J.D. Moyer

beat maker, sci-fi writer, self-experimenter

Asthma Protocol

Omega-3 fatty acids in the wild.

Many people find this site with search terms like “asthma cure,” but to date I’ve only written one post about asthma. About two years ago I wrote about my personal experience with asthma, my multiple attempts to relieve my symptoms (most of them unsuccessful), and my eventual success at curing my own asthma (or at least resolving 99% of my symptoms) with a mostly paleolithic diet.

Recently I’ve been thinking about what I wish one of the doctors I consulted about my breathing problems had told me. In hindsight, what’s an ideal set of recommendations for somebody suffering from asthma symptoms?

I’m not a doctor, but I know that the standard advice doctors give for people with asthma symptoms is usually less than ideal, and doesn’t address the underlying causes of the disease (overactive immune response leading to chronic lung inflammation).

To be clear, I’m not against Western medicine or the allopathic approach in general. It’s a science-driven approach to healing, and as the research piles up, M.D.’s will generally, gradually change their recommendations so that their advice lines up with the clinical evidence. For example, doctors at Kaiser now recommend that most adults should get 1000-2000IU of vitamin D per day from supplements and/or sun exposure. This is significantly more than the 400IU/day that was generally considered sufficient until just a few years ago. The U.S. low-vitamin D epidemic has been recognized and officially addressed in the recommendation policies of at least one U.S. HMO.

Still, I don’t think many M.D.’s are giving good advice about how to quickly and effectively resolve asthma symptoms without dangerous side effects. As far as I know, the standard advice you get is still albuterol for short-term relief, and inhaled corticosteroids for long-term relief (I think the Mayo Clinic asthma page provides a pretty good overview of standard allopathic treatment recommendations).

For me, albuterol did absolutely nothing, and inhaled corticosteroids resulted in immediate and severe mood problems. I had to find a better way to treat my own asthma, and eventually I did.

If I were an M.D., here’s the advice I would give to patients suffering from asthma.

1. Make sure vitamin D levels are adequate.

Low vitamin D levels are associated with increased asthma symptoms. Here are a few articles discussing some of the research:

Vitamin D for the Management of Asthma (Cochrane Library)
article discussing research published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

article discussing research published in Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology

There are few risks associated with supplementing with vitamin D. Very high doses (10,000IU/day for extended periods) increases the risk of kidney stones. For moderately high doses (5000IU/day) considering increasing vitamin A and vitamin K2 intake as well, as these fat-soluble vitamins have synergistic effects. Additional magnesium may also be needed with higher vitamin D intake (use a chelated form of magnesium as opposed to magnesium oxide — the latter is a strong laxative).

Low vitamin D is associated with high IgE (a marker of allergic response). Vitamin D may help modulate the immune system towards being “less twitchy.” Skin prick tests show that I’m highly allergic to dust mites and many types of tree pollen, but I’m no longer as sensitive to these environmental allergens. I’ll still sneeze if I bury my face in a dusty couch, but I no longer feel that constant chest tightness and heaviness in my lungs (from inflammation).

How much is enough? There is no consensus regarding the “optimal” vitamin D range, and “optimal” may vary based on factors like ethnicity and disease risk. For those people suffering from asthma — well, you know at least one of your disease risks is asthma. And now you know that low vitamin D levels are associated with asthma. So why not err on the side of “slightly higher than normal” vitamin D levels, at least until you can determine if it has any positive effect on your breathing? I wish that one of my M.D.’s had suggested to me, early on, to get my vitamin D levels to at least 45ng/mL.

Vitamin D would be my first recommendation because taking vitamin D a few times a week is fairly easy to do. I think vitamin D capsules are the closest thing we have today for “pill cure” for asthma.

2. Increase omega-3 fatty acid intake, and reduce omega-6 fatty acid intake.

Fish oil capsules were the first supplement that I noticed having a strong positive effect on my breathing. At the time, I was eating a mostly vegetarian diet, and my omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid balance was probably way out of whack. I didn’t have any good source of omega-3 fatty acids in my diet, but I was getting lots of omega-6 from almonds, soy milk, and various vegetable oils.

When the omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acid (EFA) ratio tilts too much towards the omega-6’s, people are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Eating fresh wild-caught salmon is probably the most delicious way to quickly increase your omega-3 EFA intake (without also increasing your mercury intake). However, fresh fish is expensive and not available in many parts of the world. If you can’t afford fresh wild-caught salmon a few times a week, you’re better off with canned wild-caught salmon than you are eating farmed (grain-fed) fish. Just make sure the can is BPA-free.

Sardines also have decent amounts of omega-3, and whole sardines are also a great source of calcium. Just don’t eat canned fish that’s packed in canola oil (which is high in omega-6). Sardines, like most other small fish, tend to be low mercury. Predator fish like tuna and mackerel are generally higher in mercury.

While not everyone is a fan of fish-oil capsules (the authors of The Perfect Health diet for one), I think taking moderate amounts of high quality fish oil is a fast, safe, effective way to quickly get EFA levels in balance and fight inflammation. Personally I noticed a quick (within several days) improvement of my breathing and mood when I first started taking fish oil, and I’ve been taking 2-3 grams a day ever since (in addition to eating fish a few times a week).

If you’re worried about rancidity, bite a fish oil capsule and taste the stuff. Here’s Dr. Eades on fish oil rancidity.

Keeping fish oil refrigerated not only protects against oxidation/rancidity, it also protects against fish burps.

Just as important as increasing omega-3 intake is reducing omega-6 intake. Here’s how to do that:

  • Use coconut oil, butter, or olive oil for cooking.
  • Never use canola oil, corn oil, soy oil, sunflower oil, or safflower oil for cooking, baking, or anything else — just throw that crap out.
  • Nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamins and minerals, and some even contain some omega-3’s (like pumpkin seeds). However most are high in omega-6 EFA’s (including almonds, pecans, filberts, and sunflower seeds) so keep serving sizes small.
  • Choose grass-fed/pastured animal products (butter, meat, eggs, poultry) whenever possible. In some cases the quality of pastured animal products is dramatically higher (as is the price, but it’s worth it). Eggs from pastured hens have harder shells, darker yolks, less-runny whites, and taste way better. Nutritionally, these eggs are higher in beta-carotene and omega-3’s. When we were living in Costa Rica, all the eggs were from pastured chickens who ran around free and ate insects instead of grain. While not organic, these eggs were the best we’d ever tasted.

3. Try a gluten-free or paleolithic diet.

I really said good-bye to asthma when I cut most grains, sugar, soy, and vegetable oil out of my diet, as well as cutting back on beans, starchy vegetables, dried fruit, and dairy products.

A strict paleolithic diet includes only meat, poultry, eggs, fish and seafood, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. The idea (which I’ve discussed at length here) is to only eat foods that our ancestors co-evolved with for tens of thousands of years (even eliminating the foods we have co-evolved with for “only” thousands of years, like grains and dairy products).

A slightly less strict version, like Mark Sisson’s Primal Diet, allows reasonable amounts of salt, wine, dark chocolate, and even dairy products for the lactose-tolerant.

A gluten-free diet would allow all foods listed above, as well as gluten-free grains like rice, buckwheat, and corn.

Personally, I discovered that a mostly paleolithic diet, combined with vitamin D supplementation, completely resolved my asthma symptoms. Additional benefits included fat loss, strength gains, improved sleep patterns, more energy, the ability to go long periods without food without any discomfort, sharper eyesight, better mood (more stable, more patient, less irritable), and reduced allergies.

I have to stick to the dietary rules to keep the benefits. If I eat bread, I’ll generally wake up sneezing from allergies the next morning. Same thing with milk or too much cheese or yogurt. Too much starch or sugar (including gluten-free starches like rice or yams), and I have trouble fitting into my skinny hipster pants. If I throw out all the rules for more than a few days I can feel my chest tightness returning. So … I tend to not cheat too much, because I really enjoy breathing easily.

4. Use supplement wisely, and carefully observe positive and negative effects.

I’ve already covered vitamin D and fish oil, but there are a few other supplements worth mentioning.

