This month Dr. Ludovic Brunel touches on something that affects more and more Canadians every year – summertime asthma. Great natural advice is offered to get us all outside and enjoying the wonderful summer!
Summer usually comes as a relief for most of us. After long months of dark and cold weather, the sun and warmth returns. For asthmatics, each season tends to carry its share of challenges – with summer being particularly challenging for those suffering from allergic asthma, the most common cause of asthma.
Asthma attacks are commonly triggered by cold air and viral infections, which are less common during the summer months. Other potential triggers tend to be more common in the summer. These include allergens such as pollen and air pollution or smog. Unfortunately, for those suffering from allergic asthma, the presence of these allergens in the summer months can make their asthma symptoms much worse.
As asthma sufferers know far too well, asthma triggers should be avoided as much as possible. Some triggers are easy to avoid such as food products and certain medications, while others such as airborne triggers are a lot harder to eliminate. It hardly seems fair that while some of us are having fun in the sun, asthma sufferers should be locked up inside trying to manage their condition.
Other than trying to avoid triggers, asthma sufferers should look to reduce inflammation in their airways as a long term strategy to reduce their symptoms. Several natural ingredients have been shown to be potent allies when it come to the relief of asthma symptoms, specifically because they can play a role in reducing inflammation in the body.
One such ingredient is boswellia. Boswellia was shown to reduce the symptoms and improve lung function tests associated with asthma. In this study, 40 patients received 900 mg of Boswellia per day for six weeks. They were then compared to patients receiving a placebo. Seventy percent of patients receiving boswellia noted significant improvements in their symptoms while only 27 percent of patients receiving a placebo improved.[i]
Choline has also shown promise for asthmatics: individuals treated with high-dose choline were also noted to have improvements in lung function[ii]and had decreased airway responsiveness.[iii] In a treatment trial of 76 patients with asthma treated with choline or standard pharmacotherapy, those receiving choline supplementation reported improved quality of life, decreased asthma medication use, improvements in airway responsiveness, and significantly reduced markers of inflammation.[iv]
Other ingredients that have been shown to benefit asthma sufferers also include probiotics, vitamin D and plant sterols.
Probiotics are well known for their positive effect on the immune system. Research shows that probiotics – when used by pregnant women, lactating women, or when given to infants – help to reduce the risk of developing allergic conditions such as eczema and atopic dermatitis.[v] Research in asthmatics shows that probiotics lead to the reduction of the production of proinflammatory immune cells.[vi]
Preliminary information on population studies looking at vitamin D levels has shown that patients with lower vitamin D levels are more likely to develop asthma and suffer from asthma attacks.[vii] Studies also show that those with a vitamin D deficiency require more medications to control their symptoms.[viii] Lastly, vitamin D supplementation reduces the severity of asthma symptoms in children who get an upper respiratory tract infections.[ix]
One supplement with excellent research for allergic conditions is Immunocare™. This combination of plant ingredients including plant sterols has been the subject of several clinical trials. One such trial looked at the effect of supplementation with Immunocare™ on the immune response to allergens in allergy sufferers. The authors concluded that the supplement has the potential to substantially alleviate allergies.[x]
If you suffer from allergic asthma, there is no reason to suffer through breathing difficulties all summer. Several natural options are available to you and include Immunocare[LB1] , Probiotic, vitamin D , choline and boswellia.
1) Gupta I, Gupta V, Parihar A, et al. Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with bronchial asthma: results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-week clinical study. Eur J Med Res 1998;3:511-514.
2) Gupta I, Gupta V, Parihar A, et al. Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with bronchial asthma: results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-week clinical study. Eur J Med Res 1998;3:511-514.
3) Gupta SK, Gaur SN. A placebo controlled trial of two dosages of LPC antagonist–choline in the management of bronchial asthma. The Indian journal of chest diseases & allied sciences. 1997;39:149–56.
4) Gaur SN, Agarwal G, Gupta SK. Use of LPC antagonist, choline, in the management of bronchial asthma. The Indian journal of chest diseases & allied sciences. 1997;39:107–13.
5) Mehta AK, Singh BP, Arora N, Gaur SN. Choline attenuates immune inflammation and suppresses oxidative stress in patients with asthma. Immunobiology. 2010;215:527–34.
6) Cuello-Garcia CA et al. Probiotics for the prevention of allergy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 Jun 1.
7) Drago L, De Vecchi E, Gabrieli A, De Grandi R, Toscano M. Immunomodulatory Effects of Lactobacillus salivarius LS01 and Bifidobacterium breve BR03, Alone and in Combination, on Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells of Allergic Asthmatics. Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2015 Jul;7(4):409-13.
8.) Herr C, Greulich T, Koczulla R, et al. The role of vitamin D in pulmonary disease: COPD, asthma, infection, and cancer. Respir Res 2011;12:31.
9) Bozzetto S, Carraro S, Giordano G, et al. Asthma, allergy, and respiratory infections: the vitamin D hypothesis. Allergy 2012;67:10-7.
10) Majak P, Olszowiec-Chlebna M, Smejda K, Stelmach I. Vitamin D supplementation in children may prevent asthma exacerbation triggered by acute respiratory infection. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2011;127:1294-6.
11) Laidlaw M. Pilot Study Conducted at the University of Guelph, by the Human Nutraceutical Research Unit On The Supplement Sterol 117™. Human Nutraceutical Research Unit, J.T. Powell Bldg. University of Guelph