How I Cured My Asthma With One Simple Lifestyle Change

After years of suffering from adult-onset asthma, I promised myself that if I ever found a way to cure myself, I would share that information with the world.  In a way, it’s the reason I started this blog.  It’s taken me until now to write this post because it’s a difficult subject to write about.

Vinyl shower curtains -- attractive but deadly.

I started to experience asthma symptoms on a daily basis in 2001, at the age of 32.  The symptoms (chest tightness, and the annoying feeling that when you take a deep breath it doesn’t “catch” — like you’re not actually getting the air) started immediately after we replaced our cloth shower curtain with a plastic one.  It took me awhile to make the connection, but the toxic PVC fumes released by the hot steam were causing my breathing problems (or at least aggravating an underlying condition to the point where I experienced symptoms).  It probably didn’t help that our house was also full of mold; the upstairs neighbors had flooded their bathroom, the water had dripped down into our kitchen, and our property manager refused to repair the damage (we were renting at the time).  Moldy ceiling tiles — yuck!

We got rid of the offending shower curtain, but my asthma symptoms persisted.  The degree of severity would fluctuate — sometimes I would feel almost normal, other times my breathing was so bad that it was difficult to sleep.

At times I felt helpless and depressed.  Would I ever breathe normally?  At other times I felt determined — I would figure out a way to improve my health and quality of life.

A Little History

My grandma smoked, and she lived to be 102, blah blah blah ...

I grew up in the 70’s, and, like most kids of the 70’s, inhaled my fair share of second-hand smoke.  Now we know that’s a risk factor for asthma.  I forgive my parents and their friends — they knew smoking wasn’t good for them but they had no idea they were hurting the kids.  (The equivalent challenge for my generation, as parents, is to not expose your family to bisphenol-A, which is everywhere).

Once I thought about it, I realized I had experienced asthma symptoms as a teenager, at times.  I had always had a misconception that people with asthma couldn’t take a deep breath; since I could fill my lungs completely, I didn’t think I had asthma.  But the symptoms — chest tightness and that feeling that your lungs aren’t full (even when they are) — were there, even when I was in high school.  But they were intermittent, only lasting a few days at most.

I went to college at UC Davis.  The air in Yolo county is filled with dust and pollen, and I experienced bad hay fever throughout my college years.  No asthma, but lots of sneezing.  It was also during this time, having moved out of my family home, that I realized I was allergic to cats.  I had grown up with cats as pets my entire life.  I had also spent a great deal of time sneezing, and with watery eyes.  Go figure.

What I Tried — SUPPLEMENTS

Starting in 2001 (when I started experiencing asthma symptoms every day) I experimented with a large number of supplements.  Most had no effect on my asthma symptoms.  Some made my symptoms worse.  A few helped to some extent.  Supplements are not the “cure” I’m referring to in the post title, but some are worth mentioning anyway.

Vitamins -- some are good, some are evil.

Multivitamins — Multi-vitamin/mineral supplements tended to aggravate my symptoms, and I haven’t been able to figure out why (too many ingredients, and too many brands to do any kind of controlled experiment).  It could have something to do with the complex synergies that exist among different vitamins and minerals — too much of one ingredient might prevent absorption of another ingredient that is helpful to asthma.  Or maybe one of the ingredients in multi-vitamins catalyzes one of the many possible inflammatory chain reactions that are possible in the human body.  I don’t think it’s an allergic reaction to a filler or a coating, as I’ve tried out many high quality and hypoallergenic brands, all with the same adverse effect.  I suspect one or more of the B vitamins is to blame, since high-potency doses of B-complex also have an adverse effect on my breathing.

Vitamin C – There’s a great deal of research that supports the use of Vitamin C as a treatment of asthma, especially against exercise-induced asthma.  My own experience was that vitamin C provided some relief, and did help reduce asthma symptoms.  It wasn’t a cure, but it helped.  For me, positive benefits seemed to top out at about 500mg/day.

Vitamin B6 — Some research has been conducted on the effect of vitamin B6 supplements on asthma, with mixed results.  My own experience was also mixed; sometimes taking B6 seemed to help, other times not.  B6 may help prevent the overproduction of histamine, and may be more effective at controlling allergies than asthma.

Magnesium — Magnesium helps keep smooth muscle fibers (the kind in your lungs) relaxed.  I’ve noticed a beneficial effect on my breathing from taking magnesium.  Magnesium citrate is a better bet than magnesium oxide — too much of the latter can make you run to the bathroom.  If you want to try taking magnesium, start with a 200mg dose (or less, and work your way up to see how much you can tolerate).  There has been a great deal of research concerning magnesium and asthma.

Evening primrose oil — This oil supplies a fatty acid (GLA) which can have a positive anti-inflammatory effect.  It’s a traditional treatment for asthma in some cultures.  Supporting clinical evidence is weak, but I’ve noticed a beneficial effect from a 1000mg dose.

Bromelain — This is an enzyme extracted from pineapple.  It has a strong anti-inflammatory effect that lasts a few hours.  I found that putting half a pill (250mg) under my tongue (to more quickly absorb the enzyme into my bloodstream) would make me breathe easier within half an hour.  At least one mouse study has found bromelain to be effective against asthma.  On the other hand, if I take too much bromelain, it makes my heart race.

Note on bromelain: A few years ago there was an “asthma cure” going around the internet that recommended megadoses of Blue Bonnet Super Quercetin.  I don’t think quercetin does a thing for asthma, but in my experience bromelain is effective, and that particular formulation contains bromelain.

Fish oil — Keeping a favorable dietary Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acid ratio is extremely important in managing inflammatory conditions.  I’ll go into more detail later, but I recommend fish oil for pretty much everyone (not just to people with asthma, but also to improve heart health and to prevent depression and seasonal affective disorder).  To avoid fish burps, keep fish oil in the refrigerator, and take it with food.  I generally take about 4g of fish oil and/or cod liver oil (in winter) daily, in capsule form.  Here is a summary of research regarding fish oil and asthma.

Raw garlic — In my experience, eating raw garlic is effective against asthma.  Unfortunately, raw garlic comes with its own side effect — garlic breath and even garlic body odor if you eat too much.  To minimize garlic breath, you can chop up a small clove (or half a large clove) into small pieces, swish those pieces around in a small amount of water, and then swallow the whole thing quickly.

Some supplements I found to be effective against allergies (like black seed, nettle, and MSM), but not helpful in controlling asthma symptoms.

What I Tried — DRUGS

I’ve always been wary of using powerful drugs to treat illness — too many side effects and not enough research.  However I quickly grew desperate enough to get over my drug hang-ups and try them all.  Here’s a brief summary of my experience with using drugs to treat asthma.