  • Multivitamins — BEWARE! I’ve noticed that every brand of multi-vitamin I’ve tried, including expensive kinds that are free from additives, dyes, and fillers, and use only the highest quality methylated versions of vitamins, aggravate my asthma symptoms. I can’t explain this, and I may be an anomaly, but it’s worth observing if multivitamins or any supplement you take makes your asthma worse.
  • Bromelain — bromelain, a substance extracted from pineapple stems, contains several protein-digesting enzymes, and generally has an anti-inflammatory effect when taken internally (you can also use it as a meat tenderizer). About a year ago I felt some chest tightness after someone brought over a huge bouquet of flowers to our house. I crushed a half tablet of bromelain under my tongue (sublingual absorbtion is faster), and was breathing normally within half an hour. I wouldn’t want to rely on bromelain on a daily basis — it’s a blood thinner, and I’ve noticed than it increases my heart rate, but it’s good stuff to have on hand as a fast-acting anti-inflammatory.
  • Evening primrose oil — there isn’t much research to support the use of evening primrose oil for asthma, but it is a traditional folk remedy, and I’ve noticed a positive effect. It may be that evening primrose oil, which is high in the fatty acid GLA, is only effective when taken with adequate omega-3’s (thus encouraging your body to convert GLA into the anti-inflammatory DGLA instead of the pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid. It’s complicated.
  • I’ve found that vitamin C and magnesium are also helpful supplements when taken regularly.

Summary

We’re all genetically different, we all live in different environments, and our bodies are all colonized with different species of bacteria and viruses that are constantly interacting with our immune systems. No single treatment protocol will work the same for everyone.

Still, clinical research supports that consistent dietary changes, combined in some cases with the use of helpful supplements, may provide better relief for asthma than the standard treatments recommended by most M.D.’s.

WARNING — if you are are already taking inhaled corticosteroids or other effective to control your asthma, do not go off those medications cold turkey. Taper off gradually, under the supervision of your doctor, if and only if you experience significant positive changes from raising your vitamin D levels and/or modifying your diet.

For what it’s worth, here’s what’s worked for me for long-term asthma relief (and overall improved health):

DIET

  • a somewhat paleolithic diet (mostly fresh vegetables and fruit, pastured eggs, grass-fed meat, free-range poultry, wild-caught fish, lesser amounts of olive oil, coconut oil, butter, cream, aged and/or fermented cheeses, plain yogurt/kefir, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, beans, very dark chocolate, wine, coffee, tea, fresh herbs and spices, very small amounts of raw honey)
  • some cheats a few times a week (sourdough bread, rice, beer, whiskey, ice-cream, etc.)
  • almost always avoid MSG (a substance of many aliases, including “natural flavors”), soft drinks, processed/packaged foods, cow’s milk, soy milk, vegetable oils

SUPPLEMENTS (3-5 days/week)

  • vitamin D: 2000-4000IU
  • Carlson’s Nordic Naturals cod liver oil: 1-2 x 400mg caps (providing additional vitamin D and non-synthetic vitamin A)
  • evening primrose oil: 1000mg
  • vitamin C with rose hips: 500mg 100-200mg (reduced so that I don’t overabsorb iron)
  • chelated magnesium: 150mg

As you can see, no mega-doses of anything. For about a year I took 5000IU of vitamin D almost daily, then backed off on the dose when my levels were tested at 63 ng/mL — well within the “normal” range but higher than some health professionals recommend. Most days I get very little direct sun exposure, so supplemental vitamin D is my main source.

I have experimented with stricter diets (no beans, no dairy, no sugar, no alcohol, no coffee, etc.), but I haven’t noticed any benefits to being much stricter than what I have described above. As long as I keep my vitamin D and omega-3 levels reasonably high, and keep grain, sugar, and milk consumption to a minimum, then I breathe easy, stay lean, and sleep well.

I don’t think I’ve added much new information since the last time I wrote about this subject, but hopefully it’s helpful to read the same material presented slightly differently. I’ve been breathing easy for about six years using the same methods. The same dietary changes and supplements may not work for you, but something will work if you keep experimenting. Notice which foods you are sensitive to.

You may also discover that there is a powerful emotional component to asthma, and that you breathe more easily when you express your own power, maturely process and share your emotions, and take control of your life.

Please feel free to share what has worked for you in the comments section. Many people find this blog seeking health solutions, so you may really help someone by sharing your story.

Good health to you.

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108 Comments

  1. billy casazza

    Nice article, I have had astma most of my my life and would like to stop taking so much medication, I may try some of your suggestions. Walnuts are also good for omega-3 as long as your are not alegeric to them.

  2. Hey Billy! Let me know if vitamin D or anything else turns out to be helpful for you.

    Walnuts are incredibly nutritious, but have a 4:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio (so you also get high amounts of omega-6 EFA’s when you eat nuts). Here’s a link to a post which includes a detailed chart of fatty acid breakdown of various nuts:

    http://thepaleodiet.com/nutritional-tools/fatty-acid-content-of-nuts

  3. Marianska

    Great article, clear, well laid out and well structured, with good solid information and relevant links. You’ve done some really good detective work in figuring out how to deal with and heal your asthma problem. Actually, I’m impressed with how systematic and thorough your approach was.
    Although I do not have an asthma problem myself, I am gluten sensitive and therefore have followed the paleo diet for about 8 months now, reaping a lot of health benefits along the way. (I also followed a lot of the advice around vitamin D and getting the Omega 6-3 ratios right.) What I did find out recently, however, is that rice, corn, and buckwheat do, in fact, contain their own forms of gluten. While travelling for a month in Thailand this past winter, I was eating rice almost daily and sometimes a bit of corn; I had believed these to be “safe grains”. To my dismay, the neuropathy in my feet returned to plague me again for over 6 weeks before it eased off. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. So I did a bit more research and – lo and behold – discovered that rice and corn do indeed contain their own type of gluten (the prolamines or subfractions of gluten are different for each grain), as do sorghum, buckwheat, millet and amaranth. So I just thought I would pass this bit of information on for any of your readers who might also have a gluten sensitivity.

  4. Alan Hartley

    Appreciate the post. Historically, I’ve suffered both from asthma and from chronic sinus inflammation. The latter I’ve found responds very well to bromelain, which I’ve been taking daily for a couple of years. However, I’ve been struggling with a recurrence of asthma after being asymptomatic for years (albeit while using corticosteroid medication daily–and as regularly as humanly possible to try to offset the mood effects, which I agree are definitely there). I haven’t looked into the Omega-3 vs. Omega-6 ratio before, nor have I given much thought to vitamin D levels. I’m very happy to have some new things to try.

  5. Dylan

    This is so wonderful. I had asthma when I was younger and I developed a nasty habit of smoking for about 3 years. My wheezing phelgm cough got so annoying and it still doesn’t go away. I will take your advice and post results. However I do take a vitamin d pill of 1000 iu daily but my wheezing is still almost daily…

    • Good health to you Dylan — probably worth getting your D levels checked to see if you need to up your intake.

  6. I’d like to suggest that magnesium intake be increased, possibly to 400mg or more—not just for asthmatics, but for everyone as well (except for people with kidney disease). You might be interested to read more about magnesium and it’s anti-inflammatory effect in The Magnesium Miracle and The Magnesium Factor.

  7. Hi J.D., I’m proud to say I’ve been asthma symptom-free since three months after I went off my steroid medication I had been taking for 10 years – Advair, to be exact. I went off cold turkey under supervision of my GP but I DON’T recommend it to anybody. In fact, I didn’t have any breathing problems after stopping the medication since I had been gluten and dairy-free for two months before stopping taking my inhaler. But my adrenals must have been shut – even though the docs say the amount of cortisone is very low in inhaled medication, I’m sure it passes into the bloodstream and reaches the glands. I had terrible palpitations, frequent drops in my blood pressure that’s naturally low, so I felt often dizzy, my head would turn around and I was not far from fainting several times. It lasted about two weeks and it was very scarry.

    Today, I would go off Advair gradually to avoid that. I’ve also started taking Magnesium and Co-enzyme Q10 which help me with my heart palpitations (SVE) too. I get these occasionally, especially when I eat a heavy meal at dinner before going to bed, so now I prefer skipping my last meal and having rather a bigger “tea-time” snack in the afternoon. And I’m sure about the role of the vitamin D, I was very low in February (at 28 ng/mL), so I’ve been taking 800 U daily to stock up.

    I also have strong allergies (dust mite, dogs, cats, tree pollen) and since my asthma seems to be induced by dust mite, I also bought an overall cover to my bed and beddings. It works! I used to wake up in the morning coughing, now it’s gone. And I removed all my open bookshelves (because of dust collecting) and green plants I had in my bedroom since there is mould in the soil that can trigger asthma symptoms too. To try something new, I’ve found a Traditional Chinese Medecin practitioner and have been drinking his herbal concoctions that should boost my immune system and strenghten my lungs. I’ll see how it goes after six moths of treatment.

