Asthma, Pollution and Anti-oxidants

Have you ever been in a fog so thick that you could not see your hand in front of your face?

I have !

These fogs were so thick they were called "Peasoupers" and as an ex resident of London I remember them.

Just as I remember the asthma I suffered because of that smog and pollution.

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The worst of these scandals occurred in 1952 when, to quote from the Wiki,

"4,000 additional deaths were reported in the city over a couple of days, leading to the passage of the Clean Air Act 1956, which banned the use of coal for domestic fires in urban areas. The overall death toll from that incident is now believed to be around 12,000"

After The "Clean-up"

These days London and many other cities that used to have visibly thick clouds of pollution look a lot better.

So we might think the "pea soup" pollution is just part of the history of environmental clean-up…

But as the scandal called #Dieselgate has revealed to us we're wrong to think that the atmosphere has been cleaned up.

Turns out that diesel cars made by Volkswagen had complex software which checked if the engine performance was being measured and fooled and misled the technicians doing the engine and pollutants test.

That means that huge numbers of diesels are polluting at a higher level than is legal.

The pollution we could not see may be as dangerous as the smogs we can see.

In most parts of the world obvious visible smog has largely gone and we are now mending the damage to the atmosphere caused by CFCs from air conditioners and fridges but the particulates and the combustion gases, and the exhaust gases are still there and apparently getting worse each year.

And yet to listen to the establishment, air pollution is only a trigger that may affect some asthmatics and not the cause of asthma which of course remains "unknown".

I did not use the word "Whitewash " there but to me this is like saying that "smoking does not cause lung cancer".

And of course we know that Doctors remained in denial about tobacco for decades after there was firm statistical proof.

Asthma is a killer too although you may not even find it on the death certificate, just as Tobacco won't be found on death certificates either.

Why Asthma Kills

When I was a kid I was told I had bronchitis and when grown up the word changed to asthma only after that was I told I had "Wheezing". Throughout that time there was no apparent understanding of what asthma is or how to fix it.

Only the ever present inhalers for the rest of your life – not a welcome option for most of us.

Only when I started studying nutrition did I get any idea of control and effective treatment for this killer disease.

Asthma is an inflammation in the tubes leading to your lungs. When they get inflamed they tighten up and narrow and that makes it harder to breath. Struggling to breath is very scary. No wonder we get scared-thousands of people die from asthma – from asphyxiation.

The inflammation may be from smoke either from cigarettes or exhaust from diesel or gas or from any other combustion.

Even standing near a gas burner as you cook your meals can irritate the delicate lining of your lungs and leave you gasping.

Natural Remedies For Asthma

Since asthma is at heart an inflammatory disease we treat it initially with a variety of natural anti-inflammatory nutrients. Such as vitamin C, omega 3 oils and vitamin E.

The dosage of these has really got to be matched to the individual and you need to see a Naturopath or Nutritionist to do that. But typical values may be

  •    For vitamin C: around 3 grams a day / 3,000 mg a day
  •    Omega 3: powdered flax sprinkled on breakfast or just mixed into a drink
  •    Vitamin E: around 400 iu a day
  •    Magnesium: this is the Relaxation Mineral and a tablet or capsule of 250 or 500 mg at bed time would help relax the reactive muscles around the airways into your lungs.

It is also important for the diet not to be fighting the anti-inflammatory supplements so if the patient is willing then an anti-inflammatory diet is very helpful. This can a version of what is generally called a Mediterranean diet which is rich in fruits and vegetables with little if any sugar and junk food.

For extra help one the diet had been tweaked and the nutrients optimised – it may be useful to use one or more of the asthma herbs that are widely available. Again best to get professional help for this but Ginkgo, lobelia and licorice have a history of being effective and go through cycles of being available over the counter and being unavailable as drug influenced regulators deem them dangerous.

My own feeling is that herbs are much safer than drugs and all must be take responsibly.

One more food or herb I would make sure to take daily is garlic. Some people cannot abide garlic so they need to find a good garlic supplement – probably a capsule so you don't get the taste. Cooking it well in soups and casseroles and stews I find to be an easy way to get past the taste – and it is easy to pop some garlic in most pasta sauce.

Onion has many of the same natural benefits and is for most people easier to consume!

Of course reducing asthma triggers can help too. I know that some cats can make my lungs almost "clench" so I can avoid them! If you have a pet that brings on symptoms then you have choices about keeping the animal out of your bedroom and about how much you play with it and where you allow it in the home.

Vacuum cleaners nowadays are better at picking up dander and fur and a vacuum fitted with a HEPA filter is helpful.

Asthma is sometimes complex to sort out – some people have more sensitivity to stress than others and others to dander, pollen and other natural triggers, but working through some of the options we've looked at above there is tremendous help and hope of healing.

It's been 30 years since I has any asthma symptoms and that was around the time I started to rely on myself and on natural nutrients.

The same approach is open to anyone else who want to put in some effort and get a better healthier life in return.

AuthorAlex Newell ND

I love learning and being healthy so as soon as I came across Yoga, read and practised to get the health benefits. When I was approaching middle age my health declined under the onslaught o stress and possibly poor diet, I had a perfect opportunity to learn more and I qualified in both Osteopathy and Naturopathy. Our health really is in our own hands and not in the hands of "The Doctor" or our Genes :-)

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