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Asthma Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy Asthma is an allergic disorder which affects the bronchioles of the lungs. The bronchioles are the small branches of the breathing tube system of the lungs and are lined with, among other things, a tubular layer of muscle. When asthma occurs this layer of muscle contracts in spasms and decreases the flow of air, especially when air is exhaled out of the lungs. In severe cases of asthma the person is left struggling to catch a breath of air and laboring to get enough oxygen to continue to fuel the body. The symptoms of asthma are shortness of breath, wheezing, and fatigue. In many cases exertion will bring on asthma and in some cases this is the only thing which will bring it on. This is called exertional asthma. Unless treated these patients are unable to engage in strenuous sports activities.

Amost every person with asthma has been able to identify at least one allergen, a substance which triggers an attack. Common examples are dairy products, wheat products, or other foods, house dust, certain animals (most commonly cats), feathers, mold, etc. Until the condition is treated and cured these items must be avoided.

Very often there are hidden allergens which have not been identified. This is usually because these are also "slow allergens," usually foods which only cause the allergic reaction several days after ingestion. Because the reaction is delayed the patient usually does not make the connection between the food and the asthmatic reaction. There are blood tests which can identify these slow allergens, but the most efficient way is by electrodermal screening.

The basic problem in asthma, as in all allergic disorders, is that of a dysregulated immune system. Good evidence exists from epidemiological studies to link the use of vaccinations to the incidence of asthma. It may be that we are paying a price in illness, in at least a segment of the population, for the luxury of avoiding those illnesses for which we vaccinate.

The approach of a nutritional doctor to treating asthma is to strengthen the immune system and allow it to re-regulate itself. One fairly successful way of doing this has been found to give daily injection of vitamin B12 for up to 30 days. This is successful in ridding the patient of asthma in about 80% of cases under age 10. It sometimes works in adults, although less commonly than in children. Since it is safe, it is probably worth at try at any age. Another condition which must always be thought of is magnesium deficiency. Magnesium serves to relax smooth muscle such as that which constitutes the bronchioles and even acute attacks of asthma will usually respond to intravenous magnesium.

In severe cases of asthma it is advisable to avoid steroid treatment if this is at all possible. The long term side effects of synthetic steroids include dysregulation fo the immune system and we believe this to be the basic cause of asthma in the first place. On the other hand, if the patient is found to have hypoadrenalism, a natural steroid (cortisol) in doses normal to the body's own usual level of production is almost always of great benefit.

In addition, identification and treatment of hypochlorhydria is of benefit in asthma. Oral magnesium can help prevent asthma attacks and intravenous magnesium, as already mentioned, can abort an asthma attack. This should only be performed by a qualified physician. There are several other effective nutritional treatments of asthma which should be carried out only under a doctor's supervision. There is also homeopathic treatment for asthma. The approach used in homeopathy is to attempt to restore the balance of the system using dilute solutions of natural substances specific to the disorder.



The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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