The classic asthma accessory.

Albuterol Albuterol is one of the most commonly used asthma drugs, and works by relaxing smooth muscle in the lungs, thus easing bronchospasm (airway constriction).  For me, albuterol provided zero relief, and did nothing to improve my PEF.  This was a strong indication that the underlying cause of my symptoms was primarily airway inflammation (more so than airway constriction).  This made sense to me — I had never ended up in the ER with acute breathing problems (many of my friends with asthma have).  My symptoms were less severe, but more chronic.

Steroids (glucocorticoids) — I tried several brands of steroid inhalers, and found that they provided quick, lasting relief.  I remember distinctly at one point taking a normal breath, feeling it “catch,” and experiencing a powerful combined sense of emotional relief, and outright joy.  I would be able to breathe normally again!

I would have been willing to tolerate some of the side effects of glucocorticoid use (weight gain, reduced immunity, muscle weakness, weakened bones), but there was one side-effect I could not tolerate.  Each time I tried inhaled steroids, I would start experiencing severe mood swings within a few days.  One time I even felt suicidal — the first time I had ever experienced that feeling in my life.  Glucocorticoids lower both plasma and brain serotonin levels, and are linked to depression and feelings of aggression.  My violent mood swings stopped as soon as I stopped using them.  Back to the drawing board.

Leukotriene Inhibitors — Leukotrienes are fatty molecules that play a role in immune function and inflammation.  I found the effect of taking a leukotriene inhibitor to be intensely drying (an anti-histamine effect), but not helpful to my asthma symptoms.  This class of drugs is probably more effective for allergic rhinitis (the other condition it is prescribed for).  A very effective, but cheaper (and probably better for you) alternative that does more or less the same thing is black seed (black cumin).  Black seed is very effective against both seasonal allergies and coughs — according to this site black seed oil contains chemicals which inhibit leukotriene synthesis.

Tianeptinetianeptine (Stablon) is an antidepressant drug that works via increasing serotonin uptake (the opposite action of antidepressents like Prozac, which inhibit serotonin reuptake; SSRI = selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor).  Tianeptine has long been known to decrease asthma symptoms; the drug reduces plasma serotonin (high plasma serotonin can induce bronchoconstriction).

I didn’t try tianeptine until I was fairly desperate.  I ordered some from a mail-order company of dubious legality.  I took some, starting with one pill a day, and found that it worked.  Not as well as steroids — but better than most of the supplements I had tried.

There were a few problems with tianeptine; after a few days of taking it I would notice a drop in energy, and well as wonky moods (ups and downs unrelated to my life circumstances).  It’s a powerful drug.  If you’re severely depressed and asthmatic, I would definitely recommend it over any SSRI (for one thing, tianeptine has no sexual side effects).  But for less severe cases of both conditions, there are safer, simpler modes of treatment (keep reading).

What I Tried — DIETARY RESTRICTIONS

I tried modifying my diet to see if it improved my asthma symptoms.  At various times I tried eliminating dairy products, all caffeine, red meat, wheat, red wine, all alcohol, nuts, and a number of other foods and categories of food.  Some of these food trials seemed to work; I would often go days without symptoms.

I kept trying to find the one food that was causing my symptoms.  I ordered an expensive ELISA blood test to try and discover which “hidden food allergies” I might have (I didn’t have any obvious ones — like going into anaphylactic shock if I ate peanuts).  I was surprised that the test showed I was allergic to … no foods at all.  A mild sensitivity to honey (which I rarely ate), and otherwise nothing.

Still, I felt that modifying my diet was somehow the key to managing my symptoms, and that instinct eventually proved to be correct.

What I Tried — OTHER STUFF

Avoiding environmental allergens — I went to an allergist and was tested for various allergies.  I showed strong sensitivities to a wide range of flower, weed and tree pollens.  I was also found to be highly allergic to dust mites.

I bought dust-mite proof covers for my mattress and pillows.  Those did help — with allergies.  I stopped sneezing every morning.  But it didn’t help with asthma.

I found that when I traveled, my asthma symptoms would often disappear.  The pollens I had grown up and become sensitized to weren’t present in other environments.  But I loved living in the Bay Area.  I didn’t want to move.  Air quality is better in San Francisco than in Oakland (mostly because of SF’s proximity to the ocean, and wind), but I didn’t want to move to San Francisco — too much traffic and not enough sun and open space.

In 2002 we did move out of the mold house — we bought a great house in Oakland.  My symptoms improved somewhat, but still persisted.

Buteyko method — the Buteyko method is a breathing technique that can help relieve asthma symptoms.  It works — but it’s extremely difficult!  The basic idea is to slow your breathing and boost the CO2 levels in your bloodstream.  This has the effect of opening up your airways, decreasing both bronchoconstriction and inflammation.  Eventually, you can train yourself to permanently slow your breathing and control asthma symptoms.

I don’t buy the Buteyko method premise that all asthmatics “chronically overbreathe.”  From my limited experience with scuba diving, I learned that I breathe less, or more slowly, than average, yet I still experienced asthma symptoms.  However the techniques are still useful, and can probably prevent a trip to the ER for someone experiencing an acute asthma attack.

Panacea?

The Water Curethis simple, free method (drink way more water, avoid all caffeine, and include some sea salt in your diet) has no doubt worked for some people.  Some of the premises have been found to be bunk (like the idea that all caffeinated beverages — even very weak green tea — are dehydrating), but I think there’s something to the idea that chronic dehydration is closely linked to bronchoconstriction.  Since my asthma symptoms were more related to airway inflammation, rather than constriction, the water cure didn’t do much for me (except make me piss a lot).

Other Observations

Two interesting observations.

  1. Whenever I had a cold, my asthma symptoms would disappear entirely.  Of course, I would be sneezing, congested, and miserable, but no breathing troubles!  This was a clue that the disease was closely linked with immune function.  Perhaps when my immune system was occupied with a real threat (a cold virus), it would ignoring the environmental allergens that would trigger my asthma symptoms.
  2. The same thing was true if I had hay fever.  If I was experiencing allergy symptoms (sneezing, runny nose, watery itchy eyes, etc.) my breathing would be fine.  At the same time I found that drugs or supplements that inhibited histamine would sometimes make my breathing worse.  I realize that many people experience asthma and allergies together.  While I have experienced both conditions, they’ve never occurred at the same time.

I can’t adequately explain either observation, but I wanted to share them nonetheless.