    As for dietary changes, gluten and dairy are definitely OUT as well as everything containg high doses of sulfites: wine, dried fruit, shrimp, industrial pickles, grapes. Two small glasses of wine are enough to induce a chest oppression and a slight wheezing, so it’s on my black list (to my greatest regret since I like fine French red wine). If I eat cheese, I seem to be OK with fresh goat milk cheeses but blue cheeses are to be avoided. With a little dairy, I don’t get asthma symptoms, but I develop acne on my chest and face. So basically, I don’t eat cheese very often (it’s been like a monthly treat). So far, so good and thanks again for your advice and experimenting.

    • Glad to hear you were able to get off the steroid meds!

      You might need more than 800IU a day to raise your vitamin D levels high enough. Currently I take 3000-4000IU a few times a week to maintain levels about 45ng/mL.

  8. Just wanted to say sorry for some spelling mistakes I saw too late (I think faster than type and English is not my mother tongue :-).

  9. Susan

    Hi J.D., I’m thrilled to read your blog about asthma! You’ve given me some insight on what could possibly be my problem.

    Last June of 2011, I started a diet and exercise program. After 12 weeks I had lost 12 lbs and was jog/walking on an incline for usually an hour on the treadmill. July 12th, I had to get off the treadmill due to I couldn’t breathe. I had never experienced anything like that. I ended up going to urgent care and the results of all the testing was that I was normal and sent me home with an inhaler. At first that seemed to work, but two days later my breathing became worse. I then went to my doctor and he prescribed pulmonary and heart tests. Again the results came back that I am a very healthy person. Accept, I still cannot breathe! Since I was bedridden and weak from not being able to eat because I still couldn’t breathe well, I started searching the net to find my problem. I found a wellness center in Texas (I live in California) that I thought possibly could help me. They decided to treat me for thyroid problems. I started taking Desiccated Thyroid, Cortisol, and vitamins. I never was able to take vitamins before, because they always made it hard for me to breathe. These vitamins are all natural so I have stayed on this program since November and for 3 months went on a yeast free diet. It seemed to help but never fixed the problem.

    Recently, I tried acupuncture. After the third session my breathing worsened. I’m at a loss.

    After reading your article, I’m wondering if this is asthma? Are there different types? I have been on the Paleolithic Diet now for one week. The way I am feeling right now, I’ve decided to taper off the cortisol & thyroid medicine under my doctors care. The doctor from the Wellness Clinic put me on those not because of my blood work but because of my symptoms. I’m wondering if I need these at all. I’ll be talking to him next week. The only thing that worries me is that I have tried cutting back just a little and my chest tightens up and I cannot breathe I would appreciate any suggestions that you may have.

    • I’m not a doctor so I can’t give advice, but my “best guess” for a protocol would be vitamin D, magnesium, fish oil, vitamin C (which helps protect against exercise induced asthma), and avoiding wheat and dairy. Please see this post for more detail.

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

      Good health to you!

  10. nikos

    Hello J.D!

    really interesting article!..i’ve been diagnosed with asthma 3 years ago…and all started while i was running….actually when i stopped running…! and after that day i was waking up during the night without being able to breath! diagnosis from M.D was asthma and especially exercise induced asthma!…the therapy symbicort!..for more than 1 year i was taking it…and actually i’ve noticed changed in my mood…anxiety…signs of depression e.t.c…and i’ve stopped exercise!…sth that i was really enjoying!…
    then i decided to google how i could overcome my asthma without taking medicines!…
    i came up to Buteyko!…and till now i am exercising daily!..i’ve been almost one year without medicines…and i can even go for a jogging!..i am feeling a kind of tightness..after exercise.but it is manageable…(applying some breathing techniques!)
    the buteyko practionioner also suggested that i need to change my diet…for better results!…and your article and suggestions are up to the point!…
    i am thinking to try fish oil and magnesium…and even vitamin D (even if i am living in greece and i am exposed daily to sun!)..

    concluding i’d like to ask you, do you have any symptoms of asthma after exercise?…did your diet helped you even exercise induced asthma?….do you have any idea how i could test my vitamin D level?

    thnx for your article and your suggestions!..really motivates me to change my diet!!!

  11. thnx a lot J.D!!!..

  12. Mary Kate

    I am wondering one thing. I see you not drinking cows milk. Have you tried raw milk? I have debilitating asthma and was taking more medicine then a geriatric, but went on the “MIlk Cure Diet” for 1 month and during that time I reduced my medicine tremendously.
    I am having a hard time now because every time I eat something I do have an asthma attack. and need to use my nebulizer. (which abuterol didn’t do anything for me, but Bromade helps me).
    I have been talking to a chapter leader for the Weston A. Price foundation and was thinking of going on the GAPS diet to help me. I think this is a drastic move and was hoping for an easier way to help my asthma.
    I found your post while searching for Magnesium oil. LOL. This has interested me and am going to try this first. I already take FCLO and have changed my diet to grass fed meats. But was making pasta and rice and still having a hard time. I have never heard of Vitamin D linked to asthma before and go have my levels checked.
    If you could just get your thought on raw cows milk. I would appreciate it. My children love it and it has helped them so much as for their health.
    Thank you,
    Mary Kate
    I

  13. Thanks! This supplements your other article quite well.
    I’m going to try starting the fish oil + vitamin d, reducing the wheat and dairy.
    Will also try to skew my diet toward fruit and veg and protein rather than carbohydrate/grain.

    Small steps.
    Thank you for such a detailed and informative post.

  14. I read you asthma post and was looking for something to the point so I wouldn’t have to read an entire book about the Paleo Diet when all I needed was a summery. I have been suffering with adult set asthma for the last few years and my life has come to a complete stop from heavy sports and activity to not being able to exercise due to the lack of breath. I am going to try your suggestions. WISH ME LUCK! BTW how long until your asthma was “cured”? Thank you 🙂

  15. I found this for anyone who is interested. J.D. Is this .pdf a good reference for the Paleo diet?

    http://desertcrossfit.typepad.com/Paleo_Food_List.pdf

  16. b vitamins, that is interesting. i have been taking b’s but discontinued recently. i guess i will see if that helps a little bit.

  17. Linda

    After 19 years of adult onset asthma, I am inspired to discover a life diet that works for me. I have longed for a natural cure, however haven’t found relief. I relate so much to your symptoms, and am relieved to find that I am not crazy in thinking that cortico-steriods have been causing my irritability and mild depression. After searching “vegetarianism cures asthma” I stumbled on your post. For the past 48 hours I have been an internet junkie, searching the Paleo diet, Mark’s Daily apple, MSG and tons more. I have also immensely enjoyed reading your other posts and promise to check out your music when I can figure out i-tunes. The challenge that lies ahead is very mental, simply believing that I can change my habits. My first baby-step is to take a bite of those fish-oil tablets that I’ve had for a while. On my lunch break today I will visit a new health food store that just opened up around the corner. Gradually I will add Vitamin D, eat more fresh stuff, less processed foods. I am so impressed with your composition of information, so easy to read and rich with interesting links. Thanks so much for sharing your story! BTW I wonder if there is MSG or some sort of binder/filler in the multivitamin that effects you?

  18. Matt

    JD, after reading your life history its amazing how parallel our lives were, right down to the cigarette smoke, cats etc. I ended up going to pharmacy school and then to naturopathic school instead of becoming an engineer like I wanted to be, just because I was convinced that Physicians were full of crap with regard to treating Asthma. I’ve found through 20 years of going to college, 4 degrees and 10 certifications that the answer is as simple as you’ve stated. Inflammation is the key. My personal experience with the paleo diet has been difficult as it tends to depress me, how was it that you were able to get by the initial depression from carb/grain avoidance? Did you find that the fish oils eventually helped with that? Just curious, Matt. [email protected]

  19. Sharon

    Hi I have been on the Paleo diet for eight weeks.My initial reason was to lose weight.I decided to go off my preventer asthma med sereatide at the same time. my asthma completely disapperared. 4weeks later I has some bread and went off diet for a couple of days and my asthma came back straight away. I went on diet and it went away for 4 weeks then I had two pieces of toast for breakfast and a sandwhich for lunch and by the end of the day I was wheezing. I am back on it and sympton free. I am so glad I went on the paeo diet or I would never have known my asthma was diet related. I have also lost 9kgs. Love the Paleo

  20. seth

    Hi JD, and thank you so much for creating this blog, which I found in desperation, when my inhalers, both acute and long acting (steroid), started to fail me. Frankly I would have continued taking them vs going paleo as long as they kept the symptoms suppressed. I love good food.

