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Asthma: Supplements and vitamins that may help

MagazineJune 2007 (Vol. 18 Issue 3)Asthma: Supplements and vitamins that may help

Selenium - Visit our shop for this product

Selenium - Visit our shop for this product

Scientific evidence suggests that asthma is linked to reduced circulatory levels of the antioxidant mineral selenium.

Vitamin B6 - Visit our shop for this product

Vitamin B6 deficiency is common in asthmatics. This deficiency may be related to the asthma itself or to certain anti-asthma drugs (such as theophylline and aminophylline) that deplete vitamin B6.

Vitamin B12

Supplementing with B12 (particularly through intramuscular shots) markedly reduces asthma symptoms. In one study of 85 patients, all benefited from 1000 mcg injections of B12 at weekly (and then less frequent) intervals-and the younger the patient, the better the response. Among children under 10, 83 per cent showed a moderate-to-marked improvement. Some physicians have their patients self-administer daily shots in the following doses over 10 days: 1000 mcg for two- to three-year-olds; 2000 mcg for three- to 12-year-olds; and 3000 mcg for teenagers and older.

Magnesium - Visit our shop for this product

Several studies have shown that improvement in wheezing is related to blood magnesium levels. Magnesium may be a safe alternative to bronchodilators when children are suffering a severe asthma attack. Like vitamin B6, magnesium has marked success when delivered by injection.

Vitamin C - Visit our shop for this product

Taking 1 g/day of vitamin C reduces the tendency of the bronchial passages to go into spasm, a benefit that has been confirmed in double-blind research trials. Beneficial effects with short-term vitamin C supplementation (less than three days) have also been observed.

Vitamin E - Visit our shop for this product

Supplementing with vitamin E can help lower rates of asthma, rhinitis and hayfever. Stduiies have found that people those with the highest daily intake of vitamin E were least likely to suffer from allergen-sensitive atopic conditions such as asthma, rhinitis and hayfever. In addition, none of the other nutrients measured appeared to have the same protective effects as vitamin E, nor did the vitamin appear to be more effective in combination with any other nutrient.

Fish oil - Visit our shop for this product

Double-blind studies show that fish oil partially reduces reactions to allergens that can trigger attacks in some asthmatics.

Essential fatty acids - Visit our shop for this product

EFAs and their byproducts have been shown to play a significant role in asthma. Higher intake of 'good' fats, such as flaxseed oil, can have anti-inflammatory, free radical-fighting and immune-enhancing effects as well as contribute to the relative strength of cell membranes. Studies are encouraging and may be useful for sufferers of exercise-induced asthma.

Perilla seed oil

Supplementing with perilla seed oil may help to improve lung function in certain asthma sufferers. Perilla seed oil is an extract of the Asian beefsteak plant (also known as Chinese basil or wild sesame). It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (LNA), and it is this that is thought to inhibit the generation of leukotrienes in asthma sufferers.

Evening primrose oil

Swiss researchers have found that evening primrose oil can have a beneficial effect on bronchial asthma.

Green-lipped mussels

Supplementation with an extract of New Zealand green-lipped mussels (Perna canaliculus) can relieve symptoms and improve lung function in people with asthma.) While mussel extract is rich in omega-3 (EPA and DHA) fatty acids, the researchers suggest that eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA), found naturally in the green-lipped mussel, is responsible for its positive effects in asthma sufferers, as ETA is thought to be a more potent anti-inflammatory than either EPA or DHA, found in cod liver oil and other fish-oil supplements.

Back to How You Beat Asthma


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