Vitamins and minerals help asthma patients breathe easier |

Vitamins and minerals help asthma patients breathe easier

Researchers from the Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, and the Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative in Seattle agree that childhood asthma has a significant impact on the use of health resources.Researchers from the Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, and the Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative in Seattle agree that childhood asthma has a significant impact on the use of health resources.Asthma is the leading chronic illness of childhood. It is a major cause of infant and childhood mortality. Asthma in children is now recognized as “a major public health problem of increasing concern in the United States,” according to the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Environmental Health. Between1980 and 1996, asthma among children increased seventy percent. Asthma affects 6.2 percent of children in the United States. It accounts for 14 million missed days of school annually, and it is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among those under 15 years old. Asthma incurs a cost of $3.2 billion per year.The treatment for asthma is to use one or more of several drugs, such as Albuterol, Pulmicort, Flovent and Serevent. The naturopathic nutritional protocol for asthma includes the use of omega-3 fatty acids, fully chelated magnesium, manganese, bromelain, vitamin E and vitamin C, as well as dietary adjustments and the elimination of offending environmental factors. In 2000, Japanese researchers reported in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology that patients who received alpha-linolenic acid supplementation (an omega-3 fatty acid) had a decrease in the generation of proinflammatory leukotrienes (a fatty compound associated with asthma) after only two weeks. After four weeks of supplementation, lung function for the intervention group increased significantly. Additionally, their cholesterol profiles also improved dramatically.Magnesium has long been known to help asthma patients during an attack. The efficacy of magnesium in the treatment of asthma was first reported in 1938 (Haury). Animal studies since then have shown that magnesium deficiency is related to the release of histamine. In 1987, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study on the bronchodilating effect of intravenous magnesium sulfate. The conclusion was that the intravenous infusion of magnesium sulfate produces a “… rapid and marked bronchodilation in both mild and severe asthma…” A 1996 study by Britton and Hill, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, concluded that “… patients with asthma who reported a high dietary intake of magnesium had better lung function and a reduction in the relative risk of wheezing.”Dr Eric Secor, of the University of Connecticut Health Center and the NIH, tested three groups of mice that were induced with acute asthma. There were three groups: one control group and two groups treated with different doses of bromelain – 2mg or 6mg per kg of body weight. Bromelain significantly reduced the total white blood cell count, which increases with the onset of asthma. The markers for inflammatory asthma – eosinophils – were reduced over 50 percent following supplementation. It was more effective in higher dosages. In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and bromelain, manganese, vitamin E and vitamin C have proven very helpful. Before beginning a supplement protocol, contact a naturopath who can assist you with your diet and proper supplement dosages. Health matters!The Glenwood Springs Post Independent will run a ‘Health Matters’column once a month. Have a health matters question for R.J.? E-mail all questions to

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