In 1994 I warned readers that my emphasis on the bowel in treating asthma may irk some professional readers as they will ask what does the bowel have to do with the lungs?
In 2015 researchers are now teaching doctors that they need to understand the gut microbes to be able to treat asthma.
Technological advances are transforming how many physicians think about allergy and asthma. Delegates attending this year’s American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) conference will hear how the microbiome could change disease management.
“They’re now using DNA techniques, measuring certain types of RNA that only occur in bacterial or viral species,” meeting program chair Paul Williams, MD, from the Northwest Allergy & Asthma Center in Mount Vernon, Washington, told Medscape Medical News.
“There are millions of organisms inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract that we didn’t know about,” he explained. “It’s not only the species that is important; even the strain of bacteria and the collection are important because they interact with each other and they interact with diet. All of that plays a role in inflammation and immune response.”
- During the meeting, delegates will be guided through the hygiene hypothesis to the more murky details of the link between gut microflora and asthma and allergies.
A plenary will look at how the microbial environment influences the development of allergic diseases, an oral abstract session will highlight some of the links between infant and maternal microbiome and allergen exposure, and a translational symposium will examine how microbiome discoveries could guide future probiotic regimens for the treatment and prevention of food allergy and atopic dermatitis.
There are millions of organisms inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract that we didn’t know about.
“The concept of the microbiome and the gut is getting another wave, if you will, because there’s more science now. It’s a very trendy topic,” said Mary Beth Fasano, MD, from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, who is vice chair of the annual meeting program subcommittee.
In 1994 I warned readers that my emphasis on the bowel might irk some. On the surface, asthma is a breathing problem and hence should require focus on the lung. Here was my 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 guardian angel of the liver;
7. Asthma often appears after lung infections, and all such infections are related to immune responses rooted in the bowel.
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.
Asthma Is Always Caused by Mold and Food Allergy
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.
Nondrug Management of Asthma
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;
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?
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 attacks 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 an 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 physicians experienced in the principles and practice 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.
The author ends this article by stating that asthma is a serious condition, and by strongly advising that no one attempt to manage his asthma on a self-help basis.