There is a TV commercial for an asthma drug that lists as one of its side effects an “increased risk of asthma-related death.” In what upside-down world does that sound like a good deal? And why don’t we hear about magnesium for asthma? I’ll answer my own question: magnesium is quite cheap. No magnesium supplier can afford to send a rep to your doctor’s office with lunch for the staff like the drug companies do. Magnesium sellers certainly can’t pay for TV ads. Even if they could, the FDA will not let them hint at a connection between magnesium and asthma no matter how valid the claim. (Didn’t there used to be some constitutional amendment about freedom of speech?…)
In a study of non-smoking adults it was found that those with the lowest vitamin D levels had the weakest lung function, more excitable airways and a reduced response to medication. The reverse was true of those with higher vitamin D levels. In a follow up clinical study, researchers did not find that the supplementation protocol they used helped with any measure except the dose of medication required to maintain control. That is something, but too bad they did not test to see what blood levels they attained with the supplements because the amount given might not have been adequate.
Magnesium may benefit mild to moderate asthma. This randomized placebo-controlled study showed good results (both lab measures and quality of life) with only 340 mg of magnesium (170 mg twice a day). Magnesium is anti-inflammatory and functions in hundreds of reactions in the body. The fact that it is insufficient in the average diet might have something to do with increased incidence of asthma. But it often takes hundreds of studies on a nutrient to get it incorporated into mainstream medicine’s recommendations. (Meanwhile, a single study may be enough to roll the bandwagon for a new-to-the-planet relatively toxic chemical drug—even if it’s only slightly better than placebo. It’s a crazy situation because with magnesium we’re giving the body something it actually needs.)
A relatively small 2-month study involving patients aged 7-19 years with moderate persistent asthma used oral magnesium supplements. Researched found the supplements reduced bronchial reactivity, diminished allergen-induced skin issues and provided better symptom control. The magnesium dose used was 300 mg/day.
Omega-3 is anti-inflammatory. Studies show promise for asthma, but I wouldn’t wait for proof because increasing omega-3 (e.g. fish oil) and reducing omega-6 (e.g. vegetable oil) has shown to be so broadly beneficial.
The Allergy and Asthma Cure, by Fred Pescatore, MD
From the Condition/Supplement Database (note the tabs like “Need to Know” at the top.)
Copyright 2014 by Martie Whittekin, CCN