    But when the migraines, depression, and ultimately adrenal failure started to get too much (after 8 years of increasing dependency), I searched all over the web and found your godsend of a website. I have been paleo now for 10 days, and can honestly tell you, in this time, I have not used my inhaler once. I even ran two miles today. Meantime, it is a both amazing and convenient that, for me, the results were immediate, because truth be told, I would not have given it anymore time to work.

    Markedly better in 24 hours. No wheezing in 3 days. Running two miles only a little wheezing in 10 days. Lung capacity growing daily after years of feeling limited to 80% due to Advair and/or asthma.

    This boring, anti-social diet… along with the basket full of supplements (B, C, D, Magnesium, Fish Oil, Evening Primrose, Flavoy, some kind of Blue Dragon thing, a bunch of droppers, and Chinese raw herbs… flat out works. I hope to get things under total control, and then slowly do controlled experiments to add back foods, and cut out supplements, until a minimalist version of this paleo thing gets dialed in.

    Until then, thanks on behalf of my young family for adding years to my life. Not exaggerating when I say I doubt I would have lived another 15 years on Advair.

    You da man!

    P.S. The funny thing is while I was typing google key words to ultimately find your “Cure for Asthma” post, I was thinking, boy, if I ever stumble upon a cure, I need to pay it forward with a website… and then I read virtually the same opening words of your post. And for what its worth, I am not even sure we have the same condition. My asthma if that’s what it is, comes with serious wheezing, not just tightness, but… whatever. My point is, anyone reading this suffering from even the worst forms of asthma, should give this a try like your life depends on it. Because it does.

    P.P.S. I was surprised to see so many comments from people saying they are going to give it a try, and not people who did actually give it a try. Maybe the “healed” folks just moved on. But the reason I took the time to write this long winded response, is to give any fellow sufferers out there hope. I swear, this diet made a miraculous change in my life.

  21. jane

    I loved this articulate blog (and the other one you’ve written) on the topic of dealing naturally with asthma. I’m at the beginning of my journey – I was diagnosed with asthma officially just the other day at the age of 30. In short, I had a baby 14 months ago and I haven’t been ‘right’ since. I’ve had an inordinate amount of colds and various wheezy episodes since giving birth, all of which has escalated over the past 2 months to the point where I could no longer ignore my symptoms. I didn’t have asthma as a child, I’m not an allergy sufferer as such (apart from dust mites, but not severe) so naturally, I feel knocked for six by this.

    I’ve recently been prescribed the lowest dose of steroid inhaler. I’m reluctant to take it because for me, it’s not addressing the root of the issue – it’s just ‘managing’ symptoms. What do I think and feel? I feel that my immune system is overworked and haywire after the huge hormonal fluctuations associated with pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. I feel I’ve been drinking too much booze and eating too many sugary things, because life as a new mum is tough and I’ve been ‘rewarding’ myself too much and too often (I’m the top of my acceptable BMI range, so not a fatty…but it could be better). I feel my body needs TLC. It needs a reboot.

    I’ve looked at several (sensible) anecdotes online (yours included) and have taken the decision to delay starting steroids for a couple of months, instead overhauling my diet, coming off all alcohol (my worst trigger) and seeing what happens. I can’t wait to go back to the hospital in a few weeks and see if my inflammation levels have come down as a result of the changes I’ve made (they’re doing sputum tests to assess this).

    Thank you for sharing your research and experiences.

    • Best of luck with your recovery — be sure to report back.

      • jane

        I will. I don’t expect instant results (this condition took time to establish itself and it may take time to reverse it) – but having said that, it’s interesting to note that after only a few days eradicating alcohol and processed/sugary foods, and supplementing with a high-quality immuno-vitamin supplement, evening primrose, omega 3, vit C and a healthy dose of organic seeds and fruits, I’m wheeze-free. The test will come when I start trying to exercise again. Watch this space…

  22. ummjumana

    Hi! Thanks for this information! My dauther was diagnosed with alergical cauth few days ago. It seems not to be astma now. I was told to try the gups diet few years ago- because i had astma in my childhood, but is it so difficult…and somehow strange to make it with out any simptoms. Now im willing to try a gluten free, dairy reduced diet. + vit. D, fish oil, vit.C and chelated magnesium. I hope it will work. Im sorry for my horrible english 🙂 normally i dont write in english 🙂

  23. Talia Maddock

    J.D., I luckily stummbled upon your blog 2 weeks ago after googling “cures for asthma”. Your stroy mimicked mine almost to a T. I was coming off a pretty severe asthma attack and was feeling anxious and hopeless. I feared I would NEVER breathe normal again, never be able to travel, play with my children like I used to or live a normal life. I have never smoked, exrecised daily, ran, kick boxed and was healthy when my asthma started 5 years ago. ( I also had mild asthma as a child, but outgrew it until my early 30’s. Like you, I have tried everything to eliminate my asthma, including mulitvitamins and supplements, which instantly aggervated my ashtma. I think my family thought I was crazy! Hearing you confirm the same had happened to you leaves me feeling validated and comforted that someone else understands the nightmare I have been living. Two days after reading your blog, I went to my asthma/allergy dr, and told him about your success story and the link to vitamin D deficiency. He ordered the lab work to check my vitamin D levels, and sure enough they were low! I started on 5K IU of D supplements, Fish Oil, Magnesium, and Flax Oil. I also started that same day on a strict paleo diet. The effect was almost immediate! Within 3 days I was breathing like I hadn’t breathed in 5 or 6 years! Not to mention my anxiety subsided almost instantly. (Anxiety is also linked to a vit D deficiencies) I am confident the diet combined with the D, Flax, Fish oil and Magnesium are the keys to successfully elminating this dreadful disease. My blood sugar has evened out, I’m sleeping great, no more acid refux, and I feel clear headed.
    I cannot THANK YOU enough for taking the time to tell your story! I am telling anyone who will listen about your blog. I plan on sticking with this win win combination forever. Nothing taste better then breathing freely! Please know your words and wisdom have given me hope and changed my life. I thank God for directing me to your blog. (Which by the way is chalked full of valuable information) This Texas gal sends her grattitude and appreciation!

    Talia Maddock,
    Dallas/Ft Worth, Texas

    • That’s great news!! And thanks for reporting back.

      • I should also mention for anyone who reads all the posts, as I did/do, that I am completely off my asthma meds (albuterol, Pulmicort, Asthmanex, and prednisone), and breathing easier then I ever have. My airways feel smooth and moisturized ( if that makes sense). An added bonus, I’ve dropped the 5lbs I put on from all the meds, effortlessly I might add.
        If you are struggling with asthma, please, please implement J.D.’s suggestions. In 3 days his advice helped me acheive what 5 years of allergy testing, avoidance of triggers( cat dander, dust mites, pollen), ashtma meds, ER visits, and dr’s advice could not.

        Thanks again J.D.,
        Talia

  24. jen

    I found your site through googling asthma diet. I am 33 now and I have asthma since one year. I am desperately trying to find a way to cure it. I will try your diet. I need to get rid of this. I am so desperate. Dont wanna take steroids for the rest of my life.

  25. Deepti handa

    Hi Moyer, I live in India and all our diets consists of wheat, pulses and tomato rich curries. I have had asthma for last 25 years and want to get rid of it. Iam 38 now and want to know if pulses and low amount of wheat ok for consumption. I have about 30 to 40 minutes of exposure to sun daily as we have warm temperature in Delhi. How much vitamin d should I take…

    • If you are dark-skinned you will create less vitamin D from sun exposure, so you still may need to supplement. If you can, get your levels tested. If they are low, try 3000-5000IU a day (depending on your size).

      Can you switch from wheat to rice? Tomatoes may be problematic as well. The good news is that curcumin (in turmeric) is anti-inflammatory, so you should keep eating curry!

