DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS IN ASTHMA

Antioxidants. Normal cellular metabolism produces substances called Free Radicals. If left unchecked, free radicals are capable of producing cellular damage, and they are felt to be involved in the development of certain cancers, of cardiovascular disease, and in cellular destruction that accompanies aging. The compounds that keep free radicals in check are called Antioxidants. Supplementation with antioxidants is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and slows the aging process.

The major antioxidants are:

-Vitamin C.

-Vitamin E.

-Carotenoids, mainly beta-carotene.

-Selenium.

-Flavonoids.

Antioxidant supplementation is more effective when taken as a group rather than selecting a specific antioxidant to be taken alone and the best way to obtain antioxidants is felt to be from a combination of supplementation along with a diet high in antioxidant-containing foods.

In asthma, it has been shown that antioxidant deficiencies can lead to an increased susceptibility to allergens and an increased production and release of the allergy-reaction-causing substances histamine and leukotrienes. Supplementation with certain antioxidants has been shown to improve asthmatic control, as outlined below.

All doses below are for children weighing 50-100 lbs.

The adult dose would be twice this dose.

VITAMIN C:

Vitamin C is the major antioxidant of the respiratory system, and Vitamin C deficiencies are more common in asthmatics. In addition to regulating production of histamine and leukotrienes, Vitamin C improves chemotaxis, which is the ability of the white blood cells to respond to infection.

-Supplementation Dose: 500 mg twice per day.

VITAMIN E:

Functions in a similar antioxidant capacity as Vitamin C, and supplementation is advised with 100-200 Units per day.

CAROTENES:

Carotenes function in the respiratory system to promote the health and integrity of the epithelial lining, which affects its susceptibility to allergens. Carotenes also decrease the formation of leukotrienes. The primary carotene is beta-carotene.  Supplementation is recommended with 25,000 Units per day.

FLAVONOIDS:

Flavonoids have a strong role in the regulation of histamine and leukotriene production, as well as their release from mast cells. One flavonoid in particular, called quercetin, is a key antioxidant in the respiratory system. Supplementation is as follows:

-Quercetin supplementation: 200 mg 20 minutes before each meal

OR

-Supplementation with one of the following extracts:

Grape Seed Extract: 25-50 mg three times per day.

Green Tea Extract: with 50% polyphenol content- 100-150 mg three times per day, or liberal consumption of green tea.

Ginkgo Biloba Extract: 40 mg three times per day.

SELENIUM:

Selenium is not an antioxidant itself, but is a coenzyme in the process involving glutathione peroxidase, which is very important for the breakdown of leukotrienes. As well, reduced levels of selenium have been demonstrated in asthmatics. As such, supplementation is recommended as 50-100 mg per day.

 

VITAMIN AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENTATION:

VITAMIN B 6 (PYRIDOXINE)

This is especially needed in patients treated with theophylline, a common inhaled bronchodilator. B 6 is involved in the metabolism of tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin, which is involved in bronchoconstriction. Supplementation with B 6 helps to keep this metabolic pathway open. Dosage is 25-50 mg two times/day.

VITAMIN B 12:

B 12 seems to be the most useful in asthmatic patients with a demonstrated Sulfite sensitivity. However, the studies that demonstrated improvement in such patients used intramusclar injections of B12 rather than oral dosing. Doses in patients who might benefit are 1000 mcg/day orally, or 1000 mcg weekly by intramuscular injection.

MAGNESIUM:

Magnesium is believed to be involved in relaxing the muscles in the airways that have constricted during an asthma attack. Magnesium supplementation is associated with improved control of symptoms. Dosage is 200-400 mg three times/day.

A SUMMARY OF SUPPLEMENTAL THERAPIES:

Dosages are for children 50-100 lbs. Adult dosage would be twice that.

VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTATION:

Vitamin B 6- 25-50 mg twice/day

Vitamin B 12- 1000 mcg orally daily, or 1000 mcg weekly by IM injection.

ANTIOXIDANT SUPPLEMENTATION:

Vitamin C- 500 mg two times/day.

Vitamin E- 100-200 IU/day.

Beta-Carotene- 25,000 Units/day.

Quercetin- 200 mg 20 minutes prior to a meal.

 

OR  Grape Seed Extract 25-50 mg three times/day

OR Green Tea Extract w/ 50% phenol content 150-250 mg three times/day

OR Ginkgo Biloba Extract 40 mg three times/day.

MINERAL SUPPLEMENTATION:

Selenium- 50-100 mg/day.

Magnesium- 200-400 mg three times/day.

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