Asthma - Cause and cure
Asthma attacks occur when bronchial tubes of the lungs go into spasm (bronchoconstriction) due to histamine production.
Asthma is an auto-immune disorder in which the immune system has become super-sensitive to foreign objects invading the airway. These foreign objects can include smoke particles, car exhaust, paint fumes, food allergies, pollutants in the air, some medications such as aspirin, even stress can trigger an asthma event. Stress increases cortisol levels which can produce an inflammatory response through the release of cytokines and the production of histamine.
But why has the immune system become super-sensitive in the first place and how can it be reversed naturally?
Triggers mentioned above do not cause asthma. An unhealthy, abnormal inflammatory response causes asthma. But we want a balanced inflammation system to handle the everyday stressors that we are exposed to. What causes this protective mechanism to go into overdrive at the slightest trigger?
The answer appears to be ‘Cytokines’. Cytokines are signalling molecules brought on by stressors to the body. These cytokines then activate macrophages (the immune system's garbage collectors), and other immune fighting molecules. We want a balance of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines (pro-inflammatory to stimulate repair such as when we cut ourselves, and anti-inflammatory to restrict the immune response when it is not particularly needed, such as when we breath in smoke particles). But many cytokines are very pro-inflammatory including CRP (C-reactive Protein) and IL-6 (Interleukin-6).
So what causes the inflammation system to be out-of-balance and become over-active?
The answer is excessive pro-inflammatory regulators, relative to anti-inflammatory regulators.
So why are some people’s pro-inflammatory regulators so high, when others with the same diet etc are not?
The answer is that people with auto-immune disorders, despite a good diet and lifestyle, have one or a combination of other circumstances that contribute to the inflammatory regulator imbalance.
Excessive courses of antibiotics as a child which damages the immune system.
Heart disease can cause elevated CRP levels.
Smoking elevates cytokine production.
C-section delivery can affect the quality of the immune system of the baby.
There are many reasons why the immune system may be compromised but there is a way to repair it.
Most of our immune system resides in the micro-biome in the gut. Therefore feeding the gut with a good diet that feeds the so-called good bacteria that support the immune system, and starving the bad bacteria that hinder the immune system is paramount. Our ancient ancestor’s diet consisted of:
20-30% protein from wild meat and fish
30-60% fat from plants, nuts, seeds, and fish 1:1 omega-6 to omega-3
10-50% complex carbs from plants, roots, fruit etc.
Good bacteria prefer a high fiber diet whereas bad bacteria prefer a high sugar diet.
Therefore we need to restrict sugars. Sugars can come from simple carbs such as processed grain products e.g. pasta, bread, cookies and cakes, also from fruit juices, sport drinks, colas, etc, and meats (meat (amino acids) which apart from containing unhealthy long-chain saturated fats and being acidic, any excess that is not needed immediately for repairing and building new cells, is converted to sugar by the liver). Therefore limited amounts of grass-fed meat are suggested. There is no real limit on the amount of wild caught fish, such as salmon and trout, that can be consumed.
We therefore need, fiber, good fats and complex carbs. Fiber (pre-biotics) are best derived from plants, nuts, seeds and fruit. Complex carbs can include potato, rice, corn and beans. Good fats include unsaturated and short and medium chain saturated fats (MCT) found in coconut milk, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, olive oil, sardines, salmon etc.
Also people with auto-immune disorders are further encouraged to, at least until the disorder is resolved, eliminate 4 specific food groups, in order to try and identify any food allergy (elimination diet). These are:
Yeast found in alcohol drinks, bread and pizza
Gluten, pork, chicken, beef and cured meats can also be problem foods.
Asthma varies enormously in its response to nutritional therapy. Some cases clear up quite quickly with an elimination diet. But some need more intensive nutritional adherence.
Pharmaceutical drugs such as paracetamol, aspirin, acetominofen, etc, should be avoided, since they can deplete glutathione levels, and lead to more severe asthma.
Supplements should be included such as magnesium, B6, selenium (brazil nuts), iodine, and vitamin C, since these help to improve the immune system health.
The above has been largely based on the presentation below given by Ron Hunninghake, M.D