Asthma affects more than 26 million Americans.
If you’ve ever experienced an asthma attack, you know how frightening it can be to not be able to breathe. Asthma can severely affect one’s quality of life. You may be limited in what you can do, such as you may not be able to go outside to exercise or work in the garden. You aren’t living life to its fullest because you are restricted as to where you can go or what you can be exposed to, so that you don’t have another asthma attack. But we have some good news. Did you know that there is one simple mineral that can help prevent and stop asthma in its tracks? Yes, that’s right, it’s magnesium.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease that causes your airways to become inflamed, making it difficult to breathe. Asthma is characterized by bronchial spasms, swelling of the mucous membranes of the lung, excessive mucus production, and an inability to fully empty the lungs of air.
Symptoms of Asthma
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid breathing
- Chest tightness
What can Trigger Asthma?
Asthma symptoms can appear when you are exposed to a trigger. A trigger is something you are sensitive to that makes your airways become inflamed. This causes swelling, mucous production and narrowing of your airways.
Common Asthma Triggers
- Allergies (such as pollens)
- Dust mites
- Lung infection
- Emotional upset
- Food sensitivities
- Extreme weather changes
- Inhalation of cold air
- Aromatic substances (gas, fumes, paint fumes, chemical fumes)
How Allergens Trigger Asthma
The allergic triggers, called allergens, initiate the release of histamine in your body, which tries to eliminate the allergens by stimulating a lot of mucus to mop up the allergens and push them out through sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes. One of the side effects of too much histamine is tightening of the bronchial tubes, which go into spasm. Such spasms can initiate episodic wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath, which quickly lead to rapid breathing, difficulty exhaling, anxiety, and dehydration. The anxiety of an asthma attack can create a gripping fear that tenses the whole body and is hard to shake off.
How does Magnesium help asthma?
Magnesium is an excellent treatment for asthma because it is a bronchodilator and an antihistamine, naturally reducing histamine levels in the body. It has a calming effect on the muscles of the bronchial tubes and the whole body. Without magnesium, asthma can become chronic, especially if the various triggers are not eliminated. Even the fear of an attack can magnify the emotional component.
Magnesium has several anti-asthmatic actions. As a calcium antagonist, it relaxes airways and smooth muscles and dilates the lungs. It also reduces airway inflammation, inhibits chemicals that cause spasm, and increases anti-inflammatory substances such as nitric oxide. (1)
Asthma Drugs Deplete Magnesium
The drug treatment of asthma consists of magnesium-wasters such as beta-blockers, corticosteroids, and Ventolin (albuterol). The side effects of these drugs include severe magnesium deficiency, which can result in arrhythmia and sudden death. Taking theophylline (aminophylline) can cause loss of magnesium and suppression of vitamin B6 activity, which is necessary for magnesium function. Prednisone wastes magnesium, causes sodium retention and fluid retention, suppresses vitamin D, and promotes increased urinary excretion of zinc, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Remember, magnesium is also crucial for your heart to function well.
Research Studies on Benefits of Magnesium for Asthma
In a European study, a group of children who had deteriorated in spite of conventional drug therapy were given magnesium sulfate intravenously. Comparing the magnesium group with the placebo group, the magnesium group had lower clinical asthma scores and a significantly greater improvement in lung function over a ninety-minute period. (2)
Research showed a correlation between intracellular magnesium levels and airway spasm. This finding confirmed not only that magnesium was useful in the treatment of asthma by dilating the bronchial tubes, but that lack of magnesium was probably a cause of this condition. (3)
Research identified magnesium deficiency as surprisingly common, finding it in 65% of an intensive care population of asthmatics and in 11% of an outpatient asthma population. Researchers supported the use of magnesium to help prevent asthma attacks. The same study established that a lower dietary magnesium intake was associated with impaired lung function, bronchial hyperreactivity, and an increased risk of wheezing. It was concluded that low magnesium intake may be involved in the development of both asthma and chronic obstructive airway disease. (1)
Magnesium to the Rescue
Magnesium is a natural, inexpensive way to help control your asthma, not to mention all the other amazing benefits magnesium has on your health. Plain and simple, magnesium is essential for just about every function in the human body. In fact, because this mineral is the easiest to become depleted, you cannot possibly survive without enough magnesium.
Factors that contribute to magnesium deficiency are those that we experience on a daily basis, like exercise, stress, air pollution, medications, drinking caffeine and alcohol and even a simple headache.You can get magnesium through food, such as spinach, broccoli, salmon, kale, seeds and nuts, to name a few, or through vitamin supplements.
Magnesium citrate is one of the forms with the highest bioavailability, at 90%, which means that it is easily assimilated by the digestive system and used for maximum health benefits. In addition to offering heart health benefits and aiding in optimal nerve and muscle function, magnesium citrate is commonly used to help induce a bowel movement, encourage bowel regularity and has been studied for its ability to reduce the chances of developing kidney stones. Magnesium citrate is available in tablet form, however, is also offered in a liquid form and is great for children, too.
Magnesium glycinate offers the same heart, nerve and muscle health benefits of magnesium citrate, however, for those who are sensitive to magnesium citrate and its bowel regularity properties, magnesium glycinate is a better solution.
Transdermal magnesium is a topical magnesium gel that is used externally, versus being ingested orally. Rubbed directly on the affected area, transdermal magnesium can offer almost immediate relief for many symptoms, such as dry skin, muscle aches and cramps, migraine headaches, tension and stress.
How to Test for a Magnesium Deficiency
It is possible to test for a magnesium deficiency and our doctors recommend obtaining the red blood cell magnesium level. It may be listed by the lab as RBC Mg or Mg RBC. A level of 6 or more is optimal.
Allergy Drops for Asthma and Allergies
Allergy drops can also be helpful because they build up your immune system to protect against allergens. Historically, treating allergies has required weekly visits to the doctor for a shot, followed by a waiting period to make sure there is no reaction. That’s not the case anymore. With allergy drops, treatment is easier than ever. By placing a few drops under the tongue each day, your body will build up antibodies to help fight off the allergens naturally. You can do this from the comfort of your own home or take them on the go. No office visit or wait time.
We Can Help
Do you need help in taking control of your allergies and asthma? Contact us for a free consultation with our Wellness Consultants at 281-698-8698.
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., The Magnesium Miracle
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
1. Dietary Magnesium, Lung Function, Wheezing and Airway Hyperactivity in a Random Population Sample
2. Intravenous Magnesium Sulphate in the Management of Moderate to Severe Acute Asthmatic Children Nonresponding to Conventional Therapy
3. Bronchial Reactivity and Intracellular Magnesium: A Possible Mechanism for the Bronchodilating Effects of Magesium in Asthma