What triggers Asthma ?


Asthma is a respiratory disorder characterised mainly by difficulty in breathing. The disease occurs in people of all ages. An ‘asthma attack’ has varying degrees of effects, from mild loss of breath to life-threatening asphyxiation.

Asthma is one of the most aggravating and distressing physical illneses anyone can suffer from. Australia and New Zealand have the highest incidence of asthma in the world. One out of every ten adults and one out of every four children suffer from this respiratory illness, and the percentage is on increase.

The assault on kids’ immune system

An asthma attack is always invoked by some external trigger. These are mainly and varied, but sufferers would probably agree that the prime triggers are emotional stress, dust, yeast intolerance, food chemicals and environmental chemicals.

Medical science has not yet discovered the process behind the disabling disease, despite the efforts of many researchers backed by millions of dollars. I feel that the disease actullay starts from the time of birth. The body’s immune system is weakened by milk products, chemicalized foods and drinks, and excessive use of antibiotics. This leads to a degradation of the immune system which is so serious that we see children as young as two years falling victims of asthma.

What concers me most, is that many children and adults with straightforward wheezy coughs and shortness of breath are diagnosed by their family members as being asthmatic. They are then prescribed from a large arsenal including Ventolin, Intal (Sodium Cromoglycate), aerosol inhalations, puffer sprays, aerosol puffers, nebulizers and bronchodilators. These medications are usually temporary helpful. However, even for genuine asthmatics, there is growing concern about the very negative long-term effects of indicriminate medication.

Some of the side effects linked to these drugs are rapid heart rate, insomnia, nervousness, hives, skin rashes, headaches, irritability, fatigue, nausea, diarrhoea, excessive thirst, low blood pressure, gastro-intestinal bleeding and sometimes coma.

None of the doctors I have spoken to in the last few years have recommended to their patients a change of diet, eating habits and lifestayle that can build up the immune system and help avoid this debilitating disease.

General DO’s and DON’Ts

  • Emotional stress. There is a growing awareness that chemical changes by the body in stressful times may be more rapid emotionally sensitive people. The changes can sometimes have a negative effect on asthmatics. Even a good, hearty laugh could bring on an asthmatic attack!
  • Food additvies – avoid food containing additives, preservatives, colourings, dyes, tartrazine (code 102), or monosodium glutamata (msg).
  • Notice what foods you’ve eaten prior to an attack. Prime culprits are some bacterially-cultured foods such as cheese, bread and wine. Table salt also affects some sufferers.
  • Exercise – swimming is one of the best kinds of exercise. The aim should be to get more air into your lungs without over-exertion. Walking is easy and enjoyable, and fits this criteria well. Beware of exhaustive exercise, which can be very dangerous for chronic asthmatics.
  • Cold air. Avoid breathing in extremely cold air. It is advisable to wear singlet of pure light wool, preferably year-round, as this will moderate the rapid changes in temperature. Try to avoid being inside closed, stuffy rooms, clubs, pubs or anywhere there are smokers.
  • Salicylate allergy. It is possible that asthmatics who are sensitive to aspirin will also be allergic to foods containing salicylate, which can promote broncho-constriction during an attack. Salicylate is found in soft drinks and condiments. It is essential that affected people be on a diet low in salicylate. In pacticular, avoid fish oils (the omega-3 fatty acid content is the culprit here). However, asthmatics who are not allergic to salicylate should regularly include fish oils in their diet.
  • Dampness and mould. Damp houses contribute to the aggravation of asthma and respiratory problems. Moulds grow in both warm and cold wet conditions and release spores, causing allergies that can trigger asthma attacks. Other hazards that could bring on an attack are dust mites, pollen, cockroach droppings, cigarette smoke, animal hair, sulphur dioxide, chlorine (bleach), fumes from cleaning solvents, fresh paints and gas heaters.
  • Fuel vapour. Certain suburbs are affected by the problem of airplane kerosene fuel pollutants, usually settling from planes held queue witing to land . Similar offenders include fumes from petrol and diesel road traffic.
  • Temperature change. Be aware of sudden drops in temperature (such walking from warm air contidioning into a cold night air or vice versa)