  26. Jenni

    I’d never had allergies or asthma or breathing problems of any kind (for goodness sake, I’m a healthy yoga teacher!). Then about two years ago, when I was 36, I developed a persistent cough and wheezing. It was cold/flu season. Natural remedies didn’t help much, and a ZPac did nothing for me. I did the CLEAN diet about 6 months after that, and was symptom free. Hooray! But I didn’t realize the significance at the time, and I wasn’t careful about which foods I brought back in to my diet and at what levels. Within a few months, my symptoms returned & worsened. I got an inhaler, backed off wheat a little, and did the occasional mini-cleanse. My symptoms were concerning & taking a toll on my quality of life, but I thought I was “handling it”. It wasn’t until a huge uptick in symptoms over the latest holidays that I finally realized just how bad things become, and I was motivated to make the big dietary changes again. In the months leading up to the holidays, I’d begun maxing out the daily dose of my albuterol inhaler, and over the holidays began overdosing my inhaler, taking 16-20 puffs a day, including waking in the night to use it. I learned about the Buteyko methods & got a little relief from that, along with eucalyptus essential oil to clear “topical” congestion that eased my breathing a bit. I went back to the CLEAN diet, which is so similar to gluten-free and paleo, and I noticed I was “gaining ground” on my symptoms … able to back off from needing my inhaler every 2 hours to every 3. That happened in just a few days’ time. I went to an asthma/allergy clinic expecting to confirm food allergies like when, dairy, and egg. Turns out I tested as allergic to NOTHING, not foods or environmentals, but I do have just 44% lung function (should be 80% for me). So I’m on a course of prednisone for two weeks, which is helping (I’m using the rescue inhaler just 3-5 puffs/day), and I’m working to get my eating in alignment with good respiratory health — for good this time, because otherwise I’ll be put on a controller inhaler (inhaled steroid) 2x/day permanently. Having had the experience that diet can clear this, I’m hopeful that this current course of steroids will clear the heavy inflammation and I’ll be able to move forward with diet control as my “cure” from here on out. Thanks so much for charting your journey here and for the information about the supplements, especially. Deep bow & lots of gratitude

  27. Audra

    I found your post today. I suffer from EIB, diagnosed in my late 30s, now 40. I’m feeling the tightness in my chest most of the time now. It seems temperature and humidity affect it. I went to a chinese doctor and acupuncturist for my digestive problems and told her of my problems with breathing. Anyway, I have been paleo (Mark Sisson) for about 6 months, take fish oil and vitD, and chlorella, spirulina, zyrtec, albuterol, took thunder and cinnamon pearls for awhile, didn’t seem to help. I tried the bee pollen but did not help and I hate the taste of honey. My digestion is great now! Yay! But I am watching any athletic performance I had slip away this winter just like last winter (Michigan)…I am left with 3ish magic months a year (April, sometimes May, October and November) where I can do whatever I want physically and feel great. I am at my wits end….I’ll try the magnesium, primrose oil and vitC and hope it works…I am just so frustrated and upset. Thanks for the post and the other one on asthma.

  28. Alan Hartley

    Hi–I commented quite a while ago and, having finally taken up some of your suggestions in earnest, I’m returning to leave some feedback.

    Actually I messed up at first: I’d had a vague impression, after a casual look at Andrew Weil’s site, that almonds were OK, so I actually increased my omega-6 intake, with disastrous results. (Perhaps raw almonds wouldn’t have been quite as bad as the kind I was eating. . . Also, I was eating a LOT of them. I’m a postal carrier and I walk all day, so I eat a lot.) Once I realized the problem, I eliminated the almonds and added a good deal of fish to my diet, as well as eliminating the soybean-oil -derived vitamin E I had been taking. My asthma got MUCH better immediately.

    In a way I ruined the “experiment,” because I also started taking vitamin D AND cut down on wheat and dairy (I still eat plain Nancy’s yogurt and some, but less, cheese; no milk). But I have the impression that changing the omega-3/omega-6 ratio made the most important difference. Anyway. I can say without hesitation that collectively, the changes have eliminated most of my asthma symptoms and done a great deal to clear my sinuses too. I’m entertaining thoughts of trying to get off the steroid inhaler, for the first time in many years. Thanks!

    • Great news! I agree the omega-3/6 ratio is very important to control inflammation. In addition the proteins in many nuts can be allergenic.

  29. Karen

    I just wanted to say thank you to you for taking the time to post this and your previous site. I found your blog after suffering badly with my asthma during a cold and searched on Google “cure for asthma”, not really expecting to find anything. I have been following the paleo diet for about 9 months now and managed to come off both my asthma and allergy medication and also my sense of smell came back (which I hadn’t had for years). This is all thanks to you. I have had a bit of a relapse recently and I am not sure why as I am still following the diet and taking the supplements. I will keep persevering as I believe it is a healthy diet in any case and maybe it is the English winter that is to blame! I guess 37 year of eating the wrong foods can’t be reversed in a few months and next year I will be better!

    I agree with the advice you would give if you were a doctor, by the way. It has worked for me. One thing I am particularly sensitive to is sugar, even in dried and some fresh fruits. I have to be really careful to keep my sugar intake really low.

    I now think it is funny because it makes perfect sense that you should eat what you are ‘designed’ to eat, yet we blindly accept all these factory manufactured products as food! Not any more. Only real food for me!

  30. Brenna

    Hi JD! I have been battling asthma for only 5 or so years. I have chronic bronchitis, pneumonia and a cough that won’t go away. I have been through numerous tests for lots of different auto immune diseases and also cystic fibrosis – all came back negative! They cannot figure me out. I read your blog months ago and decided to revisit this post and try it out. I have been taking 2000iu of Vitamin D3 and 1 fish oil capsule/day for about 1 week and I can already tell a difference. I was prescribed some antibiotics last week, but decided to hold off and try this. I am breathing better and my cough is so much better than it was. I am amazed!!

    Next, I want to try the other supplements you mention as well as modifying my diet. I also wanted to let Karen (above post) know that I, too seem to be sensitive to sugar and almost always have an asthma attack after eating cake or the like. I have talked to my doctor about it and he looked at me like I was crazy… glad to see I am not the one who thinks sugar is linked to asthma!

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with the world. You have probably helped more people than you know!

  31. Glad to hear you are on a positive trajectory Brenna!

  32. Anna

    Hi JD.

    Thanks for posting this. Gives me something to try.

    I was diagnosed with asthma a couple of weeks ago. 5 weeks ago I moved into a mouldy/damp house in NZ and developed asthma symptoms with a cough. I have never had chest problems before. I moved out about a week ago but asthma is not getting better even though I am no longer breathing in mould. Before I was taking up to 50 puffs of the inhaler a day which according to what other people write here is overdosing. My doctor didn’t say anything about that. Now I am down to about 10 squirts daily.

    I am hoping very much that the asthma will go away now I am in a dry, warm house. But it is good to know I can help it by taking the supplements you mention. Started on the fish oil and magnesium today. And if it doesn’t get better I will try Paleo.

    Before I took for granted being able to breathe properly. If I get my lung capacity back, I never will again.

    Thanks again. Anna.

  33. Marianne

    My son is suffering from a cough variant asthma. You are correct in that the standard Rx we got from the doc’s office is the inhaled steroid and Albuterol for attacks. I can’t say that his condition is under control even with all the puffing that he does. Your post is inspiring me to try something different, I am tired of seeing him uncomfortable and loosing sleep because of coughing attacks. I would like to start with adding vitamin D and C and fish oil. Could you recommend the brands and strength for a child of 10? I am assuming the strength should be lower than what you described above. Thank you.

  34. Interesting study here … kind of an intersection between Chinese and western medicine … bitter-tasting foods may assist with bronchodilation http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1001501;jsessionid=9E0719F67640C70751C4EAD0EF80BC2E

  35. Errol

    I’m just reading this, as I have been diagnosed with asthma today. Exercise induced. Sorry to say, I start most days with a bowl or porridge with honey and banana…..I should cut this out with respect to reducing grains?

    • See what works for you! You might try going off grains entirely to see if it helps. If it does, you could reintroduce gluten-free grains like quinoa and see how your body responds.

      Vitamin C and quercetin may be helpful for exercise-induced asthma as well, at least in terms of reducing bronchospasm. For long-term relief you’ll need to get your lung inflammation under control. In my experience vitamin D and reducing “leaky gut” are the most important factors in terms of reducing the allergic responses that trigger lung inflammation.

      • maria

        Thank you very much for your recommendation I will do that and hopefully my update soon will be very positive.

  36. maria

    J.D. thank you so much for doing this great blog with so many interesting articles and posts from you and your readers and most of all with your great information and experience regarding a natural cure for asthma. I thank you for taking the time to do the work and share it with us. I wish I would have read your blog a year and a half a go when I was suffering from a horrible and acute episode of gastritis/colitis/heart burn that provoked a horrible flair of my rheumatoid illnesses/costhocondritis, etc. and after been heavily medicated and filling worse than how I started so I went did my research and bumped into several studies on lupus/rheumatologic/chronic inflamation illness cures that concluded that a no starch diet, primarily and in general a no inflammation-inducing foods like no certain condiments like sugar, salt, dairy products, grains, beans, leggumes and other vegetables and fruits that have or are high in starch, gluten, casein, or induce cellular inflamation like peppers, brocolli, colliflower. In other words something like a paleo plus diet was great to attack serious inflammatory conditions, so I tried it and in 3 days I left fine after been in the ER days before!!

