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Asthma—Simplified

Majid Ali, M.D.

 

When the Lungs Become the Spokes-organ of the Body

For asthma control, we must clearly understand seven aspects of this problem:

1. Asthma can be controlled with nondrug, integrative therapies in most persons;

2. Asthma attacks can threaten life quickly and drug therapies must not be delayed in acute attacks;

3. Asthma is always caused by mold and food allergy;

4. Stress and environmental pollutants worsen asthma;

5. The secret to prevention of asthma attacks is in the restoration of battered bowel-blood-liver ecosystems; 6. "Asthma smart" nutrients, herbs, and water therapies can prevent asthma attacks; and

7. Ethical equilibrium and spiritual surrender with meditation, prayer, and compassion work are necessary for long-term nondrug asthma control.

How Is Asthma Diagnosed?

Simply stated, asthma is reversible chest tightness, air hunger, and wheezing. Most persons diagnose their own asthma when they begin to wheeze. Parents usually have no difficulty in recognizing wheezing and air hunger in their asthmatic children. In the presence of other coexisting conditions, such as heart disease, lung function tests (spirometry) can readily establish the diagnosis.

Inhalers for One in Four New York City Children

An estimated 15 million Americans suffer from asthma. But does that figure tell the whole story? How effective is the modern American drug treatment of asthma? Consider the following two recent quotes:

"I began to collect news reports about the children in the South Bronx, one out of every four of whom carries an inhaler."

New York Magazine

July 13, 1998, page 35.

"From 1982 to 1992, the prevalence of asthma increased by 42% and the average annual deaths by 40%..."

Journal of American Medical Association, 1996;276:1473.

The Core Message of this Tutorial

Before describing the nondrug therapies the author and his colleagues use at the Institute of Preventive Medicine, the author wishes to state the two core messages of this article clearly: For asthma control and prevention, first it is the:

Bowel! Bowel! Bowel!

And second, it is:

Ethical Equilibrium and Spiritual Surrender!

The author's emphasis on the bowel might irk some readers. On the surface, asthma is a breathing problem and hence should require focus on the lung. Here are the author's reasons for focusing on the bowel: (1) Asthma is an immune disorder, and all immune disorders arise in the bowel; (2) Asthma is considered a chronic inflammatory disorder, and all inflammatory disorders begin in the bowel; (3) Mold allergy and food sensitivities cause asthma attacks and such reactions start in the bowel; (4) Microbial toxins poison antioxidant and immune defenses, and all such defenses are primarily located in the bowel; (5) Low levels of certain enzymes (catalysts) set the stage for asthma attacks, and levels of such enzymes fall because of elements in the bowel; (6) Chemicals trigger asthma when the liver detox system is overtaxed, and the bowel is the g uardian angel of the liver; (7) Asthma often appears after lung infections, and all such infections are related to imune responses rooted in the bowel. The author refers advanced and professional readers to his two recent papers published in The Journal of Integrative Medicine1,2 which discuss at length the scientific basis of all of the above statements.

Ethical equilibrium and Spiritual Surrender

My emphasis on ethical equilibrium and spiritual work is also likely to irk some. But he does not rank spirituality high in his priorities for asthma because it has become fashionable to do so. He has been a student of medicine for 40 years. His work with the sick has convinced him that constant thinking about one's disease stands in the way of healing. The popular notion of mind-over-body healing does not work. An energy-over-mind approach does work. If that be so, why put the bowel ecology above spiritual surrender? That's a valid question. Indeed, spiritual work does become the #1 item once all the issues of the battered bowel ecosystem have been addressed. The author discusses this important issue in Healing Miracles and the Bite of the Gray Dog.

Asthma Attacks Can Threaten Life Quickly

An asthma attack must be vigorously treated with effective drugs if nondrug, integrated therapies do not quickly break it. Persons suffering from asthma must be under the supervision of experienced clinicians.

Mold and Adverse Food Reactions Are Always Present in Asthma

For the diagnosis of mold allergy, a common mistake is to do the RAST test. This is a poor test for diagnosing mold allergy. In 1980, the author and his colleague, Dr. Madhava Ramanarayanan, developed a highly sensitive micro-ELISA test for the diagnosis of mold allergy (for which they received a US patent) which diagnoses mold allergy that is often missed by the RAST test.3 With the sensitive microELISA test, the author and colleagues have been able to diagnose mold allergy in all their patients with asthma.4 Most specialists in lung diseases now regard asthma as an inflammatory disease. The critical point here is that before asthma becomes an inflammatory disease, it is an allergic problem.

Efficacy of Nondrug, Integrated Therapies for Asthma

In a 1991 outcome study of asthma presented at the 26th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, the author reported control of asthma without drugs in 77% of patients after more than six months of treatment.5

Exercise-Induced, Stress-Induced, and Pollutant-Induced Asthma

Extensive experience has convinced the author and colleagues at the Institute that all cases of so-called exercise-induced, stress-induced, and pollutant-induced asthma are caused by undiagnosed mold allergy and food sensitivities, and by damage to the bowel ecosystem caused by excess sugar, antibiotic abuse, synthetic hormones, and other pollutants. Exercise, stress, and environmental chemicals in such cases simply act as the last triggers.

