferers with antioxidants and nutrients to combat environmental toxins, control inflammatory responses and reduce dietary triggers. Eating a wide variety of foods can ensure that you or your child gets all the nutrients needed to support strong immunity. There have been numerous studies that show consuming the right foods can be the one of the best home remedies for asthma.
Some of the most beneficial foods to include in your asthma diet plan are:
- Brightly colored carotenoid foods: This compound gives fruit and vegetables their orange or red color and can help reduce asthma attacks. Carotenoids are the basis of vitamin A, which is involved in the maintenance of healthy mucous membranes that line the air passageways. Severity of asthma correlates with low vitamin A, so increase your intake of things like root veggies, sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy greens and berries. A study of 68,000 women showed that those who ate more tomatoes, carrots and leafy greens had much lower rates of asthma and that people prone to asthma tended to have low levels of circulating carotenoids in their blood.
- Foods with folate : Folate reduces allergic reactions and inflammation. It might be capable of lowering wheezing by regulating inflammatory processes as well. High-folate foods include green leafy vegetables, beans and nuts.
2. Avoid Foods that Can Make Asthma Attacks Worse
3. Supplements for Asthma
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Stay Hydrated With Water
Water isnt a vitamin or supplement, but it is a very important tool to use in prevention and treatment of asthma attacks.
In everyday life its healthy to drink plenty of water all of your systems work better when hydrated.
As you know, one of the primary symptoms of asthma is thick mucus that clogs your lungs. Water will break down that mucus, which makes it thinner and easier to breathe through.
During an asthma attack, that thick mucus will also clog your bronchioles the tiny branches at the end of your airways.
The mucus goes down the passageways to tiny air sacs called alveoli, which are the site of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange in the respiratory system.
If you are dehydrated, the mucus will thicken even more and dry into hard plugs that will continue to block oxygen until you can clear them out.
Water helps thin mucus and soften the hardened plugs so they are easier to cough out.
You may also lose water through sweating from the exertion of rapid breathing during a severe prolonged asthma attack.
Higher body temperature, and the increased rate of respiration also contribute to dehydration.
I was astonished to find, during one Emergency Room visit, that I was not allowed to have water.
Medical Treatment For Inflammation
Inflammation is usually the first sign of an autoimmune disease, and is also a major symptom of asthma.
In both cases, some form of corticosteroids are the most prescribed drug for inflammation control.
About Steroid Treatments
Most people with persistent asthma or auto-immune disease are prescribed long-term corticosteroid control medications to be taken daily for prevention, even when they dont have symptoms.
Because preventive corticosteroids are used over the long term, side effects can be a concern.
As it turned out, Im sensitive to even the relatively small doses of steroids in inhalers, so I opted not to take them as a preventive medicine.
At that time, there were no other medical options for long-term treatment of asthmatic inflammation.
That meant I needed to find some means other than steroids to control or reduce my lung inflammation, which is why I turned to vitamins and supplements.
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Recipes With Foods High In Zinc
To be sure that you consume enough zinc to avoid a deficiency and experience these benefits, eat two to three servings of foods with zinc every day. Here are some easy and healthy recipes that will help to boost your zinc intake:
- Steak Fajitas Recipe: These steak fajitas are made with grass-fed beef, plus spices like cumin and paprika, which help fight inflammation and oxidative stress.
- Baked Italian Chicken Recipe: This recipe calls for three zinc foods: organic chicken, mushrooms and spinach.
- Socca Recipe: This paleo pizza is made with chickpea flour, so its a good source of zinc and completely gluten-free. This is a great option for people who follow a vegetarian diet.
- Spinach Artichoke Dip: Use kefir and spinach, two foods that are high in zinc, to make this healthy version of a spinach artichoke dip.
The Best Vitamins Minerals And Supplements For Asthma
A balanced diet is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and this is especially true in people with asthma. While no single vitamin, mineral or supplement can treat or cure asthma, research shows that adequate nutrition may relate to the number of asthma attacks and frequency of symptoms experienced. More specifically, ensuring adequate levels of the vitamins C, D, E and the mineral magnesium may be especially important, since links between low levels of these vitamins and asthma symptoms have been reported.
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