What is Asthma

Asthma is a condition that affects the airways-the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. With asthma, the airways become over-sensitive and react to things that would normally not cause a problem, such as cold air or dust. Muscles around the wall of the airway tighten up, making it narrow and difficult for the air to flow in and out. The lining of the airways gets swollen (just like your nose during a cold) and sticky mucus is produced, clogging up the breathing passages. With the airways narrowed like this, you can see why it becomes difficult for air to move in and out and why the chest has to work so much.

Vitamin C

High doses of vitamin C may lower the allergic inflammation of the airways by modulating the lymphocyte balance in the body, according to a study published in the October 2009 issue of the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry." Vitamin C can be obtained from foods such as citrus fruits, berries, green peppers, tomatoes and cantaloupes, and from supplements available at most local health stores. Side effects include upset stomach and diarrhoea; it is best to talk to a physician before supplementing.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found in fortified dairy products, cereals and oysters. Your body can also produce significant amounts of the vitamin when exposed to sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes for 3 days in a week. Synthetic and natural supplements may also be consumed to obtain the required amount of the vitamin. However, vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common and this, as per a study published in the November 2007 issue of the "Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology," may be responsible for increased prevalence of asthma today. The researchers of the study recommend vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy to prevent asthma in young children. However, take the supplements under the supervision of a doctor only to avoid side effects such as nausea, vomiting, confusion and kidney stones.

Vitamin E

Another study published in a 2002 issue of the "American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine" also points out that vitamin E along with vitamin C may prevent free radical-mediated damage of the airways in children with asthma. The unstable free radicals bind to the DNA and proteins of healthy cells and damage them. Olives, nuts, green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals are good sources of the vitamin along with supplements. The supplements, however, may increase the risk of bleeding and birth defects, and hence, should not be used without the guidance of a doctor.

Vitamin B-12

The University of Maryland Medical Center also states that vitamin B-12 injections may help treat chronic asthma. However, scientific studies and clinical trials are lacking. The supplements and injections of the vitamin may also cause imbalance of some other important B vitamins in the body.

So, always talk to a doctor before using vitamin B-12 to treat asthma

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