Nondrug Management of Asthma

At the Institute, the author and his colleagues individualize care for asthma with focus on the following: (1) diagnosis and treatment of mold and food sensitivity; (2) optimal choices in the kitchen, avoiding sugar-insulin-adrenaline roller coasters; (3) optimal hydration; (4) asthma-smart nutrients (see below for details); (5) asthma-smart herbs; (6) enzyme therapies, including fresh vegetable juices and supplemental enzymes; (7) support for the battered bowel ecology; (8) support for the blood ecosystem with therapies for cleansing blood of microclots and microplaques, such as EDTA chelation and IV hydrogen peroxide and ozone (see The Seven for the Heart of this series for details); (9) improvement in liver detox with nutrients, such as glutathione, N-acetylcysteine, MSM, and lipoic acid, and use of herbs such as milk thistle, schizandra, and turmeric; (10) judicious use of liver and gallbladder flushes under professional supervision; (11) diagnosis and treatment of the troubled trio of thyroid-adrenal-pancreas (which can frequently be diagnosed with proper laboratory tests); (12) support for the pituitary-sex hormone-neurotransmitter trio, especially in women with hormonal disorders (see RRT for hormone disorders of this series); (13) limbic exercise (prayerful and non-goal-oriented); and (14) stress control with prayer, meditation, and spiritual surrender discussed in What Do Lions Know About Stress?

Asthma-Smart Nutrients

The big seven among nutrients are: magnesium, glutathione, vitamin B12, protein and peptide protocols, pantehein, essential oils, and taurine. The following guidelines are often used by the Institute physicians: (1) antioxidant vitamins, including vitamins A and beta carotene (together 10,000 IU), vitamin C (1,000 to 3,000 mg), vitamin E (400 to 600 IU), pantethein (150-250 mg), and some members of B complex (25 to 50 mg each) ; (2) sulfur-containing antioxidants, including glutathione (500 to 1,000 mg), NAC [N-acetylcysteine] (500 to 800 mg), MSM 500 to 1,000 mg), and lipoic acid (200 to 500 mg); (3) minerals, including magnesium (1,500-2,500 mg), potassium (200-500 mg), chromium (400-600 mcg); selenium (400-600 mcg), molybdenum (400-600 mcg), and calcium (1,000 to 1,500 mg); (4) essential oils, including cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, pumpkin oil, and sesame oil; and (5) protein and peptide protocols containing 80-90% amino acids.

Asthma-Smart Foods and Herbs

The big seven herbs for asthma are: uncooked ginger (an inch long (or less) piece of chopped root eaten with food or taken with water), licorice, wild cherry, hawthorne berry, fennel seeds, bloodroot, and Ephedra. Others of value include sundew, Grindelia and mouse ear. Since anxiety about asthma attack often triggers an attack, herbs such as lobelia, valerian, skullcap and St. John's wort are also valuable.

Intramuscular and Intravenous Nutrient Support

Judicious use of intramuscular injections and intravenous infusions of nutrients, in the author's experience, are extremely valuable in managing difficult cases of asthma and in avoiding the use of steroids or other immune-suppressing drugs. The seven nutrients mentioned earlier are especially valuable when given by injections. For specific information, advanced and professional readers are referred to the author's monograph, Intravenous Nutrient Protocols in Molecular Medicine.

Restoration of the Battered Bowel Ecosystems

When properly searched, clear evidence of damage to the bowel ecosystem can almost always be recognized in persons suffering from asthma. The author recommends a seed, feed, and occasionally weed approach to restore the bowel ecology described in detail in The Canary and Chronic Fatigue. The author and his colleagues often prescribe on intermittent basis antifungal drugs, such as Nystatin, Diflucan, Sporanox and others. However, good long-term results can be assured only with natural remedies.

Two Things to Avoid: Antibiotics and Steroids

Antibiotics and steroids for asthma can usually be avoided by physician experienced in the principles and practive of integrative medicine. Both groups of drugs severely damage the bowel ecology, and hence all the antioxidant, enzyme, and immune defenses of the body. Even when the use of such drugs is considered necessary, it is essential to use nondrug therapies at the same time to prevent further attacks.

Asthma can be a serious condition. I strongl urge readers to read the related tutorial entitled Should I Take Albuterol? Can I Stop Taking Albuterol?

 

, and by strongly advising that no one should attempt to manage his asthma on a self-help basis.

Related Tutorials

* Classification of Lung Diseases

* Lungs

The Pleura

* Asthma - Simplified

* Sinuses: Anatomy and Physiology

* Lung Cancer Stats

* Should I Take Albuterol? Can I Stop Taking Albuterol?

 

 

 

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