Alternative Treatments

The Buteyko Method  was named after the Russian scientist Konstantin Buteyko. The method has been taught in Russia for some time and is now taught around the world, inclusing Australia. Buteyko, a biochemist, discovered that excessive breathing (such as emotional gasping or over-exercise), inevitably reduces the levels of CO2 in the lungs; paradoxically, the process which oxygenates the blood needs to be triggered by a certain level of CO2 in the lungs. If this level is absent, the trigger is absent, and the body is not being vented regardless of how hard you breathe. The Buteyko Method is a system to control or slow down the breathing, so that the oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange is not inhibited by over-oxygenated lungs.

Vitamin A therapy . Marian Sheperd Slee of Queensland has had a dramatic personal experience with Vitamic A therapy. Her belief in the therapy is so passionate that she has written a book entitled ‘Give Asthma The Big A’. In essence, she advocates Vitamic A as the key building block for lung tissue healing or regeneration. This process is well recognised by Israeli Army medical people, who are the world’s foremost authority for treatment of burns. (Burn victims often have lung burn damage).

I feel that anything that can help in a natural way is worth trying. I am certainly not advocating the aboce methods are sure-fire cures. However, it is a fact that asthmatics by the thousands (Buteyko therapy) and by the dozens (Vitamin A therapy) have enthusiastically endorsed these systems. I think that, for anyone who is able to look beyond mainstream medicine, they are both worth looking into.

Things to avoid

  • Emotional stress
  • Nervousness
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Dust and dust mites
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Mould
  • All wheat products, bread, msg.
  • All processed foods
  • All canned and bottled fruit juices
  • Fizzy drinks and cola drinks
  • Take away foods
  • Pizza
  • All processed foods
  • Cow’s milk
  • Blue vein Cheese
  • Margarine
  • Eggs
  • Yeast
  • Sulphur in dried fruits
  • Pickles
  • Salts
  • Fats
  • Corn chips
  • Potato chips
  • Hot chips
  • Lollies
  • Chocolate
  • Bee pollen
  • Preservatives
  • Additives
  • Food colourings
  • All chemicals in food
  • Safflower oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Soya bean products
  • Soy drinks
  • Fruit bars
  • Pavlova

Essential Foods

Vegetables: Green bean, broccoli, capsicum, carrot, chili peppers, garlic, ginger, horseradish, mint, mustard, onion, parsley, green pea, radish, watercress, aniseed, all types of green leafy vegetables, sprouted seeds, cabbage, kohlrabi, zucchini, cucumber.

Vegetables juices: Celery, carrot, celeriac root, beet root, green papaya.

Fruits: Blueberry, grape, papaya, lemon, mandarins, orange, pear.

DRIED FRUITS: Date, fig, sultana. (Sulphur-free dried fruits).

FRUIT JUICES: Prune, pineapple, cherry, cranberry.


TEAS: Chamomille, coriander tea with ginger, fenugreek, green tea.

WATER: 1 glass of filtered water every hour during daylight.

Relief for an attack: Try to pace your breathing. Learn to fully exhale and inhale; practice breathing through the nose.

(Adults) black coffee, 1 or 2 cups.

Other remedies

Deep-sea saltwater fish, salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, trout, tuna, cod liver oil, dried beans, fish oil, kelp, liquid chlorophyll, alfalfa tablets, pollen granules, buckwheat, millet, chicken soup, ground flaxseed, primrose oil, mustard, goat’s or sheep’s milk, 2 Brazil nuts daily of Selenium.

In the morning, drink 2 tbls. Apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water; add honey as a sweetener.


Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs

VITAMINS: A, B2, B5, B6, C, E.

MINERALS: Iron, Selenium, copper magnesium.

HERBS: Tumeric tablets, garlic capsules, marjoram tablets, aniseed tablets, cayene pepper capsules, cumin tablets, ginkgo.

DIGESTIVE ENZYMES: Papaya enzymes.