Ask Dr. J.: What diet and supplements would you recommend for asthma?

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What diet and supplements would you recommend for asthma?

Asthma and other immune disorders are often helped by diet and supplements. First, I would consider whether food allergies play a role in your problem. The most common sensitivity is milk, but wheat, egg, soy, yeast, or almost any other food might contribute to your symptoms. Eliminate sugar that does not occur naturally in fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat a natural food diet without artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and pesticide residues (organic foods are free of such chemicals).

Supplements that I suggest start with vitamin C, and even 2000 mg before exercise can reduce exercise induced asthma. I often recommend taking that amount 2 to 3 times a day. Essential fatty acids help reduce airway muscle spasm. The usual dose of gamma-linolenic acid from borage oil or evening primrose oil is 240 mg per day. Magnesium also is a muscle relaxant, and helps in asthma (for acute asthma, injections of magnesium can often replace drugs). The usual daily dose is 500 to 1000 mg. Flavonoids that help with allergies also may help with asthma. Quercetin stabilizes mast cells and basophils, and reduces their release of histamine. The typical dose is 800 to 1200 mg daily. Proanthocyanidins from grape seeds or pine bark may also help with allergies. The usual dose is 100 to 200 mg daily.

Other supplements may also help, but stress reduction techniques may be just as important as any dietary practice or supplement.

Does salt really contribute to hypertension?
High blood pressure is influenced by a number of health practices, and salt is one contributor. The salt consumption recommendation of 2400 mg daily, far lower than the US average, is too high. A whole foods diet (more fruits and vegetables) and reduced salt consumption of only 1500 mg could lower blood pressure significantly even in non-hypertensives, and thus lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by 20 and 35 percent respectively. This is better and safer than blood pressure medications. Most salt is not added in the home, but is already in processed foods when you buy them, so you may not be aware of how much salt you are consuming.

In addition to a whole, natural foods, mostly vegetarian diet, you should also consider some dietary supplements, such as garlic, vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, magnesium, and GLA (from borage oil), as part of your management of hypertension.

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From September to June, I see patients in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Call 386-409-7747, or send an email to [email protected] to make arrangements.

In summer, I have a variable schedule, and I see patients in offices at the Rothfeld Center for Integrative Medicine in Waltham, Massachusetts. For appointments, send an email to [email protected] make arrangements, or call: 386-409-7747.

I primarily do phone consultations, as well as email and instant messaging consults.

Information herein is not medical advice or direction. All material in this newsletter is provided for information only. Its contents should not be used to provide medical advice on individual problems. Consult a health care professional for medical or health advice.