top of page
  • Writer's pictureDr. Kim Ross

The Top 10 Supplements for Asthma Support


Infographic of Top 10 supplements

Here are our top 10 supplements for asthma support

(in no particular order!)


#1 Omega 3 fatty acids: Also referred to as fish oil, typically contain both EPA and DHA, which is known for its anti-inflammatory effects (1). It does this by blocking leukotriene and arachidonic acid synthesis. 

~ Leukotrienes are chemicals that are released in the body when it comes in contact with an allergen. This reaction results in things like mucus formation, coughing, and inflammation.

~ While it is needed in the body, arachidonic acid produced in excess can contribute to chronic inflammation.

 

Higher omega-3 status, consumed in diet and supplementation, has been shown to improve airway responsiveness to allergens, respiratory function, and result in better-controlled asthma (2). We don’t recommend relying on fish oil supplements alone for asthma control; rather, consume omega 3-rich foods, such as fatty fish, 2-3 times per week, along with supplementation.

 



#2 Vitamin D: Vitamin D will likely be recommended for nearly every condition out there due to its many bodily functions. It is a powerhouse for inflammation due to its role in balancing the inflammatory response through Treg cells in the immune system. Vitamin D dosing is always best determined based on lab values.

 

#3 Boswellia: Also called salai guggul or Indian frankincense. This is an anti-inflammatory botanical that appears to work by inhibiting leukotriene synthesis. (Some asthma medications are designed in this way.) (2) It can be used with asthma medications. A common dose is 300-500 mg 2-3 times daily. Boswellia Extract from Vital Nutrients can be a nice choice.

 

#4 Licorice: No, not the candy, but the botanical Glycyrrhiza glabra. The active ingredient, glycyrrhizin, is an anti-inflammatory and expectorant, meaning it will help release the mucus from the respiratory tract. It can be used as a dried root or tincture; however, caution should be used as this can increase cortisol levels and cannot be used in people with hypertension (2). Speak to your nutritionist, herbalist, or healthcare provider to determine if this is an option for you. 

 

#5 Pycnogenol: This blend of bioflavonoids helps reduce inflammatory cytokines and blocks leukotrienes. Studies have shown that this can help reduce asthma symptoms and the need for rescue medications. It is often taken after a meal due to its astringent taste and doses can vary (2).

 

#6 Antioxidants: Vitamin C is one of the most well-known antioxidants and immune supporter. Vitamin C has been studied for its use in asthma with mixed findings, though appears to beneficial at doses of 1,000 mg per day (3). Selenium is a trace element used in a variety of functions in the body, including immune and thyroid health. Evidence suggests that approximately 140-200 mcg of selenium per day can help improve lung function in those with asthma (4). In fairness, 1 Brazil nut contains about 90 mg of selenium, so you might want to add 1-2 to your daily routine! Vitamin E may be beneficial for asthma sufferers. However, there are nuances since studies suggest the alpha-tocopherol isoform may be beneficial while the gamma-tocopherol form may not be (5). Caution should be exercised when choosing a vitamin E supplement. 

 

#7 Perilla seed (Perilla frutescens): This herb is traditionally used in Chinese medicine for asthma. While the mechanism of action has not been determined, it appears to have antiallergic effects on asthma sufferers by acting as an anti-inflammatory and immune regulator (6). The biologically active flavonoids, luteolin and rosmarinic acid should be present in the supplement chosen. We like Perimine from Metagenics.

 

#8 Quercetin: This functional food helps to control inflammation and balance the immune response, making it a potential therapy for many allergic and inflammatory conditions, including asthma. This helps to stabilize mast cells, which are responsible for the production of histamine (7). This is the mechanism by which some asthma medications work. So, you can think of quercetin as a natural antihistamine. We like HistaEze, which contains quercetin, vitamin C, and nettle leaf.

 

#9 Caffeine: While not a supplement, per se, caffeine has been shown to be favorable for lung health. It works as a bronchodilator, opening airways in the lungs while also relaxing the muscles around the lungs. Its beneficial effects appear to last for about 4 hours after consuming 1-5 cups of caffeine (8).

 

#10 Salt inhaler: While it might seem that salt rooms are a newer phenomenon, this therapy has been used for years as an ancient therapy for lung health. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America considered salt therapy a safe treatment option while sharing caution about the extent of its benefits. While there are limited studies on this therapy, of those conducted, benefits include improved respiratory function as assessed by several markers, improved quality of life, and decrease or elimination of some medications (9).

You don’t have to go to a salt room; rather, a salt inhaler will do the trick. Note: the salt is known to help clear the airways by working as an expectorant, meaning you will likely cough and clear mucus following the treatment. There is only one inhaler we recommend by Symphony Natural Health.


Summary

There are many alternative options available to help support asthma symptoms and attacks. For general support that includes omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil), vitamin D, and antioxidants, consider Wellness Essentials from Metagenics. Please check with your practitioner prior to starting any new supplements to determine what is best for you.


For more information on asthma, explore these other blogs:

 

Download the Top 10 Supplements for Asthma Support Infographic below! 👇🏼

Top 10 Supplements for Asthma Support
.pdf
Download PDF • 6.89MB

Disclaimer: Remember to always check with your healthcare provider before beginning any new supplements.  These may also be contraindicated with current medications or other lifestyle choices.  *These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

This content is provided for educational purposes only and should not replace the guidance of your healthcare provider(s).


Written by Dr. Kim Ross

Last reviewed and Updated June 29, 2024 


References: 1. Stoodley I, Garg M, Scott H, Macdonald-Wicks L, Berthon B, Wood L. Higher omega-3 index is associated with better asthma control and lower medication dose: A cross-sectional study. Nutrients. 2020;12(1). doi:10.3390/nu12010074

2. Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 5th ed. Elsevier; 2023.

3.  Ghalibaf MHE, Kianian F, Beigoli S, et al. The effects of vitamin C on respiratory, allergic and immunological diseases: an experimental and clinical-based review. Inflammopharmacology. 2023;31(2). doi:10.1007/s10787-023-01169-1

4.  Jiang H, Yang G, Chen J, et al. The correlation between selenium intake and lung function in asthmatic people: a cross-sectional study. Front Nutr. 2024;11. doi:10.3389/fnut.2024.1362119

5.  Cook-Mills JM, Abdala-Valencia H, Hartert T. Two faces of vitamin e in the lung. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013;188(3). doi:10.1164/rccm.201303-0503ED

6. Yang H, Sun W, Fan YN, et al. Perilla Leaf Extract Attenuates Asthma Airway Inflammation by Blocking the Syk Pathway. Mediators Inflamm. 2021;2021. doi:10.1155/2021/6611219

7. Najaf Najafi N, Armide N, Akbari A, Baradaran Rahimi V, Askari VR. Quercetin a promising functional food additive against allergic Diseases: A comprehensive and mechanistic review. J Funct Foods. 2024;116:106152. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2024.106152

8. Welsh EJ, Bara A, Barley E, Cates CJ. Caffeine for asthma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2010;2012(8). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001112.pub2

9.  Rashleigh R, Smith SMS, Roberts NJ. A review of halotherapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. International Journal of COPD. 2014;9. doi:10.2147/COPD.S57511 

7 views

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page