Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.
Q. Dear Terry, “I suffer from asthmatic problems during the monsoons, especially when the humidity is high. It is accompanied with severe sneezing and coughing. I also experience wheezing and shortness of breath. My doctor has advised me to take inhalers, which I have to use twice daily along with anti-allergy tablets. Kindly suggest what nutrition supplements I can use to control my condition.” — Priti G., Uttranchal, India
A. Dear Priti, I do have some natural options that I can share with you for improving respiratory function. But please check with your doctor as this advice does not replace his/her oversight and medical care. The best recommendation I can give you for upper respiratory conditions is to start removing dairy products, sugar, soft drinks, and any grains containing gluten from your diet. I would then recommend supplementing with a combination of English Ivy and Thyme extracts. When used together they make a very excellent combination, helping to keep the lungs clear. Both herbs have been extensively researched in Germany and other European countries for use with colds, cough, bronchitis and even asthma. I would suggest approximately 250-500 mg of a combination of these two herbs three times daily. This combination functions as an expectorant (helps cough out phlegm) and mucolytic (breaks up congestion). This will help to thin the mucous and make it easier to expel, which naturally reduces the need to cough frequently. Make sure to look for a product that contains an English Ivy extract standardized for Hederacoside-C and a Thyme extract that is standardized for essential oil content. Another recommendation of my mine includes a blend of highly-bioavailable curcumin (an extract of the spice, turmeric) and boswellia. These two herbs reduce some of the inflammation triggers inside the body. Reducing inflammation in your lungs reduces lung irritation and swelling, and lets the air go in and out more easily. The combination also benefits heart and brain health as well, so it is a good product to use on an ongoing basis. I would suggest approximately 725-1,450 mg of this curcumin-boswellia combination daily. Two things to keep in mind when choosing a product: make sure the curcumin has excellent absorption and that it has been proven in published human studies (curcumin is notoriously hard to absorb) and that the boswellia is screened to less than 5% beta boswellic acid and standardized to 15% acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA), the most active component of boswellia. While these products may help tremendously with reducing asthma issues, it is important that you always maintain your emergency rescue inhaler, because you don’t want to be in a situation where you have an attack and have nothing with you. Dietary supplements can be useful in prevention and long-term maintenance, but they cannot replace the effects of emergency asthma medication that works quickly in the event of a serious attack. Hopefully, you will never need to use this emergency medication, but it is better to have it with you. Healthy regards! Terry . . . Naturally