embracing nutrition and functional medicine

Natural Relief from Asthma using Nutrition & Functional Medicine

ESTIMATED READING TIME 6 MINUTES

A picture of a concerned looking mother helping her daughter whose having an asthma attack. She's handing her inhalor to the girl in the hope she gets relief from her asthma attack.

A Functional Medicine Approach to Getting Relief from Asthma

If asthma affects you and you are looking for natural relief from asthma using Nutrition & Functional Medicine then read on. Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition characterised by inflamed and narrowed airways along with excess mucus, making breathing difficult. It results in symptoms including wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing. Despite asthma symptoms worsening during an attack, they are usually bothersome to a lesser degree the rest of the time. It affects millions of people worldwide, and it can be a serious condition. In the UK, deaths from asthma increased by 33% in the decade leading up to 2018 1 Getting to the root cause of the disease is the start of your journey towards reducing asthma attacks.

What Causes an Asthma Attack?

Asthma attacks occur in response to specific triggers. These cause the smooth muscles of your airways to contract. Asthma triggers vary from person to person but can include airborne allergens like pollen or house dust, and pet hair. On the other hand, for some people an attack can be triggered by smoke, strong smells, chemicals, hormonal changes, stress and exercise. 

Asthma can be allergic or non-allergic. Allergic asthma tends to run in families and alongside other allergic conditions like hay fever. In this case the immune system is reacting to something it perceives as harmful.

How do Health Professionals Treat Asthma?

Conventional medicine focuses on managing symptoms with medication. These include steroids to reduce inflammation and inhalers to open up the airways. However, these do not address the underlying reasons why asthma is occurring in that person.

Functional medicine on the other hand aims to address the root causes of asthma. Once corrected, the body can be restored to optimum health providing natural relief from asthma attacks and improving the quality of your life. Factors related to diet, lifestyle and environment all contribute to inflammation. These include inflammatory foods like sugar and processed foods, environmental toxins, and pollutants.

What is the Root Cause of Asthma?

Simply put, asthma comes about because of immune dysregulation. It is behaving inappropriately by overreacting to something in your environment. Delving deeper, we then need to uncover what factors are causing the immune system to act in this way.

Can Poor Gut Health Cause Asthma?

A healthy gut is involved in regulating inflammation. Your microbiome, the population of bacteria resident in your gut, can produce substances either encouraging or discouraging inflammation, depending on the type of bacteria in charge. In studies, the gut bacteria of people with asthma were out of balance when compared with healthy people 2 Because of the close link between gut health and asthma, functional medicine practitioners emphasise optimising digestive function. A priority will be correcting any imbalances in the composition and diversity of the microbiome, known as dysbiosis.

Can Food Sensitivities Aggravate Asthma?

Poor gut health can lead to food sensitivities. This is particularly the case if the membrane lining the gut becomes extra permeable. Common culprits include dairy, gluten (found in certain grains like wheat, barley, rye and most oats), and soya. Eating these foods can spark off an asthma attack. Your practitioner may advise avoiding these foods for a while. However, the overall aim will be to heal your gut and therefore remove the conditions creating the food sensitivity in the first place.

Can a Poor Diet Worsen Asthma?

Research has shown eating a diet designed to lower inflammation helped reduce asthma symptoms 3. This is, in other words, a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods, healthy fats and antioxidants, and low in processed foods and sugar. Another study found eating a Mediterranean-type diet led to fewer asthma symptoms in children 4. Embracing Nutrition can offer support by identifying where your diet is going wrong and advise you on what foods will offer relief from inflammation and reduce your asthma attacks in frequency and severity.

Lifestyle Factors and Asthma

Many people find stress can trigger an asthma attack. If this is a factor for you, your practitioner may recommend stress management techniques like mindfulness, yoga or meditation. Because your body repairs itself while you are sleeping, the emphasis will be on creating the conditions enabling quality sleep.

Can Nutrient Deficiencies Cause Asthma?

Certain nutrients play a role in immune function and regulation of inflammation. For example, one of vitamin D’s roles is to regulate the immune system 5. Magnesium is necessary for the smooth muscles of the airways to be able to contract, it’s anti-inflammatory 6 and plays a role in healthy immune function. Vitamin C also helps the airways to relax 7. Meanwhile, omega-3 fatty acids like those found in oily fish have been found to prevent childhood asthma 8. While asthma has many different potential causes, correcting nutrient deficiencies can help your body to heal.

Our protocol for providing natural relief from asthma using nutrition and functional medicine.

A personalised approach can isolate the factors and imbalances contributing to your ill health. Functional tests help to pinpoint imbalances in the gut microbiome, food sensitivities or nutritional deficiencies.

Working with a functional medicine practitioner will help to address the root cause of your asthma and support your overall health and wellbeing. Contact us to start your journey.

References

Did you know you can request a FREE 15 minute Discovery Call

Do you or someone you care for need personalised support for natural relief from Asthma? Then book a free 15-minute discovery call to see if Functional Medicine is for you.

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