Magnesium for Asthma Relief

Anyone that suffers from asthma will know of the terrible risks anddebilitating ailments that can accompany this inflammatory condition.

With over 2 million Australians diagnosed with asthma, the number isrising every year – an alarming fact considering the dangerousconsequences an asthma attack can bring.

Promising research is now offering hope and a safe, naturalalternative for all asthmatics. Simple supplementation with the mineralmagnesium is showing amazing results for the relief of asthma – withadults and children alike experiencing life-changing benefits.

According to recent data released by the National Asthma Council of Australia, in 2007 alone, 385 people died from asthma.

The prevalence of asthma in Australia is also quite high by International Standards, with 11.3% of children aged 0 to 5 years, and between 9.9% and 15.1% of adults being diagnosed with asthma.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways. The inflammation causes the airways to narrow as a result of contraction of the airway smooth muscle swelling. In susceptible people, the inflammation causes recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing.

Generally asthma is a treatable health condition, however long-term use of preventative medications (Ventolin, Seretide etc). Developed in the 1960’s, medications like Ventolin ease or prevent the onset of asthma by forcing the airways to open after inhalation.

Though this is considered a safe way to avoid an attack, recent research held at the University of Pittsburgh has shown the one of the chemicals in Ventolin, known as (S)-albuterol, reacts with preventative steroids and stops them working effectively.

The researchers have suggested that this inhibition of steroids will actually make the conditions worse in some patients by chemically altering our ‘preventive’ processes in the body.

When approached following the 2004 study, a spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline (the manufacturers of Ventolin), said: “Salbutamol (salbuterol) is for the short term relief of asthma symptoms and has been used by millions of patients worldwide.”

This came as worrying news for the millions of Australians who rely on Ventolin (and generic alternatives which contain the same active ingredients) as a daily preventative.

Though, as GlaxoSmithKline have suggested, Ventolin is only for short-term use, most asthma sufferers use or have used Ventolin long-term with the belief that it will only help ease asthma – not promote its’ reoccurence.

Fortunately, research conducted in 2006run by clinical researchers in Brazil has offered some promising results for asthma sufferers worldwide, especially children.

The double-blind, randomized parallel placebo-controlled study, published online in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, investigated the long-term effect of oral magnesium supplementation on clinical symptoms, bronchial reactivity, lung function and allergen-induced skin responses.

The study recruited 37 children and adolescents with moderate persistent asthma (aged between seven and 19, 18 females) and assigned them to received either magnesium supplements (18 subjects, magnesium 300mg a day) or placebo (glycine, 19 subjects). Both groups received their respective treatments for a 2 month period.

Both patient groups received the inhaled asthma medications fluticasone (250 micrograms twice a day) and salbutamol (albuterol) if required.

After two months, the researchers (from the University of Campinas and the University of Sao Paulo) found that the children taking the magnesium supplements had, on average, 28 percent fewer days of severe asthma.

The magnesium supplements were also associated with a reduction in the use of salbutamol (ventolin) of almost 40 percent.

The researchers also used a methacholine challenge test to assess airway responsiveness in the subjects. In the test, the patient inhales an aerosol of one or more concentrations of methacholine, which constricts the lungs.

If the forced expiratory volume decreases 20 percent from baseline in one second, the patient’s airway responsiveness is considered poor.

After two months of magnesium supplementation, it was found that almost double the concentration of methacholine was needed to induce the 20 percent fall in forced expiratory volume compared to baseline. No significant difference in methacholine concentrations was observed for the placebo group.

According to lead author Clesio Gontijo-Amaral “Our results showed that after two months, children and adolescents with moderate persistent asthma who were treated on a regular basis with fluticasone and received oral magnesium supplementation presented a significant improvement in bronchial responsiveness, as assessed by the methacholine test.”

Emed’s Comment:

This is a good, solid research study showing one of the many benefits of magnesium.