    I had remembered how nature is our best friend and the power of our bodies to heal once we eat propperly not industrialized food as many years a go when a had a horrible episode of very painfull stomach/gastritis/colitis/heartburn plus constipation, migranes, swollen joints, legs with no sleep I went with the help of a great doctor in Tijuana, Mexico a former gynecologist turned naturist doctor as we say in Mexico, with a desintoxication diet got me back in few days and I was a healthy skin, hair, vibrant, healthy, happy person with a one week strict plan of certain fruits first, then added certain vegetables and fruits, then certain protein, but with a lot of herbal-pre-Colombian teas and herbal medicitional extracts that are both highly nutritious, desintoxicating and great for healing your digestive system, blood circulation, pressure, etc, inmune system, etc, with Mexican licuados (the famous green licuado specially: nopal (cactus), celery, spinach, alfalfa, parsley and some type of germinate, chia, some water, lemon and real honey for taste) which are like veggie juices but much better, easier on your stomach and tasty and nutritious and thick poultices of mud on your stomach every night that miracously heals your stomach from the inside out, stops the swelling, pain, inflammation, the microorganisms suck the toxins through your pours, as was used by ancient Mexican civilizations that knew what they were doing. But as I had lost my diets for desintoxication and maintanance of health and was in another city I went to the internet for the information specially when dialing with rheumatoid conditions and found what you recommend: a healthy anti/non inflammatory diet with nutrition.

    Thanks to you I know that I can be cured of this asthma that I have from a horrible 2 week flu, with diet and nutrition, and for reminding me to take care of my self and to keep my diet clean, with some exceptions when I am in a much better condition. The good news is that your recommendations not only serve people with asthma but anyone with a serious/chronic inflammation type of illness whatever it may be and I know this from experience.

    Wonders of garlic: In another note I would like to share with you and others that a couple of years a go a got a strange pneumonia virus though I started with a heavy flu fortunally it got only stuck mostly in my digestive track I was having a very bad time and the gastro found some type of bacteria as well (all because my weaky leaky got I suppose) and gave by and antibiotic that almost send me to ER, so I did my research and discover the scientifically proven wonders of garlic, so for 10 days I crushed 10 garlic cloves left them for 15 minutes so the antibiotic properties would come out, put them in a pot to make a tea, and drank it. Well it killed everything!! the strange pneumonia virus, the bacteria and the flu. For the first time in my life a heavy flu had not become bronquitis or laringitis or pneumonia and went away quickly in 3 days!! Today a friend told me of extract of garlic that is made close to her that took him out of a horrible flu which I will get from him soon too.

    Thank you again and to all the people in your blog sharing their stories and information. I will keep you posted.

    From Baja Mexico, Maria

    • Thank you for your comment Maria! I think it’s always helpful to consider traditional diets and cures that worked for people for hundreds of years. I agree re: the antibiotic and antiviral properties of garlic … garlic is a cheap and effective cure for many ailments.

  37. Your posts here have been life-altering for me. I’ve had asthma symptoms since I was 3, I’d been taking inhaled steroids to control it at a hefty no-coverage fee for a good fifteen years, and it wasn’t until I read your initial post on asthma that it really hit me, and hard.

    That mood disorder I’d developed wasn’t because I was broken. It was the obscene amount of prescribed medication, one of which (Flovent) stopping suddenly could theoretically kill me, and one of which (Serevent) taking would over time cause worsening of asthma symptoms but I couldn’t stop because no increase of the first medication was good enough. (For any readers: this is the same as Advair only the doses I took weren’t the same ratio as Advair’s.) It had never even occurred to me to associate the taking of asthma steroids with the mood swings.

    I have not been so brave as to make severe diet changes, though I’ve switched to a mostly vegetable-based diet, done away with the milk and bread though I can’t quite get way from the cheese and yogurt, and I’m going to try that fish oil. I’ve also been taking vitamin D, though I had been doing that already simply because I’m Canadian and the lack of sunlight here almost mandates it. What made the huge difference for me, though, was the bromelian.

    I wouldn’t recommend anyone throwing out their inhalers, but since I started taking it, I have been able to taper my steroids down by 75% (not cold turkeying it, but I’m trying to get down safely to 0), it’s the middle of allergy season for me and I’ve been able to run and not need an inhaler, and before I couldn’t walk without a relief inhaler which wouldn’t really do much, so I’d just stay inside instead. The bromelian pills work as effectively to stop a mild asthma attack for me as my relief inhaler, and I have not had anything approaching a severe attack since I’ve started taking it, three pills plus instead of the reliever inhaler. I mean, yeah, I still keep it with me, but if the pills work just as well, without the dry mouth, racing heart… yeah, I think I’ll go with those.

    Your research seems pretty much sound, it’s already made an incredible difference in the quality of my life, and I will happily try the Omega3 too, but even this is wonderful, I’ve gone from being afraid to do anything because of breathing difficulties and the expense of inhalers, to confident enough to run and make it to the other side, sweaty, but not gasping. I really appreciate all your research and while I wouldn’t say what I’ve done so far is a cure, it’s definitely brought my symptoms to a much more manageable level.

    And that’s enough to make a world of a difference already.

    For people who have inflammation as a major asthma issue (tightness and not wheezing) and are afraid of giving up their chocolate and cheese, I’d definitely recommend giving bromelian a try. Especially since aspirin and Advil aren’t recommended for asthmatics, it’s a good anti-inflammatory to have in your arsenal anyway.

    • Very glad to hear it. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and I hope you continue to experience improved health!

  38. Hi J.D. Moyer have you research any more articles on Asthma? I have been battling Asthma for years, and it got worse in the past three years, when I read your article where Asthma correlates with with Vitamin D deficiency, I was so amazed, because my D levels are always very low, so I take Vitamin3 2000. I also ran across a herb called Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus), I do feel a relief about half hour taking this herb. Anyway thank you for all your information you have provided to the public.

    • Thanks for your comment. For me I found that initially a higher vitamin D dose was necessary to resolve my symptoms.

  39. 4 mth i woke up shortness of breath no wezzing or coughing and the first dc said its asthma .i finaly want to talk to a new dc .the breathing test and he said the numbers of the test said i didnt have asthma so he wants me to take the methacholine test .im on advain 230. and that dosent help some day . I came apon your story 3 wks ago and changed my diet to paleo.Im just starting to feel better.even when i look back i had a hard time breathing last time i had my coffee with suger cream .im taking the test to see if its asthma or my body just cant handle curtain foods anymore.My question to you is, did you ever have the methacholine test to make sure you had asthma.

    • I’m not familiar with that test. I was diagnosed with asthma because of a lowish peak flow, and clear asthma symptoms (chest heaviness/constriction, feeling like a deep breath wasn’t filling up my lungs, etc.). Hope you feel better — keep experimenting!

  40. Vitamin D supplements don’t seem to do much for me, sunlight or tanning works a lot better. I was tanning once weekly, hit 54 ng/ml, then a month later after 5,000 units per day I got tested again and it was 40 ng/ml. I don’t take it with lots of fat, maybe that makes a difference.
    However my method has seemed to indicate that sunlight is more effective than supplementation.

  41. My allergies have come back, probably due to low vitamin D. Went tanning today for the first time in a long time, maybe the allergies will abate.

  42. Emi

    I wanted to thank you so much for your meticulous articles. I have been suffering from allergies and allergy induced asthma all of my life. Most days I lead a generally normal life and I cope with the symptoms. I too have changed my diet quite a bit and have experimented with my share of supplements and drugs with moderate results. I exercise 3-4days a week and that helps as well. But recently my asthma has been a lot more severe than normal and I stumbled onto your article. I took your advice and went to bought some fish oil and vitamin D and within 45min of ingesting the pills I feel so much better! Thank you

  43. I would like to know what kind of fish oil, magnesium tablets and vitamin c and d tabs to buy and where to get them.

    • I think most brands will be effective. Freshness is important with fish oil, so choose refrigerated options, or stores with high turnover. To test freshness, just bite into a capsule — you’ll be able to tell if it’s rancid. To avoid fish burps and prolong freshness, keep all oil-based supplements refrigerated.