What Worked

I tried most of the above methods between 2001 and 2003.  By 2004, I was reducing my symptoms to some extent with a regular intake of fish oil, evening primrose oil, vitamin C, and magnesium.  Taking fish oil daily was a major turning point — it really helped keep my airway inflammation in check.  I think my Omega-3/Omega-6 fatty acid ratio was severely skewed towards Omega-6 (just as it is in most people in the U.S., including vegetarians and vegans).  The additional Omega-3’s (EPA/DHA) in fish oil helped correct this problem.

I noticed another consistent improvement in my symptoms when I reduced the amount of wheat I was eating.  I sharply reduced the amount of  bread, pasta, pizza, pastries, and even whole-wheat products I was consuming.  My breathing improved, and within a few months I lost about ten pounds of fat and retained water weight.

Solution: eat real food.

In 2006 I began to experiment with going “all the way” with the so-called “paleolithic diet.”  For the most part, I cut out all grains, legumes, cow’s milk, and processed foods.  Instead of having “pile o’ starch” as the basis of every meal, I began to eat animal protein (seafood, poultry, eggs, and meat), fresh fruit, and non-starchy vegetables, with generous amounts of olive oil, butter, and nuts.  I also started to eat grass-fed/pastured meat and butter (much higher in anti-inflammatory Omega-3’s than grain-fed animal products), and to supplement with 5K IU of vitamin D on most days (especially during the winter).

The effects of this dietary experiments were dramatic.  My asthma symptoms virtually disappeared, and I lost an additional ten pounds of fat and retained water.

Why Does It Work?

I think there are at least five reasons why the paleolithic diet is effective against asthma:

  1. The diet improves the Omega-3/Omega-6 ratio, which is effective against inflammatory conditions.
  2. The diet is high in vitamin D.  Vitamin D levels are inversely correlated with asthma symptoms.
  3. The diet is low in lectins, gluten, and casein a1, all of which which are associated with “leaky gut syndrome.”  Whole, undigested proteins (as opposed to amino acids) directly entering your bloodstream via your intestines can trick your immune system into attacking its own tissues (resulting in chronic inflammation).
  4. The diet is relatively low in carbohydrates, which helps keep plasma serotonin levels from getting too high (which can trigger bronchoconstriction).
  5. The diet is very high in phytonutrients, many of which have anti-inflammatory effects.

Asthma is primarily an allergic disease — the immune system reacts with inflammation and airway constriction to factors in the environment (pollen, bacteria, viruses, molds, proteins) that it has become sensitized to.  The paleo diet has the effect of making the immune system less “twitchy” — less prone to autoimmunity and inflammation.

Is It Hard To Eat That Way?

I don’t find it difficult, but I’m not that strict.  I follow Mark Sisson’s “primal” version of the paleolithic diet, which allows dark chocolate, coffee, tea, and some wine and beer.  I also eat some dairy products, but I try to stick to the “a2” casein varieties of dairy (milk and cheese from goats, sheep, and Guernsey cows).  Legumes (beans, peas, and peanuts) aren’t included in the paleo diet, but the lectins can be mostly soaked and cooked out, and they’re packed with antioxidants and other nutrients.  I stay away from soy  (which can mess with hormones) and red kidney beans (packed with toxic lectins), but I sometimes eat green beans, peas, pinto beans, and peanuts.

When I eat out at restaurants, I’ll order protein and vegetables instead of pasta, but if the bread is good I’ll eat a piece.  I have less of a sweet tooth than I did in my starch-binging days, but I still have one — so I eat ice cream or pie once in awhile.

Even with fairly frequent “cheats,” I now breathe easy, and I’ve kept off the extra twenty pounds.

I do need to be careful not to eat too many foods that are naturally high in serotonin, such as plums, bananas, avocados, kiwi, tomatoes and a few others.  These foods can’t raise your brain serotonin, but they can boost your plasma (blood) serotonin, thus possibly triggering bronchoconstriction and asthma symptoms.

I still take supplements — both for general health and to make sure I stay free of breathing problems.  Most important are fish oil (to keep the Omega-3/Omega-6 fatty acid balance tilted towards Omega-3), and magnesium (which has a host of other benefits, like preventing noise-related hearing loss).

What Does “Cure” Mean?

You might object to my use of the word “cure.”  Have you really cured a disease if it can come back at any time?  If you have Type-2 diabetes, and you “cure” the disease by sharply reducing your dietary glycemic load (eating less sugar and starch), and exercising regularly, is it really cured?

Take cancer, for example.  Our bodies are constantly producing cancer cells, but our immune systems generally keep them in check.  We never totally rid our bodies of cancer cells, or bacteria, or viruses, or inflammation, or any of the other factors that cause disease.

You can “cure” scurvy with vitamin C, but the scurvy will come back if you stop ingesting vitamin C for long enough.  You can “cure” a bacterial infection with antibiotics, but those bacteria still lurk in the environment (or on your skin, or in your intestines) and can reinfect you at any time.

I used “cured” in the post title, but I could have also used “healed,” or “completely manage my symptoms.”  I’m still vulnerable to asthma if I eat large amounts of the wrong foods, or inhale gigantic amounts of certain pollens.  But on the whole, I feel like I’ve cured the disease in myself.

If you (or a loved one) have experienced asthma symptoms, I feel for you, and I hope you find this post to be useful.  Even if a modified paleolithic diet doesn’t work for you (or you don’t want to try it), don’t give up.  Keep trying things — don’t settle for an inferior quality of life.  If you find the right combination of factors, the body is capable of healing itself.

103 responses to “How I Cured My Asthma With One Simple Lifestyle Change

  1. I’m impressed by the variety of experiments you tried and your awareness of your body’s reactions to them. It bums me out that paleolithic has had such good results for you b/c I’m vegetarian with vegan aspirations, but I feel like crap. Food makes me crazy. As does my asthma, which has landed me in the hospital a few times and so far has been “cured” only by lung steroids. You’ve definitely given me something to think about.

  2. Thanks Alyson. You might try a raw foods diet (either with or without animal products) if you don’t want to try paleo — I don’t know if there’s research to support that approach, but I’ve read many anecdotal success stories asthma symptoms going away with raw foods diets. It might actually work for the same reasons — greatly reducing gluten and casein and thus allowing the immune system to “calm down.”

    Or you could try meat-free paleo if you’re willing to eat some animal products, like fish.

    Good health to you!

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  5. I like how you had the one paragraph on your definition of ‘cure’. If you have eliminated your symptoms by means of eliminating the causes of inflammation I would say that it is indeed a ‘cure’.

    You have cured yourself of the Standard American Diet. Congrats.

    If everyone else was as persistent and self-motivated as you were,the US probably wouldn’t have the health-crisis that it is now facing.

  6. hi jd moyer!
    thanks for sharing your success story! can you tell where you bought your grass-fed butter/meat from?

