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Disease prevention and treatment

How to control Asthma

If you turn to conventional medicine for the answer to asthma the "cure" may be worse than the condition, says Richard Firshein , D.O., an osteopathic physician in New York City.

" I believe that the approach of modern medicine to this disease has been woefully inadequate and misguided," Dr. Firshein says. "Asthma medications have often worsened the condition over the long term, since they treat the symptoms and not the problem, and few doctors have developed the kind of comprehensive treatment program that emphasizes healing and prevention."

MAGNESIUM: Opens the Airways

"If I had to recommend one nutrient for people with asthma it would be magnesium," says Dr. Firshein. The mineral acts as a natural bronchodilator, meaning that it relaxes and opens the bronchial tract, the airway to the lungs that becomes constricted during asthma attacks. He recommends taking a daily 500 - milligram supplement of either magnesium aspartate or magnesium citrate. You can take this supplement every day for 6 months, he suggests.

FATTY ACIDS: Reduce Lung Inflammation

The lungs become inflamed during asthma attacks, which makes it harder to breathe. To reduce inflammation naturally turn to the Omega - 3's found in fish and flaxseed oil.

" Asthma involves both an acute inflammatory response and a secondary, late - phase inflammatory reaction that can occur up to 24 hours later and lasts for weeks," explains Dr. Firshein. "The late - phase response is now believed to be the cause of chronic asthma and tissue damage, and it can be halted by Omega - 3 fatty acids".

There are a couple of cautions, however. About 10 percent of people with asthma (those who are sensitive to aspirin) get worse after taking fish oil. If you're aspirin-sensitive, take fish oil only with the supervision and approval of your physician.

ANTIOXIDANTS: Fight Body-damaging Free Radicals

Your body naturally produces unstable, cell-damaging molecules called free radicals, and the level of free radicals rises when there's inflammation in the body. Since asthma is an inflammatory disease, Dr. Firshein theorizes that free radicals do much of the damage.

One way to control free radicals and limit their damage is to take supplements containing antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamins C and E.

NAC: scoops Up Free Radicals

The amino acid n-acetylcysteine is a powerful scavenger of free Radicals, says Dr. Firshein. "It is also a building bless ck for glutathione, one of the most powerful free radical quenchers available to the body," he says. NAC even helps prevent mucus from accumulating in the lungs.

QUERCETIN: Help for Allergies

Allergies often worsen asthma, says Dr. Firshein . If you have allergies, he recommends taking quercetin, a compound in the bioflavonoid family. "Quercetin has been scientifically well - documented for it's anti-allergic and antihistamine properties," he says.

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Airways Asthma D.O Firshein New York City

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