      For magnesium, I use magnesium glycinate from Swanson’s. I usually buy salmon oil from Trader Joe’s, and vitamin D from Trader Joe’s as well.

  44. Don

    Thanks for sharing your cure with us. I have suffered from asthma as an adult and have tried all of the various miserable inhalers. I typically go untreated because Albuterol and Advir are way worse than asthma, IMO. FWIW, Xopenex is an expensive alternative to Albuterol that does not make me edgy. I plan to put your recommendations to work asap to see if I can become cured like you.

    I wanted to add in something I’ve not seen posted in any of the prior comments… an acupuncturist recommended to me that I avoid drinking cold beverages, ice cream, chilled salads, or anything cold. Since it was so easy to try, I did, and I definitely recognized an improvement. I am one of those people who get complications from asthma during cold season — by avoiding cold drinks, etc., I find that I get fewer colds and less severe asthma symptoms. I have been able to recover from colds without developing bronchitis for the past 3 years now, which is amazing to me. I attribute this to eliminating cold foods and drinks. I always ask for no ice.

    — Don

  45. Maria

    Hi There! I cure the asthma completely by doing lots of sports.
    I had a bad bad asthma sense I was born. There are lots of pictures of me playing at hospital not so cheerful. When I was around 12 I start playing volley ball and then what ever sport was on my way, I must say that running fast short distances was a little bit more difficult but a long run at a slow path no problem. I was cure for sure bye bye inhaler !! bycicle everywhere! and dance all sort! karate, yoga etc….any form of sport while drinking, smoking and studying other things not related with sport.
    Today: I am 29 and I have two little boys one is two month old and the last week of my pregnancy my asthma come back, hectic! the same sort of asthma. Now maybe my kids have asthma like my father had, and like me. Because I am at home with my new born all the time and now without doing all this sports all the time, I cant prove my theorie but as soon I have more time I ll come back to my normal life full of movement and hope to a NO ASTHMA LIFE. BUT! I am going to try the paleolithic diet…..haha

    Thanks so much for the detail in your words, very very helpful.
    (and everything is true! the pollen, smoking, the food, the living everything can affect to increase or not the cause) (the worst reason that someone told me was is the karma or the mind that causes the asthma)

    Have an excellent day and week, and year,
    Marianne

    • Sorry to hear about the setback. I wonder if part of the reason for your initial recovery was being outside more with sports and getting more vitamin D from sunshine?

  46. maria

    I agree with you JD I had being doing ok because I was eating properly but the weather was not the best here in Northern Baja in NorthWest Mexico so I would not go out much thus not getting good natural vitamin D vicious cycle- but once I got to wonderful very sunny and warm turist city of Mazatlan I felt better than I had in years.

  47. Lorna Hawthorne

    Very interesting information JD. My son has been suffering terribly with asthma / allergies for most of his life and has daily wheezing and nocturnal cough. He uses salbutamol, which helps, but doctors want him on steroids, which I am desperate to avoid. He is only 4 and we have tried many approaches with varying degrees of success. Like you the time he doesn’t wheeze is when he has a viral infection which is quite bazaar as most asthmatics are worse at this time. We think that one of the big problems is candida overgrowth in the gut, caused by a daily dose of antibiotics given from 0 – 3 months as a precaution to avoid a kidney infection, due to reflux of the bladder. I was opposed to this, but felt under pressure from the medical profession to comply. He has food allergies (dairy, egg, peanut) and some intolerances, most likely due to a leaky gut. He wheezes a lot after eating even if we know the food consumed is not a trigger. He also has dust mite allergy, cat, dog and horse allergy. We have black mould in our house too and believe that he is sensitive to this due to the candida overgrowth. We have seen a very knowledgeable doctor of ecological medicine who has recommended an anti candida diet, probiotic and antifungal, along with supplements of magnesium, zinc and Vitamin D and diet with a good balance in omega 3’s and 6’s. He doesn’t have gluten, rarely eats corn, no sugar in diet apart from occasional low sugar fruits (raspberries, etc) or processed foods, only drinks water, no dairy. We are quite cautious in introducing supplements as Jacob often seems to react to these. We are using Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) in the bath, as this is absorbed through the skin and is good to flush out toxins. I have held off on introducing the Vitamin D supplement as the weather was good and I sent all the children outside to play in their pants!! (interestingly he was much better then and I didn’t make the connection of the Vitamin D, but more the warmer weather. I am now keen to introduce this supplement to see how he fairs. We also use homeopathy and are just about to start an anti-candida homeopathic treatment plan.
    Thanks again for the articles.

    • Hi Lorna — I hope your son has a complete recovery. Supplemental vitamin D seems like a safe, inexpensive thing to try, and there is clinical evidence to support its use for childhood asthma.

      If there is a lot of mold, that seems to be the #1 problem to address in terms of air quality. Wishing you and your family excellent health.

    • maria

      Maybe you should also avoid starch foods (rice, Potatoes, bananas, etc), highly sugary fruits, citric fruit or tomato juices (they can be eaten if there is no sign of gastritis )this to help your son’s digestive system and inmune systems which is in the stomach, veggie enzymes are fantastic, and wearibg a whool or natural maywrial night cap to bed seems to help a friend of mine son and me during fall and winter.

      • Lorna Hawthorne

        Jacob is currently off all fruits apart from a few berries here and there. He also doesn’t eat tomatoes at the moment. I will look into the cap, Maria, thank you.

        • maria

          Have you try the buteyko or pranayama breathing tecniques against asthma. When I was sick this year I discovered them in you tube and was amazed on immediate results and told this to my specialist and to my ternist and they both told me they are great so I do them at night if I feel my asthma coming, though as they explained this should be learn and practiced regularly for permanent results with the guidance of someone that knows the techniques well. There are authorized teachinug instructors for the Buteyco technique around the world and many yoga teachers that know well breathing techniques that are fantastic for asthma patients like the pranayama or others.

          • Lorna Hawthorne

            yes, actually, I have also seen a video on you tube about these techniques and I use them with great success with Jacob to calm him down without the use of his salbutamol inhaler. I find it a very effective technique and will definitely look into getting some expert tuition in these field. Thank you for your ideas.

  48. Geetha

    Hi moyer,
    I have read your both blog about astama and paleo diet.. you have provided a very important informTion. I have been suffering from some allergiws and astamatic problem. To get rid of that I have tries to suicide two time but stil I am alive I need your assistance could. I explain my proble below
    I have worst nasalallergy which made my life like hell I have been suffering from 6 years later I started facing whistling and breathing problem inwinter tried out all ayurvedic medication but couldnot help. Strange thing is I get this breathingproblem only in winter hardly for 3 months after that absolute I will be fine no problems at all I can run swim I can play sports.. by knowing this problem my boyfriend left me I am 26 now. I felt bad if I think about future please help me on this I beg.

    • Sorry to hear about your problems Geetha. I’m not a doctor, but it seems reasonable to try eliminating grains and dairy from your diet to see if that helps. Bromelain may be an effective supplement to reduce sinus inflammation. Please see a doctor and get help for your mental health as well.

      • Geetha

        Hi moyer,
        Thank you for reply.. my symptom looks like astama but the thing is I will suffer only in winter season that too about 2 to 3 months. Every one are facing same issue..? Please help me

        • maria

          Of course weather can trigger asthma attacks, bronchitis, sinus, allergies, etc. That is what happends to me so I have to take preventive measures like Moyer suggests, good nutrition, exercise, sun or vitamin D3, lots of water, omega3, vitamin C, no processed foods, no refined sugar and flour that weakens your inmune system and first of all a true will t o love and take care of once self and heal and enjoy life. A strong spirit makes a strong and healthy mind that makes a strong heart that makes a strong and healthy body and viceversa.

          • Geetha.

            Thanks alot maria..
            I just want another information as I said earlier I have bad nasal allergy if I get any smell I get sneezing runny nose irritation a lot. I cannot tolerate any more. Doctor has given one nasal spray but every seconds I feel I am very sick and I am going to die very soon. I do not how should I get rid of this please help me

    • kalpak

      Hi Geetha,

      I too had nasal allergies and subsequently I am getting in to difficult breathing. I am yet to try dietory approach sincerely but being vegetarian, I think I am having lots of Omega 6 fatty acids. Will switch to coconut oil and see what happens.