  7. Your story has a lot of parallels with my own experience with asthma! I have also found that my symptoms have greatly improved by changing my eating habits. For years doctors told me that diet has nothing to do with asthma, but I always suspected that it might for me, and now I know that it definitely does.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  8. Carla — doctors told me the same thing — most of them don’t know any better. One doctor said something that did make sense — he “confessed” that the current medical understanding of the causes of inflammation is quite primitive. Still, it’s frustrating that not a single doctor (or the acupuncturist I saw — didn’t mention that one) said “try cutting out the grains and sugar.”

    Kevin — check out http://www.eatwild.com/ for good sources of grass-fed meat in your area. Kerrygold is a good brand of pastured butter (from Ireland — the cows eat grass year-round there). http://www.kerrygold.com/usa/product.php

  9. there is now extensive data on the role of vitamin D in asthma and a controlled trial showing that vitamin D supplements dramatically reduce the number of attacks. The improvement noted on fish oil is probably due to its vitamin D content rather than the omega 3’s. The role of vitamin D in asthma also explains why so many have more severe attacks in the winter-it is when you vitamin D levels are lowest. Here is a site that has all the information:
    http://www.vitaminD-for-asthma.com
    I have two friends with asthma and both have improved dramatically since starting on D.

  10. Thanks for the comment Toby — I agree that vitamin D is extremely important in reducing asthma symptoms. It may be the answer to the mystery of why asthma has been increasing in frequency for years — caution around sun exposure has risen to a hysterical degree and vitamin D levels have decreased dramatically as a result.

    Certainly, for someone who wasn’t motivated in making a major change in their diet, taking 5K IU of vitamin D daily (or just getting more sun, in climates/seasons where that was an option) would be a great place to start. It’s easy and cheap!

    Is it the *only* reason that paleo is helpful for many people with asthma? Who knows. Personally, I’m happy with the other “side effects” of getting off grains and going more paleo (like reduced body fat, more energy, and better digestion). I’m not willing to do a controlled experiment to see which was the most important factor (for me). But it’s certainly possible that it was vitamin D.

    Great to hear about your friends feeling better. Good health to you!

  11. Vitamin D deficiency would certainly explain why asthma and allergies are getting so much more common. Especially with dermatologists still telling everyone to keep out of the sun. Every time a hear about a child dying from asthma in the UK I wonder if anyone ever thought to check their vitamin D levels and I suspect not.

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  13. I am impressed with the extended knowledge and information i got from this site and would like to receive as much information as possible with regard to asthma and its ways of cure or improving. I am an asthmatic patient whom has spent more than 24 years with this horrible disease.. I wonder if things can be solved now after messing up with my immune system taking lots of steroids to calm down the disabling symptoms I had experienced all my life.
    I am approaching 50yrs this coming December and had bronchial asthma since I was 26..
    Any help from your side would be highly appreciated

    rawdha

    • Dear Rawdha – Please take heart – this wonderful man is so right and worth listening to. In 2000 my life changed due to asthma diagnosis following suffering influenza. I was simply given inhalers and steroids by the doctor and told I was now asthmatic. I was only 37. I was eating pasta a lot and many of the other ‘evil’ foodstuffs too whilst I embarked on this new horrific ‘you are asthmatic now’ life path. It took bouts of determination (hard when you are lowered by the medication given so freely by the GP’s and labelled more or less to be crippled by the condition) and anger at being labelled as such and 12 years of self-investigation into my own causes, which are similar to JD Moyer. It is wheat wheat and wheat – every time with me and ALL the other stuff he mentions. Through elimination of asthma/anaphylactic resultant foods etc I am now comfortable, healthy, and NON-asthmatic! I believe I am probably unconsciously following the paleolithic way of nutrition too. My mum once told me that asthma didnt exist back in the stone age days – as they didnt know how to ‘use’ wheat etc then and they certainly didnt farm massive quantities of it to mass feed trillions of people!! She was right. JD Moyer should have the Noble Peace Prize! Please take heed and look at what you eat and start eliminating the wrong things and I promise you will get better. Serious. Kindest wishes.

  14. Hi there,
    i was wondering if your home has any carpets. is it possible to live with carpets and ‘cure’ asthma at the same time?
    thanks,
    al

  15. From a reader who was having technical difficulties with the comments …

    Hi JD;

    My asthma is pretty well characterized by the description of cough type asthma:

    http://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/cough-variant-asthma

    Like you, my experience is that allergens don’t seem to play a major role, and there is little benefit from albuterol.

    I need inhaled steroids for counteracting the following 2 side effects of inflammation:

    1. When playing racquetball in cold courts, I will get a strong irritation, need to cough, and shortness of breath.

    2. If catching a cold, it will often cause a chronic bronchitis, that only disappears after a course of antibiotics, this is especially true in the winter.

    I never get Asthma attacks that keep me from breathing, but I am aware of the levels of inflammation,

    Level 1. without inflammation, everything feels normal/right
    Level 2. I have liquids in my airways
    Level 3. The liquid has turned into a thick slime that cannot be coughed up, with a slight wheezing when exhaling forcefully.

    Normally I will progress from level 1 to level 3 if stopping using inhaled steroids within a few days to a week depending on the weather, faster if it is cold and humid.

    If restarting the steroids, I will go through level 2 before reaching level 1.

    Do anybody else (or JD) have similar symptoms?

    I will try the paleo diet, my experience with low carb was that I needed 1-2 hours extra sleep, felt fatigued, and subjectively thought my IQ dropped 10-20 points. I suppose there is a level of carb intake, where these symptoms diminish.

    Jan

  16. In response to Jan … low carb isn’t for everybody, but there are medium and even high carb varieties of the paleo diet. The traditional Kitavan diet is an example of the latter. Here’s a good post describing the diet and health of the Kitavans:

    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/08/kitava-wrapping-it-up.html

    Since you probably don’t live on a tropical island among coconut trees, with easy reef fishing, the question is what practical steps can you take to see if diet modification has a positive effect (without turning your life upside down).

    A reasonably easy experiment would be to try eliminating all grains and grain products for two weeks, then two weeks with no milk proteins, then two weeks with no nightshades. There are other foods aren’t “allowed” on a paleo diet, but my guess is that gluten and casein are the most problematic.

    In response to Al — I don’t know! If there is mold underneath the carpets that might be a problem … similarly if the carpets are new and off-gassing. Then again you might make a diet change, and/or get your vitamin D levels up, and find yourself asymptomatic.

    Good health to all of you.

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  18. JD, Have you looked at the Blue Zone research?

    It is research about the people on the planet who live the longest and have the longest healthy lives. They are people from Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; The Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica; The Island of Sardinia, and…. I forget the other places.