Magnesium benefits the body in so many different ways. Just a few of its’ many actions include:

  • Maintenance and promotion of normal muscle function; reduces cramping, spasms and promotes repair
  • Maintains normal function of nerves, encourages faster muscle contractions
  • Is pivotal in the absorption of calcium; promotes bone health and density
  • Protein synthesis; aids in the break-down and utilisation of protein into amino acids
  • Plays an important role in cellular metabolism
  • Vital for sustaining a healthy heart and normal heart beat
  • Prevention of osteoporosis by encouraging the utilisation of calcium
  • Natural anti-inflammatory; addresses source of inflammation and encourages healing
  • Pain relief; due to its’ muscle relaxation properties, magnesium quickly relieves muscular pain and stiffness
  • Important for helping to control blood sugar levels and diabetes

There are many more benefits – too many for this article. However, the main benefit of magnesium for asthma sufferers is its’ anti-inflammatory benefits.

Magnesium works on a cellular levels to reduce over-mediated inflammatory response. Basically, unlike conventional asthma medications, magnesium will address the source of the inflammation in the bronchial tubes; relaxing the muscles and assist with preventing inflammation (ie. asthma).

The equation is simple. More magnesium = less inflammation. Less inflammation and les muscle spasm in the airways = less asthma.

Most people simply don’t maintain proper levels of magnesium. As we have mentioned many times before, over-farming of soil, processed foods, chemicals, poor diets and ‘junk’ render our food nutrient-poor.

Our food lacks most important vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, so supplementation is needed.

In no way are we suggesting that magnesium will ‘cure’ asthma, however it will go a long way in assisting the management of asthma. Indeed the study indicates that magnesium may assist the efficiancy of some asthma drug medications such as fluticasone.

As many parents will know, having a child with asthma can be a worrying thing – never knowing when the next attack will strike can be a frightening thing. Filling up our children with drugs is not much better.

As the research study showed, supplementation with magnesium produced 28% fewer days of severe asthma (in just a two month period) and reduced the need for asthma medication by a massive 40%! One could assume that the results could only get better if magnesium supplementation became a daily thing.

The same thing applies to adults too. Magnesium supplementation will aid in reducing asthma symptoms, muscle pain and recovery, even from an asthma attack.

We have many different magnesium muscle relaxants available on Emed. Suitable for teenagers and adults, these muscle relaxants contain high doses of magnesium, vitamins, minerals and calcium to fully support absorption and utilisation in the body.

Though these may be suitable for children, we recognise that a child-specific magnesium supplement is always more welcoming.

Fibroplex Plus for Kids is specially formulated for the younger ones. It contains vitamins, minerals and amino acids to support active children, and it tastes good too. It is suited for both asthma sufferers and non-asthma sufferers. It will help to relieve tension, stress and muscular aches and pains whilst promoting energy production and neuromuscular function. Its’ powdered form means that it’s quickly absorbed into the body and can be mixed into juice or water for fussy kids.

What else can I do?

If you or your child suffer from asthma, there are a few more things that can be done to reduce your condition.

Diet plays a big role in asthma prevention. Our intake of foods that promote inflammation has risen steadily since the introduction of agriculture. Like it or not, grain products like bread, cereal, pasta and rice promote a inflammatory state in the body – promoting conditions like asthma. Our intake of processed foods, chemicals and ‘junk’ doesn’t help.

Educate yourself on what you should be eating and take a proactive approach to preventing asthma:

Exercise is also key to boosting your cardiovascular health. Strengthening your respiratory system will only help to reduce asthma, however going too hard, too fast can encourage it. If you or your children suffer from asthma, start with some light walking, and gradually increase the intensity as symptoms improve.

Swimming is also a great way to exercise without straining asthma levels. Exercise doesn’t always have to be high intensity – even a light stroll a few times around the block is adequate. Encourage exercise, rather than shying away from it – it will only help you.

Ensure adequate vitamin and mineral intake. Use of a strong multivitamin/multimineral supplement provides your body with adequate nutrients to function optimally all the time.

A lot of cases of asthma are directly related to food allergies and sensitivities. Intake of a ‘reactive’ food will continue to promote inflammation despite your best efforts. If you are worried about you or your child’s food allergies, and the effects they could have on your health, invest in an IgG Food Allergy Test.

Not only is it a wise investment in your health, it will give you an exact, personalised list of what foods to avoid based on your sample.

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