      Why don’t you try two sprays in each nostrile a day of AVAMYS? Fluticasone Fuorate sprays? It subsided my nasal polyps

      Also thanks JD Moyer for well written and instigating article.

  49. PR

    Hey JD, Doctors do ask us to eat healthy but don’t say stop wheat or adhere to this regiment because none of it has actually been proven to cure asthma as you say, along with that its risky for the doctors to say take this diet and you’ll be fine, forget your inhalers because if in case the diets don’t work out, and you have an attack in the middle of nowhere and you don’t have your inhaler with you, you die.

    Modern medicine to control asthma are pretty decent, stop hyping up the effect of asthma on quality of life, yes its a disease and also no cure for it has been found, what you are doing is also no cure but only a way to control the symptoms.

    Stop with the fear spreading and hyping the ill effects of asthma, it makes the patients only more nervous about it.

    Guys asthma is a very controllable genetic disorder, which is no big deal in the current age of medicine, there is no need to beat yourself about it, you can have a very healthy, normal life even if you have asthma.

    And Geetha, if some guy left you because you have asthma then you deserve a better guy and that guy doesn’t deserve you.

    • PR — I appreciate where you are coming from, but for me conventional medicine did not work. I am not the only one for which this is true. If you are interested in the full story, it’s also available on my blog:

      http://jdmoyer.com/2010/07/17/how-i-cured-my-asthma-with-one-simple-lifestyle-change/

      There is clinical evidence that higher vitamin D levels are associated with lower rates of asthma (cited above). While this doesn’t constitute proof, a cautious physician might include vitamin D as an option while discussing treatment possibilities with a patient, especially if that patient is concerned about side effects. Trying vitamin D or dietary modification first doesn’t preclude trying inhaled steroids and/or albuterol later.

      Not everyone’s asthma is the same. For me asthma symptoms seriously impaired my quality of life, and allopathic treatment had side effects that were even worse. That’s the reason I present my own experiences and ideas here.

  50. John A

    Hey JD,

    Nice blog .. I am asthmatic since last 1 year Till now I have been taking medicine telekast L as a recovery med from asthma attack. It takes 2 hours for me to recover from asthma attack. Till now the identified triggers seems to be cold air , emotions and GERD for me.
    I dont want to take any inhaler .. As per ur suggestion I have started taking omega 3 pills + multivitamin tablets. Any more suggestions are welcome.. Thanks for such a nice blog.

    – Yours well wisher.

    • Hi John — please note that I didn’t recommend a multivitamin (for me, supplemental B vitamins seem to aggravate asthma). I recommended vitamin D, fish oil, and low-gluten or gluten-free diet.

      • Jen

        Hi J.D. Thank you for such an informative article. I am 32 years old and have just started experiencing Asthma symptoms. I am in the midst of allergy testing. I moved to a wooded area where there are tons of trees, wildlife, a lake and pollens and I also took my dog with me who sheds during this time of year. Although I have always had a dog, I recently rescued my current dog in April. The allergist seems to think my symptoms could be related as I do have a moderate dog allergy. Apparently it takes a few months for allergies to show up. I had to have a PFT test and am still awaiting the results. They made me take two puffs of an albuterol inhaler between the tests and I spent the rest of the day a nervous wreck, so jittery, anxious and feeling like I was a mile a minute. I do know that these are common side effects but I can’t deal with that. I am anxious enough without drugs. Alas, I am scouring the internet to find a way to deal with this itchy, tight chest and dry cough. I was tested for Vitamin D level and came in at a low of 24ml. I understand that normal is like 25ml? But compared to your levels I am serious lacking in Vitamin D!! Anyhow, I was wondering if you knew how long it takes for the Vitamin D to take effect and help with respiratory issues. At least in your experience if you could share when you finally felt some relief. That would be much appreciated!

      • John

        Thanks JD ! for fish oil I am taking sea cod capsules, what should I take for vitamin D and magnesium ?

        I guess magnesium tablets comes with calcium that could lead to kidney stones ??

        Thanks

        • Hi John — I take magnesium glycinate which you can order online. Vitamin D I just get from Trader Joe’s. There are fancier brands you can get but I’m not sure it makes a difference.

  51. Nikki

    I’m so glad I’ve just read this and another one of your articles. I’ve suffered with asthma all of my life, hospitalised at least once a year up until the age of 17 and then it’s been up and down since. I’m now 35 and even though I take seretide, montelukast sodium and ventolin it still doesn’t seem fully controlled and I hate taking so many drugs. I’ve had allergy tests done which show allergy to animal dander, dust, trees, pollen but even though I’ve asked the doctors if it could be diet related they are unwilling to even look at it as a possibility. Over the last 6 months my asthma has got worse, I’m currently on my 4th course of prednisolone steroids and have had to increase the use of both inhalers. Despite this I still can’t walk up the stairs without being severely out of breath. They’ve done a chest X-Ray which was clear and blood tests to look at iron levels but nothing else. The doctor has referred me to a respiratory clinic at the hospital but I worry that all they will want to do is change/increase my medication.
    Feeling pretty low with how bad my asthma is at the moment so reading this post gives me some hope that by changing my diet it may help reduce my symptoms.
    Thanks for the info and thank you to everyone else for sharing their experiences xx

    • Best wishes and good health to you — keep trying stuff until you feel better. And make sure to get your vitamin D levels checked and supplement if needed. Many factors can reduce vitamin D absorption including alcohol and fructose intake.

  52. Anne

    Thanks for your excellent and informative blog! I have been following your advice for about 4 months now, and taking d3, b12, vitamin c. I have allergies, sneezing every morning which I have had for 30 years as well as asthma which has developed in the last few years. The asthma had got so bad last winter I was overusing my inhaler and getting through 2 a month, using it during the night etc. I noticed improvement as soon as I started taking vitamin d3 and within 2 weeks over the summer I was inhaler free! I thought it was cured but then the British winter has started, the heating is on and I have started coughing again. I should say I have also been seeing a herbalist for almost a year who advised a similar diet. My challenge in following your diet is that I don’t eat meat ( but eat fish). I have aLso been doing the budwig protocol and having the flaxseed muesli recipe daily for a few months but now a few times a week. She says not to take fish oil but only flax oil, but I have decided to try fish oil now I am coughing again.how important do you think taking magnesium is too?

    • Glad the vitamin D has had a positive effect. You could try fish oil and/or cod liver oil for a few weeks and see how you feel. I do think taking some form of chelated magnesium is important, especially with vitamin D supplementation. Magnesium help relax smooth muscle tissue and may help with the coughing.

  53. If you have dental amalgams, metals put on your teeth when you have cavities, are asthma triggers.
    my asthma problem started when the dentist put me metal amalgams in my teeth, these contains mercury which is very dangerous for health and one of the many symptoms are asthma and generally weaken the immune system, I hope you do have these metals in the teeth withdraw immediately, For more info, contac me: [email protected]

  54. Tricia

    Great info. Just reading it makes me feel better. Thank you. There are some new things I can try here. My asthma started in my 40’s, a reaction to my partner’s dog. I no longer have the partner but I still have the asthma! Homeopathic remedies really help my symptoms but I need to stop the triggers. I don’t think anyone has mentioned water? That is, poor hydration levels and a possible link. I’ve spent the last week trying to up my water intake, which was previously really poor. I think, in my case, this is going to help. Any thoughts on hydration please?

  55. A reader wrote in to share some research she’s done on various supplements and asthma/allergies. Some interesting research here:
    http://www.healinghacker.com/supplements-reduce-allergies/

  56. Lora

    Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  57. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey, it’s really inspiring to think asthma can be “cured”. Like you I was diagnosed with asthma as an adult as well as allergies and have been extremely disheartened thinking I’ll be dealing with these symptoms for the rest of my life. I hate the idea of taking medication for the rest of my life especially when they don’t make me feel 100% healthy! When I was pregnant with my son one of my OB/GYNs actually recommended going gluten and dairy free and informed me about leaky gut and how so many of our allergies and asthma are caused by our poor diet. At first I thought she was ridiculous, especially when my Allergist never mentioned anything about diet or vitamins helping and instead kept prescribing drugs but after yet another year of feeling like crud I started doing my own research and realized there is so much evidence to back up diet being the main factor which makes sense considering allergies and asthma didn’t strike me until I was 30. Reading about your experience gives me renewed hope and I’m ready to start working on my diet and supplement routine not only to get rid of these issues but also to live a healthier life. Thank you!

    • Thanks for your comment, and I’m guessing you can look forward to other benefits as well as easier breathing. Good health to you!

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