    These people all eat very different things, what they have in common is:
    high carbohydrate diets- the Okinawan people, who live the longest, eat 80%carbs!
    They all eat a LOT of vegetables.
    They all eat mostly unprocessed or traditionally processed foods. (The traditional processing makes the food they process even MORE nutritious)
    They eat super high anti-oxidant foods.
    LOW amount of animal products

    Differences:
    different sources of protein
    different vegetables and fruit
    different amounts of fat- some eat high fat, some eat low fat

    This seems to some things in common with the paleo diet- whole foods, but with some very important differences- very little animal products, and high carbohydrates being the key differences.

    If you look into it, I would love to hear your thoughts. You seem like a thoughtful and observant person from your posts.

    PS: The people who live in the Blue Zones are AMAZING. They don’t just live longer, but the same- they are people who are 99 years old and still riding around on their bicycles and chopping wood. They usually die in their sleep. They get happier and happier after the age of 80. Reading about these people have made me not dread getting old. I think if we changed our lifestyles to match theirs, we would have a dramatically better society, and much happier lives.

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  20. I have almost/totally cured/controlled my asthma by following strict diet regimen. I cut down on carbohydrates and oily foods totally. I don’t eat fried foods at all, instead I eat lots of fruits like apples and orange, and eat vegetables like carrot and Bengal gram salted. I got my breath back after suffering this menace called asthma for an year. I’ve been in hell all year with asthma. I used to experience asthma attack everyday 4-5 times even after taking high amounts of corticosteroids and bronco dilators every day. Now after I changed my lifestyle by sacrificing certain foods mentioned above, I am back to normal. I was healthy for 27 yrs of my life till the last year of hell with asthma. Now I dont take inhalers anymore. Asthma is curable, and its in your hands. Asthma medications will be needed only if you take it regularly and asthma attack also occurs regularly.

  21. Manohar — glad to hear it and thanks for sharing.

    Braidwood — I am familiar with the Blue Zone research to some extent. In some ways it’s similar to Weston Price’s work. Eating unrefined foods and lots of nutrient rich foods is probably more important than macro-nutrient balance (high carb or low carb). There are quite a few traditional/paleo diets that are high carb — the Kitavans for example. The Okinawans eat lots of green vegetables, sweet potatoes, some rice (which is gluten free), and pork. Except for the small amount of rice, it’s a paleo diet. They also have a tradition of moderate caloric restriction which has its own anti-aging benefits.

    There may be a genetic element to some of the Blue Zone groups. Sardinians look freakishly young for their age. Maybe it’s the olive oil, maybe the vigorous physical work, or maybe it’s the common G6PD deficiency which alters glucose metabolism.

    I watched a video of Dan Buettner talking about the commonalities among the various Blue Zone diets. His summary point was “They all seem to eat a lot of beans.” Interesting. ;-)

  22. Fascinating. Luckily I only have very occasional bouts with asthma and they tend to go away pretty quickly on their own. Migraines, on the other hand…. :) Figuring those out is another sleuthing journey, which I’ve been somewhat successful with. I find that the other key factor for all of these things is stress, pure and simple. It’s so key!

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  24. It’s pretty interesting to see that asthma symptoms can be mitigated, if not cured, by a strict diet. In my business we emphasize eliminating the source of environmental exposure, but I may have to try this out on my own.

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  26. My 12 yr old step daughter has been hospitalized for asthma many times and seemed to be brought on by winter, dust, smoke, animal dander, running, pollen, getting upset. She couldn’t even be in a house with cats very long before he eyes would get red and puffy and said she had trouble breating. We put her on a strict gluten & casein free diet and after about 4 weeks her allergies and asthma went away. She drinks almond milk and we try to have her avoid gluten and casien now. She and her brother have two kittens for over 6 months now and she even sleeps with one every night with no reactions or allergies. She is also in dance and said she came in 2nd running the mile at school. Sometimes she eats honey buns at school and about 24 hrs later will start itching & rubbing her face but avoids gluten & casien more and takes her omega 3 & mulitvitamin every night and the symptoms go away again.

    Unfortunately she was at her mom’s for a few days and they gave her lots of cake and ice cream and about 24 hrs later she had to go to the hospital because she couldn’t breath and they gave her all these meds. This happened last time she was there too.

    I read that gluten & casein can cause a lot of different immune problems depending on what part of your body/organ the immune system is the weakest. Her brother has eczema on his legs that seem to go away with avoidance of gluten & casien.

  27. Holly — glad to hear about your step daughter’s success with getting rid of asthma symptoms with diet — that certainly mirrors my own experience. If she has more symptoms during winter that may indicate that vitamin D is also a factor — has she had her levels checked?

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  29. Hi – I am smiling as I read your article and I want to shake your hand please. Like you – I was adult onset asthma diagnosis – following the UK ‘millenium influenza’ in 2000 I went to GP who told me I had resultant bronchial exhaustion. I left the surgery with salbutamol and ventolin, prednisolone and antibiotics – for long and short term use. My problems with breathing, skin rashes, sore eyes, running nose started thus as my life changed into hell. As these problems escalated, my life went down the pan – I tried every form of supplement, medication, over the counter ‘cure’ – some helped temporarily, some not at all. I went from a yoga doing, happy, easy going, very naturally slim clear skinned person to an edgy, nervous, lethargic, overweight bloated, depressed, constantly itching/covered in urticaria mess. It has taken till now – 2012 – to find the answer – wheat, sulphates, salycilamide – (and the rest!) are causing all this. I never eat wheat (pasta makes me near anaphylactic!), cheap chocolate, brightly coloured coating painkillers or drugs, tomatoes, strawberries, advocados etc – all the things you mention and a few more. I dont drink cheap wine or use toxin filled shower wash. I lost 2 stone, have clear skin, positive outlook and dont use inhalers at all. I have a cat too. I dont miss any of the offending cause foodstuffs at all. Wheat is the MAIN culprit – tomatoes, strawberries the next. I am proud to be paleolithic!
    3 cheers for you and bless your kind heart for sharing your info.

  30. ps. Grilled Mackerel, salmon, sardines, new baby potatoes, broccoli, pears, pinenuts are fabulous for zero symptoms. Magnesium, Flaxseed oil (good quality capsules only though), vitamin C and water, water, water. One week, my asthma, urticaria and bloating were so bad I was literally ‘driven’ to eating only what I truly was ‘drawn to’ – the above foods. The result was incredible – absolutely incredible. Sorry GP’s – I dont need your inhalers and prednisolone any more! Its within us all to cure ourselves. Serious.

