Asthma is a chronic, long-term lung condition that causes narrowing and inflammation of the airways in your lungs. It is estimated that 300 million people are affected worldwide and here in the United States, as of 2015, 25 million people have asthma. Asthma can affect people at any age and most commonly starts in childhood. The incidence of asthma has continued to grow to epidemic proportions over the last several decades. No one knows what causes asthma, although several factors have been identified including genetics, environmental, and abnormal nervous system and/or immune system responses.


Asthma is considered an inflammatory condition. The airways in the lungs of a person with asthma are inflamed, swollen and very sensitive. When the airways react, they constrict and become more narrowed. There is often an increase in mucous secretions which can further narrow the airways. This sequence of events will lead to the common symptoms of asthma which include:

  • Wheezing-a whistling or squeaky sound that usually occurs with exhalation (breathing out)

  • Coughing-usually worse at night, interrupting sleep

  • Shortness of breath-either you can’t catch your breath or it’s difficult to get air out of your lungs

  • Chest tightness

The presence of these symptoms does not mean you have asthma. There may be another condition causing these symptoms, so it is important that you are evaluated by a health care professional. These symptoms can range from mild and intermittent to severe and life-threatening. Severe attacks may be associated with sweating, pale face, blue lips, very rapid heart rate, panic/anxiety attack and inability to exhale, which can be an emergency situation necessitating a call to 911 or a visit to your local ER.

Asthma Triggers

Identifying and avoiding triggers for asthma can make a significant reduction in asthma symptoms. Asthma sufferers will have different sensitivity levels to each of these irritants or triggers and should consider each individually. Here is a list of the more common triggers:

  • Food Sensitivity-the most common food sensitivities include dairy, eggs, soy, corn, and gluten.

  • Yeast-overgrowth in the gut-consider an anti-candida program.

  • Second-hand smoke

  • Airborne allergens-dust, mold, pet dander, pollen and dust mites. Consider using a dedicated air-filtration system.

  • Food additives and coloring– MSG and food colorings can be common triggers for asthma.

  • Colds and viruses

  • Weather changes-cold temperatures and wet weather are the most common triggers.

  • Household chemicals-Use natural, fragrance-free cleaners and detergents.

  • Strenuous physical activity

  • Certain medications including beta-blockers, aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

  • Emotional stress

Acute Management Vs. Long Term Prevention or Management

Asthma medications can help control symptoms in an acute, emergency attack which can be life-threatening if not controlled. Long-term use of these medications, unfortunately, can make your asthma symptoms worse, both in frequency and intensity and perpetuate the condition. Long-term use of most asthma medications also can have a variety of side-effects hindering your immune and endocrine system, leading to mood changes, yeast overgrowth, acne, weight gain.

Long-term management or preventive strategies will reduce the likelihood of asthma attacks as well as reducing the dependence on asthma medications. Let’s take a look at some of these natural, holistic health strategies to promote healthy lungs.

Natural Strategies For Asthma

  • Eliminate Foods That Promote Inflammation—The Standard American Diet (SAD) includes an overabundance of Omega-6 fatty acids, commonly found in oils such as soybean oil, canola oil, and corn oil. Omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation in your body. Also, asthma can be triggered by food sensitivities. The most common foods that may act as triggers include dairy, wheat, corn, soy and sugar. Eliminate each of these for 6 to 8 weeks to determine if food sensitivities are an underlying cause.

  • Optimize Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids—Most people do not consume adequate amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids in their diets. Omega-3 EFA’s are found predominantly in fish and seafood. A simple blood-spot test can be performed to accurately measure your Omega-3 levels (as well as Omega-6’s) to determine if supplementation is necessary, and specifically how much.

  • Optimize Vitamin D Levels—Research has shown a connection with low or inadequate Vitamin D levels and an increased frequency and severity of asthma attacks. A simple blood test is necessary to determine if you are getting adequate Vitamin D from healthy sun exposure and your diet.

  • Chiropractic Adjustments and Asthma—The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association reports numerous studies that establish the benefits of chiropractic adjustments and asthma. In one study, 76.5 percent of patients with bronchial asthma said they benefited from chiropractic treatment and also showed an increase in vital capacity and peak flow rate. Another study showed after 60 days of chiropractic care, the average number of asthma attacks decreased by 44.9 percent and asthma medication usage decreased an average of 66.5 percent.