Asthma and Nutrition

Nutrition plays a large role in chronic asthma treatment, let me give you some info on individual nutrients that are involved.

Vitamin C- This is important because we know that oxygen radical are involved in the pathophysiology of asthma, and vitamin C is an antioxidant. Vitamin C can also have an antihistamine effect, but it can take 1000 mg a day to do so. (If this is an issue, dont worry, there are antioxidant effects described from other sources below). Vitamin C can raise the FEV1 (forced expiratory volume, a breathing test) in asthmatics.

Niacinamide- this vitamin can inhibit damage to cells in the respiratory passages, and lowers histamine release. Higher serum niacin levels have less amounts of wheezing.

B6- the active form of B6 in the body is pyridoxal 5-phosphate (PLP). Asthmatics have lower amounts of this vitamin compared to non asthmatics. 50 mg of pyridoxine, 2 times a day, resulted in less asthma flare ups and less wheezing. It is also important to know that use of the theophylline bronchodilator lowers levels of the active form of B6 (PLP), due to depletion due to theophylline metabolism.

B12- Some asthmatics claim that they are “tired all the time”. Asthma tends to deplete B12, and the ones with fatigue may need to be checked and treated with B12. Use of a proton pump inhibitor increases B12 deficiency as well.

Vitamin D- Important in immune function and could have a role in development in asthma, per Spectracell laboratories.

Magnesium- Low Mg levels are common in asthma, and lowest in severe cases. A large study in England with 2.633 people showed that higher intakes of Mg were associated with higher FEV1 breathing scores.

Zinc- Asthmatics have lower plasma zinc levels. Zinc deficiency hinders the immune system. (Switches Th1 response to Th2 response). Zinc deficiency also lowers NK Cell activity. (immune blood cells).

Selenium- We need selenium to make glutathione peroxidase, which protects against oxidative damage. Asthmatics tend to have lower selenium levels, higher oxidative activity (from free radicals), and less activity from glutathione peroxidase (a protector against free radicals).

NAC- N-Acetyl cysteine. A precursor to glutathione. An antioxidant, but also a compound that reduces mucous. One of the more important supplements in the battle against asthma.

CoQ10- Decreases histamine release from lungs.

Tryptophan- This amino acid converts to serotonin, which leads to broncho-constriction. A low tryptophan diet can help some asthmatics.

Probiotics- Lactobacillus rhamnosus gg and lactobacillus F19 may reduce allergic sensitization.

Quercetin- Helps with histamine reaction and reduces hyperreactivity of airways.

Omega 3 fatty acids- decrease internal inflammation overall.

Also, asthmatic people should avoid food allergens, stay hydrated, and limit sodium intake.

If you know someone who struggles with asthma, share with them and let them know that nutrient testing at Tampa Bay Acu Health and Spine can find deficiencies that contribute to asthma.