  31. Christina

    Hi J.D.
    Thanks for your post. I suffered from asthmas for about 15 years since I was 3 months old. I couldn’t do sports and my mom was always keeping an eye on everything I did to make sure I didn’t ‘play too hard’ and get myself sick. I was hospitalized many times and lived on inhalors and antibiotics. I even had my own nebulizer machine at home. When I went away to boarding school my asthma went away. I think its because I had a very bad diet growing up and it improved at the school.
    I started the Paleo diet about a year and a half ago for weight loss and lost weight and felt amazing. I went to Naples, Itlay, so of course I had to treat myself to authentic Pizza there. We ate nothing but pizza, gelato, and fancy sugary coffees the for 4 days, when I got back home I got a terrible cold and asthma attack. After 15 years of no attacks! I am SURE it is because of all the wheat and sugar consumed without anything else. Normally when I cheat it is just one thing here and there, but remain paleo 80% of the time.
    Your post confirms my suspicions that my attack is due to an entire weekend of consuming the wrong things.
    I used to love pizza and consumed a lot of it as a child. My mom felt bad for me and let me treat myself to whatever I wanted to help me feel better since I was sick…no wonder I never got better until I left home!
    I have a little nephew that has bad asthma as well and it is the same thing. My sister acts just like my mother did. I will send her your article. Thanks for posting!

    • Thanks Christina. I wonder if moving away from home also gave your immune system a break from local allergens (which is not to say diet isn’t part of the equation — you confirmed that was the case). Good health to you!

  32. Hi J.D.

    Thanks for all suggestion.my dad will get cure following diet as you did.

    Thank you so much
    Ashwini -India

  33. I’ve also struggled with asthma, especially as an adult, and have long been convicted about (even had great success with) the diet correlation – just need to get back on it, and stick to it. My son was diagnosed with autism at age 3, and my daughter was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis as a toddler. It began in one knee, but when we put her in childcare which served lots of wheat & processed foods, her arthritis spread to both knees, ankles, and wrists. She was put on high doses of Naproxen, steroid injections, and weekly methotrexate injections… until I couldn’t stand seeing her so pale and sick from these meds. We all began the gluten-free, casein-free diet, and within weeks all of daughter’s joints were (slightly damaged but) back to normal, and we quit the meds never to go back on them. My son took awhile longer to recover from the severity of autism, but he is only mildly affected by it now. I read that 30% cases of autism are auto-immune related, and those are the most likely to recover. You’d think that seeing these cures in my children would keep us away from wheat and gluten! But after a few years, we all began eating these regularly again. Her arthritis is still in remission, but my asthma is getting worse. Thank you… I do wish doctors would admit how diet can CURE… The rheumatologist gave me so much grief about it, said it wasn’t scientific at all. Yeah, well, it worked. ;)

    • That sounds like a tough road — best wishes to you and your family for getting and staying healthy!

      Some MD’s are starting to look at the research regarding how food and the immune system can interact — others are skeptical because the research is new and it wasn’t part of their training. Those attitudes can be frustrating, especially when you’ve experienced dramatic changes first hand.

      Robb Wolf’s site has great resources re: food and autoimmunity:

      http://robbwolf.com/category/autoimmunity/

      In terms of autism, there’s some interesting research re: methyl B12, glutathione, and variants of the MTHFR gene.

      http://drneubrander.com/blog/category/mthfr/

  34. Mohammed Sunusi Faggo

    God help us to find Asthma medicine cure

  35. Hi. I just had to say thank you for writing such an informative post. It is so wonderful to have people like you who take the time to write about their experiences and give others a ray of hope.

    My son has an asthmatic cough literally everytime he catches a cold or cough. It turns into a persistent heavy whooping type cough. Like you did I am experimenting diet changes which I also believe are vital to many illnesses mainly due to the many artificial additives and chemical in and used to produce todays products. I also believe 100% in fish oil. This is a unrecognised miracle. When I’ve not been persistent with this I notice the difference.
    I’m glad you have found a way to deal with your symptoms and wish you all the best for the future.

    • It’s quite bad hearing your kid cough! When my own daughter gets a chest cough after a cold, vitamin D and zinc-rich food (or supplements) helps clear it up much faster. Good health to you and your family.

  36. Hello, your article was fantastic, I have had asthma since a baby and it troubled me growing up, the symptoms stopped for about 6 or 7 years as a teenager/young adult but just recently they have been coming back and it has been hard to deal with (not catching air, sleepless nights, I even pulled a muscle in my chest trying to inhale too hard) I am now back on the inhaler but I don’t want that to be all I do. Your article has given me some great information, I am going to change my diet and begin taking fishoil and some other good supplements. Thanks again for the info, it was a great help

  37. Great to see that vitamin D finally helped you – it’s nothing new, vitamin D was proved as effective treatment years ago. But I can’t understand why you give credit to this “paleo” crap for it? Vitamin D helps everyone equally, regardless of diet.

    • I agree that vitamin D is probably the first thing to try in regards to reversing asthma symptoms, but most paleo diets are anti-inflammatory, and that can make a big difference for people with lung inflammation. I’m not a doctor — just sharing my personal experience. For me changing my diet made a huge difference (and when I “cheat” and eat large amounts of wheat and dairy, asthma and allergies return, regardless of vitamin D intake).

  38. Jo-Anne

    I struggle with the way people say “strict diet”……….as if processed/factory food high in wheat, sugar and dairy is food and therefore eliminating it diminishes your life in some way…..

    Perception is reality I suppose…….

  39. This article is really an eye-opener. I am particularly greatful to J Moyer for this wonderful piece. I read it over and over again, all obervations and comments noted. I am definitely going to try it out.Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

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  42. A Traveler from Philippines

    Hi, by internet research due to my 8 y.o. daughter’s asthma I came to your page. Your “discovery” of Asthma treatment has strongly supported my findings —- I was asthmatic during my childhood days and there was no medicines during my time and in my area, the only thing that stopped my labored breathing was my late aunt’s touch/slow massage on my back until I fell asleep. Now, having a child of my own, and, suprisingly, got a wife with skin asthma also…suffice to say that an increased probability would be having a child who’ll be asthmatic also. On my research, the center of all autoimmune disease is the immune system, next is the gut. I changed my daughter’s diet with lots of fiber and adding lactobacillus to it —either by yogurt or we have the local “Yakult” brand here in Philippines. There was no asthma or cough attacks/labored breathing except when stressed out from travelling but usually worn out fast. But after forgetting the high fiber vegetable diet due to busy days and travelling, her asthma went back. Another, empirical approach, was coming from my younger brother’s abnormal skin allergic reaction —-during his 5th year in college and probably severe stressed reaction due to his thesis deadline, he developed an abnormal allergic reaction of his skin suddenly —-doctor prescribed him an anti-inflammatory drug, the result was significant but left him drowse to sleep, and the four hours effect was reduced to 2 hours until one hour —a bite of an ant could create an all over the body itch and inflammation, and worsen, just by thinking of an itch in any part of his body, it created all over body inflammation –the medications failed. Until, I “theorized” that since it’s the immune system decision in error —– his body would be teaching his immune system how to react in the right way without meds., and, that is by enduring the itch without scratching his skin, after 4 hours of itching ordeal, I observed my brothers skin began to lessen the inflammatory reaction, but the thought of itch, the skin inflamed again, until on the 2nd or 3rd day without medication,his skin allergy was gone. It did return after a week but he didn’t mind it at all, and it was literally gone.

