Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways that is chronic and varying in severity. It is characterised by difficulty breathing including wheezing and shortness of breath as well as acute exacerbations known as ‘asthma attacks’.
Allergies & Asthma
There is a direct link to allergens for some sufferers of asthma and common triggers are house dust mites, feathers, cockroaches, animal dander, exercise, pollens, smoke, cold air and sulphites. However, it may also present in people without any defined allergies.
Due to the high incidence of allergic triggers for asthma it is advised to identify and avoid any possible allergens including food allergens to effectively manage asthma. Following a diet high in antioxidants particular vitamin C and vitamin E is beneficial. Antioxidants are found in high amounts in fruits and vegetables but other sources include nuts, seeds and wholegrains. Vitamin C is found in berries, citrus fruits and leafy greens. Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds and plant oils. Primary exclusions from the diet are trans-fats, processed foods, foods high in sugar, preservatives and food colourings.
Important aims of managing asthma are reducing inflammation, increasing immune function and reducing airway hypersensitivity.
There are several key nutrients that can help with the condition of asthma. These nutrients include vitamin C, magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
- Vitamin C is a powerful support for immune function and reduces free radical damage and inflammation. Stress, smoking, pollution and alcohol consumption increase the need for vitamin C. An increase in bronchial reactivity is associated with a low intake of vitamin C.
- Magnesium relaxes bronchial airways and therefore reduces symptoms of asthma as well as associated symptoms such as anxiety, emotional stress and pain.
- Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and have been shown to reduce symptoms of asthma.
- Vitamin D supports immune function and recent research shows it is beneficial in reducing the severity of asthma.
Stress management through meditation, yoga, tai chi, massage, exercise and breathing exercises is also helpful as stress is a major factor in exacerbations of the condition. In particular Buteyko breathing has been shown to be beneficial in reducing asthma symptoms.
Katherine McGuigan – Naturopath
Have you struggled to progress on your healing journey? Need a helping hand to travel the first few steps? Katherine believes in the innate power of the body to heal and sees the role of naturopathy as the flame to ignite the start of the healing process. Motivated by her own health issues, Katherine decided on a more fulfilling career change that helps others find better health too. Katherine is a degree trained naturopath and a member of ATMS.