Asthma Management

The incidence of asthma and allergy are on the rise with ever increasing understanding of the role of unique genetic changes to epithelial tissues and environmental impacts including nutrition and bacteria.[1]

But aside from the choices f intervention, asthma management is all about limiting the triggers managing the symptoms and helping to maintain function. Helping the individuals to avoid hospital visits, experience adverse effects of medication are also important.

You should keep in mind that there are a small number of steps that it is worth either undertaking directly with your patient or referring them to their GP or specialist.

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Asthma and Bugs a Marriage Blessed in Muck

Those of us living in the country and in contact with farms and farm animals are being blessed with an immune priming experience for free – other than the cost of washing the clothes!

The exposure to bacteria, fungi and other microbes confers to us a unique advantage in the reduction of asthma and atopy incidence compared to children who never have farmyard contact and has previously been reported as such.[1]

I can see some innovative farmers seeking to promote a day out at their farms as an immune priming experience in the future a sort of ‘Farm Yard Atopy Camp’ for all children under 5 with a guaranteed cowlick experience!

A dirty weekend away will start to lose its cachet amongst the older family members and represent a weekend of juvenile delights in which washing behind the ears will be postponed for a little while.

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Vegas, Pregnancy, Immunity and Allergy Prevention!

The saying is ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’, or if you are English ‘what happens in Blackpool….’ but the same cannot be said about what happens in utero, as increasing evidence supports the understanding that the maternal nutritional environment and early feeding affects the health of the foetus beyond infancy and into adulthood.[1],[2] An article in Nature’s Mucosal Immunology this month explores some of the key events in foetal and neonatal immune management.[3] It stimulated a revisit to the area of what to consider for parents to be and mums of young children when they ask ‘is there anything I can do to prevent or reduce the risk of allergy or atopy in my child’.

The first moments, weeks and months of life can determine the health outcomes of an individual over the duration of their lifetime and this knowledge represents a significant choice for prospective parents. Fortunately the remarkable adaptability of the immune and central nervous system means that there are numerous opportunities in the early years of life to positively influence health outcomes even if the early stages were less than optimal.

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Vitamin D Halves Asthma Hospitalisation Risk

There seems no end to the illnesses this secasteroid is capable of influencing, although it should be of no real surprise that Vit D deficiency is linked to the respiratory condition asthma. The reason….mucosal tissues such as those found in the lung are rich with immune receptors that are intimately tied into the Vit D receptor family. Vitamin D up regulates a specific gene that produces over 200 anti-microbial peptides, some of which work like a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

Because of its beneficial role in respiratory tract infections and immune system modulation, it has been hypothesised that vitamin D status might affect the risks for exacerbations.[1] This paper shows show that children with initial circulating vitamin D levels of 30 ng/mL or less (vitamin D insufficiency) have a 50% greater risk for severe exacerbation over the course of a 4-year clinical trial of asthma treatment than children with circulating vitamin D levels of 30 ng/mL or greater (vitamin D sufficiency) at the start of the trial.

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Coeliac Disease – Local & Systemic Consequences

leaky gutCoeliac disease is an inflammatory disorder with autoimmune features that is characterised by destruction of the intestinal epithelium and remodelling of the intestinal mucosa following the ingestion of dietary gluten. The human gut is home to trillions of commensal microorganisms, and we are just beginning to understand how these microorganisms interact with, and influence, the host immune system. This may also include the late onset development of Coeliac Disease, or gluten intolerance.

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DHA & Vit D in Pregnancy, A Key Role for Both

The Safe Foundation for a Healthy Pregnancy

APA logoThe omega-3 DHA is an “essential” fatty acid that the body cannot produce and must be consumed through diet or supplementation. The baby must acquire its DHA from its mother, and she must obtain it by increasing the omega-3s in her daily diet or from daily supplementation.[1] International recommendations suggest that pregnant and nursing women consume 300-600mg of DHA every day to ensure that mothers remain healthy during and after pregnancy, and that their babies have every opportunity for healthy development.[2]

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Herbal Adaptogens For Asthma and Adrenal Function

A Blend of Unique Herbs May Have Wide Clinical Application

Focus - Allergy Research Group NewsletterIn 2006  a landmark study from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York, the Weifang Asthma Hospital and the Weifang School of Medicine in China reported on a novel blend of Chinese herbs (named ASHMI) that proved statistically as effective as steroids in alleviating asthma symptoms. Now we report more fully on these unique adaptogenic herbs, which may have far wider application than asthma alone. There were preliminary indications that this formula may in fact restore adrenal function, and thus be useful in relationship to many chronic illnesses associated with adrenal fatigue. Highlights of the new information we include in this article:

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Mechanisms of Immune Tolerance to Allergens

Co-evolutionary development of the immune system together with infections and non-infectious environmental proteins (allergens) has generated biologically relevant thresholds and major directions to be taken by the immune system. The default healthy immune response to allergens is expected to be no response, however, detectable T cell and antibody (particularly IgG4 and IgG1) response has been demonstrated in sensitized, but clinically healthy individuals. If an immune response develops in healthy individuals, the immune system shows allergen-specific tolerance by using multiple mechanisms in order to keep the intensity of the inflammation low and tissue destruction small.

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Has Mandatory Folic Acid Supplementation Of Foods Increased The Risk Of Asthma And Allergic Disease?

Folate (the naturally occurring form) and folic acid are forms of a water-soluble B vitamin (B9) that were first synthesized in 1945. Folate functions as an important cofactor in the transfer and use of 1-carbon moieties, primarily methyl groups. An important advance in understanding subclinical folate deficiency came in 1991 with the demonstration that folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy dramatically reduced the risk of neural-tube defects in newborns. Folate supplementation of women before and during the first trimester of pregnancy has a dose-response effect in preventing neural-tube defects, ranging from a 23% reduction with 200 μg to an 85% reduction with 5000 μg of folic acid per day. The strong evidence demonstrating reduced risks of neural-tube defects led to mandatory folic acid fortification of cereal grain products in the United States by January 1, 1998. Fortification of foods with folic acid in the United States costs about $1,000 per neural-tube defect prevented. Even with all the information on the benefits of folate, many studies show inadequate folate intake among young women. Adequate folate levels have also been associated with reduced risks of coronary artery disease, colorectal cancer, and dementia.

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