    • You present some good examples of trying low-impact, low risk therapies first. If simple dietary changes or behavioral changes are effective, they’re almost always cheaper, easier, faster, and most importantly less risky than taking internal medications (especially steroids).

  43. Hey , thanks so much for posting this.
    It sounds like you tried a lot of stuff and then something worked is a cause for hope .
    I have been hearing about this “paleo diet”
    and will read up more about it after reading your blog and see how it’s doable for me. I have tried variations of the medications and am quite sick of the side-effects.
    I am thinking of trying some serious Kriyas that are done to cleanse the body
    aside from some of the other stuff you mentioned. It is a yoga course specificallly for asthma and respiratory ailments.

    http://www.yogavision.net/bsy/hmc.htm

    I have bookmarked you.
    Thanks again for all the details and for giving a fellow asthma suffer, hope.

  44. Great post, thanks for sharing! It’s rare to find anecdotal accounts that are this well written and thus useful.

    For a long I could remember I’ve had a stuffy nose. Interestingly, I’ve found the exact same diet that helps your asthma helps my symptoms as well (countless visits to doctors never helped). Medicine has a long way to go!

  45. I want to say a big thank you to you. I got d message on 7th of july 2012. I wil try this method and i pray that the good LORD will heal me in JESUS Name amen!

  46. Thank you for your post. You have confirmed a lot. I just developed asthma which like you didn’t become severe until a certain trigger. Mine was the heat wave we are now experiencing. I have been prescribed the steroid and is working. But I am concerned about its long term effects and do not want to be on it. From what I know, you can cut the steroid cold turkey and it is something you have to wean off gradually. Just want to know how you did it without suffering any effects. And did you do it after you went paleo or before? I am about 70%-80% paleo, but obviously should try the 100%. Many thanks!

    • Hi Helga — please consult with your doctor about an ideal tapering-off schedule for steroids if you are getting good results from diet, fish oil, vitamin D, etc. It will probably depend on how long you have been using them. For more details re: “what to try first,” you might also check out this post:

      http://jdmoyer.com/2012/04/17/asthma-protocol/

      Good health to you!

  47. Reu nwoko

    I like the teaching. My asthma is too serious.. Please is it possible for somebody having asthma to live long?

    • Don’t give up hope. I was quite surprised when my breathing returned to normal — I had feared I had done irreversible damage to my lungs. Asthma is a reversible condition — not a death sentence. Keep experimenting with lifestyle changes until you can breathe easily again. Good health to you!

  48. I have tried everything you have tried except for this specific diet which I will try now.My asthma seems to be getting worse, I used to climb mountains, rock climb,hike and do a lot of cardio and extreme exercises and sports non of which I can do now to to the lack of breath. I hope this works. Thank you for putting this together.

  49. How long did it take to eliminate your asthma?

    • For me it was a gradual healing process over two years or so as I learned which supplements and dietary changes had a positive effect. The most dramatic changes, noticeable within a few days, were adding fish oil, adding 5K per day of vitamin D (I take less now), and eliminating grains. Please see my Asthma Protocol post for more details, and suggestions re: what to try first.

      Good health to you!

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  51. Hi J D,
    I had asthma when I was a child and I thought I was able to keep it in control, However, now that I am in my 40’s the asthma has returned. Its a horrible feeling and thank you for sharing your cure with everyone, I shall try the fish oil and cut down on my grain intake for starters.

  52. Today I ‘had it up to here’ with asthma symptoms after nearly suffocating in my sleep. Again. I have an aversion to pharmaceuticals and simply googled ‘ cure for asthma’ and stumbled upon this page. I enjoyed the read and when the paleo punchline came, I was so excited. I have been doing paleo every spring for a few years, to detox and reset after winter. The diet suits me. I will try it now, at peak allergy season and see what happens. Thank you!

  53. Thanks for sharing! I used to take steroids for the last 30 years 3 times a day, I changed my diet some time ago to foods which agree with my blood type and personalized it with no wheat, no msgs and most important food with very low or no histamine levels – everything improved greatly. (Asthma, Excema, allergies) I also just started a chinese supplement recommended by my tcm doctor called Cordyceps Sinensis Hyphas, I am into the second week and I am only taking my Steroids once a day (for my own sanity, after 30 years its hard to leave it all together) and on the way to not take it at all anymore. Will keep you posted, but its a great feeling!!! Of course always ask a doctor about supplements!

  54. Mr. Moyer,
    I cannot begin to thank you for all of your helpful information. I have been suffering from anxiety, asthma & allergies for the last 46 years, of which I was on allergy shots and inhalers for 20 of them. Like you I‘ve researched and tried just about everything under the sun for the last 20 years. I started your version of the Paleo diet 3 weeks ago, and can already see/feel a change in my asthma, especially taking the fish oil and cutting out all the starches. At the same time I’ve stopped all caffeine, hoping this will help with the anxiety, this has been tough since I enjoy coffee so much, but I’m sure it will be worth it.
    Mr. Moyer , I want to say that you are the first anxiety, asthma & allergies website/blog that I’ve come across that was so complete on all your research, trials and tribulations, God Bless You and keep up the great job you are doing, you are literally helping/touching and saving lives, you should be very proud!
    Sincerely,
    Reece//Waco, TX

    • That’s great news — glad to hear you are having positive results! Vitamin D may also be a great help if you aren’t already taking it.

      Niacinamide may be helpful for anxiety. See Prousky’s research.

      Good health to you!

  55. I’m 42 yrs old I had a really bad cold that the doctors say turned into bronchitis. Then they said it is now asthma. WHAT. I’m taking asmanex
    1 to 2 puffs a day. It works wonderful. But who wants to take this forever. My skin has dried out from taking meds no matter how much water I drink. And now I have hives and itch. Doctors say to keep taking asmanex and now anti-histamines tabs. They said they can switch my inhaler. I am anemic. But they didn’t check my vit D level’s. When i stopped taking the inhaled steroid for 1 wk everything started again. Wheezing and hard to breath. I was in the hospital 3 times this year, at least the food was good. No more english muffins you say or rice. I’m asian and have eaten rice everyday since forever. Have you heard of taking Quercetin and bromelain like in large amounts. If you say this is a cure who can say no. Can’t thank you enough for posting this. Thank you and GOD bless you and your family.
    Lisa

    • Hi Lisa! I eat rice once in awhile and it doesn’t seem to trigger asthma symptoms. Many people are OK with gluten-free grains. Experiment and see what works. Mark Sisson’s “Primal” diet is a good starting point.

      In my experience bromelain in an effective anti-inflammatory. Too much can raise your heart rate, but I think the side effects are more tolerable than inhaled steroids.

      Vitamin D and fish oil can make a huge difference. See my “Asthma Protocol” post for more details. Good health to you!

  56. There is a cure for asthma
    My baby boy has asthma since he was born.
    I got sick and tired of watching his asthma.
    I was able to heal him, without any drugs or food. The frequency of attacks has been almost reduced to ZERO.
    And if ever an asthma attack is unavoidable, it doesn’t affect him at all, to mean that it is an asthma attack but for us and him, it appears more like just nothing what so ever.

    not just on my kid, I have a friend who has more frequent asthma attack say ANYTIME of the WEEK, how about that … and in front of me, I used the method and she wondered what I did because from DEEP BREATHING as if like lacking of oxygen in her body .. she breathe normal in just 5-ten minutes. That’s why I was able to convince her to give the method a try, and in the past two weeks, her personality is changing for the better and she has no asthma attack for the record since her acceptance of the method.

    I can’t divulge the exact method I used here. And though the method I will explain below is not the actual method we used, still it’s the same field.

    But I can give you a tip that when it comes to medical treatment, we should give CREDIT and at least GIVE BENEFIT to someone who we always neglect.

    A CLINICAL HYPNOTHERAPIST

  57. Thank you so much for sharing your story – it sounds very similar to mine, I will have to try some more supplements you mentioned…thanks again!

  58. Emmanuel Nartey Washington

    Am suffering from asthma since all my life and now i will be 27 in October 30, 2012
    Please how can you help me with this?
    Emmanuel from Ghana.

  59. Kevin Grant

    Thank you so much! You’ve given me hope!

  60. How long did it take from taking supplements and diet change to see significant improvement?
    Ive been glutten free and dairy free for a week and started taking supplements but humidity has been in the 90% zone and its killing me.
    Thanks

    • Please see my comments above re: my own recovery experience. I would suggest going full paleo for 30 days (you could try Mark Sisson’s “30 day challenge”) and see if you notice beneficial effects. I hope you feel better soon!

  61. and would you have considered yourself a mild, moderate or severe asthmatic?

  62. I have been taking Symbicort and experienced major side effects (irritibility & even vomiting)…I am going to start to try some of your suggestions as your symptoms sound very similar to mine…Thank you!!!

  63. Danielle

    Thank you for all this info. I have a 5 year old son that suffers from allergies, asthma and eczema. We have tried many things, he is now on Flonase at night and singular in the mornings. His moods are horrible, he is very aggressive and irritable. I know young boys are destructive but he is a little overboard. I feel so bad for him. Just today I made h a pb&j sandwich for lunch. He tore the sandwich apart and then started crying saying he wanted a different one. It’s like a monster overtakes his body for a few minutes and he does not understand why. After reading your blog we have decided to take him off the Flonase and singular and his multivitamins and try what you did. Do you have any other suggestions thatight help us?? Thank you

    • Hi Danielle. Strict diets can be especially hard for little kids, but if you can go for “less allergenic” options (rice instead of wheat, goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk, no peanuts, low sugar, and so on) that might be helpful. In terms of omega-3’s, my daughter (she’s 4) actually goes for the canned wild salmon (I think she likes it better than fresh because it’s so salty). 1000IU vitamin D a few times a week may also help. Include probiotic foods and avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. Keep experimenting, try to find a doctor who will work with you on diet, and stay hopeful. Asthma is reversible!

  64. Hi, I was wondering if you mostly nose breathe like in the Buteyko Method in addition to the new diet? I have had serious asthma for 26 years and recently cut out all dairy, started taking magnesium and now eat a very plant-strong diet and do feel mostly better. But I did this in addition to the Buteyko Method which has made a huge difference. However, there are still frustrating days when my nose still gets stuffy and I get sick taping my mouth at night or clearing my nose. But, I don’t use my inhaler anymore, which is amazing. But, I was curious if you had to change you breathing to mostly nose breathing too, or if it mattered in your case? Did you feel like your allergies got better too?

    Thanks!

    • I have very little nasal congestion since I cut out most grains, so I nose breath naturally (without thinking about it). And yes, allergies are much better!

  65. I haven’t tried anything but I keep on having heartburn problems and I keep on having asthma problems(yes I’m Asthmatic). So what should I do??

    • GERD and asthma are sometimes related. What can you do?
      1. Try 30 days paleo diet, and see if it helps.
      2. For me, I found it helpful to not think of myself as “asthmatic” or to think about “my asthma,” but rather to think of asthma symptoms that I either was or was not having. Asthma is reversible, and it may help to let go of any identity you have around your symptoms. I realize this is difficult when you have been experiencing symptoms for years — I’ve been there.

  66. Hi-

    I constantly have the symptoms you mentioned above (“chest tightness, and the annoying feeling that when you take a deep breath it doesn’t “catch” — like you’re not actually getting the air”). I’ve never had an attack, and I do not consider myself a severe asthmatic. I take Advair twice a day as well as fish oil and magnesium. I’ve started cutting down on wheat, and I think that I am noticing a difference. I was wondering to what extent you can “cheat?” The biggest problem for me is sauces/dressings, sometimes I dont even know they contain wheat.

    Thanks

    • It sounds like your asthma symptoms are chronic, like mine were, but that doesn’t means they’re not reversible.

      As for “cheats” it depends on the food, and on my general health, and on air quality (both in terms of pollution and allergens I’m sensitized to). Often when traveling I can eat whatever I want with no symptoms, as I’m not sensitized to any of the local pollens, and in dryer and colder climates there are fewer dust mites. In the Bay Area I’ll notice negative symptoms (first allergies, then breathing trouble) if I eat wheat a few days in a row.

  67. Hi everyone — I’m closing comments on this post, as I’ve pretty much said what I have to say about asthma. I hope some of the information in this post and in the comments is helpful to you!

    You might also take a look at my “Asthma Protocol” post:

    http://jdmoyer.com/2012/04/17/asthma-protocol/

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