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Best supplement for asthma: 8 Dietary Supplements That May Help Your Asthma

8 Dietary Supplements That May Help Your Asthma

If you’re wondering whether certain dietary supplements can help improve asthma symptoms, there are a few things you should know.

For starters, “there is very little scientific evidence that they work,” says Maureen George, PhD, RN, a medical adviser of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and a certified asthma educator whose research specialties include alternative and complementary medicine.

And even though small studies have shown some clinical benefits of vitamins and minerals on asthma management, says Clifford Bassett, MD, founder and medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York and a clinical assistant professor in the department of medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center, the evidence is limited and, in some cases, even contradictory.

At the same time, George adds, certain vitamins, herbs, and minerals appear to be safe — and even helpful for some people with asthma. “I allow patients to use what they’d like as long as they take it along with their prescribed medications,” she says.

Here are eight dietary supplements that may help alleviate asthma symptoms — and what research and experts say about making them part of your asthma management plan:

Antioxidants: A June 2013 study published in Wiener klinische Wochenschrift – The Central European Journal of Medicine found that antioxidants, including vitamins A and E, could have a beneficial impact on children with asthma. The best way to get a wide variety is by eating colorful fresh fruits and vegetables, says Kyrena Robinson, PhD, a nutritionist in Washington, D.C.

Omega-3s (fish oil): Fish oil likely has protective effects against inflammatory diseases like asthma, according to a January 2015 research review in Allergology International. Omega-3 fatty acids, typically found in fatty fish, have been shown to reduce inflammation — one of the hallmarks of asthma, Robinson says.

Choline: A small study published in the August 2014 issue of Free Radical Biology & Medicine found that when combined with vitamin C and selenium, a nasal spray of choline helped treat allergic airway disease in mice. Though studies done on people are still needed, taking choline, a B vitamin, may reduce the severity and frequency of asthma attacks, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. High doses (3 grams a day for adults) may be most effective, but you shouldn’t take them without talking to your doctor first.

Magnesium: Since people with asthma can have low levels of magnesium, giving them a breathable, spray form of magnesium can open up the bronchial tubes and improve airflow if they’re having a severe attack, according to a June 2016 study published in Drug Design, Development and Therapy. However, more research is needed to learn whether oral supplements can play a role in day-to-day asthma management. “Oral magnesium supplements won’t hurt, as long as you don’t take excessively toxic doses,” George says. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine a safe amount for you.

Pycnogenol: Extracted from the bark of the French pine tree, this herbal remedy has some potential to reduce inflammation and could be a possible asthma treatment, according to a small lab study in the December 2013 issue of Food and Chemical Toxicology. Again, though: There’s little scientific evidence of its effectiveness, George says.

Thymol: This extract of thyme was shown to reduce inflammation in the airways of mice with induced allergic asthma, according to a July 2014 study in Fitoterapia. For her part, George doesn’t “see anything dangerous about the extract.”

Black seed: The seeds of the black cumin plant have been used for centuries in cooking, but they may also have anti-inflammatory properties. Although there’s no strong evidence for its use and more research is needed, George says, one January 2016 study published in Planta Medica found that black seed could have anti-inflammatory effects on the lungs.

Caffeine: It appears that caffeine may help improve airway function, says Dr. Bassett. More research is needed, but it may contain compounds that help slow the inflammatory process that can lead to asthma attacks, according to a November 2015 study in Pharmacology & Therapeutics. But since you may need to drink as many as three cups of coffee a day to experience the benefits, you should talk to your doctor before trying it, says Asthma Australia. “It’s not something you should safely rely on when you’re having an asthma attack to open your airways,” George warns.

Keep in mind that dietary supplements and herbal remedies aren’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. If you decide to buy them, proceed with caution, George says. Shopping at a reputable vitamin or health food store might help, but even that doesn’t protect you against contaminants, differences in strengths of dosages, and other factors. Work with your healthcare provider to determine if dietary supplements might help you, and where you should shop for them.

Are There Any Supplements That Can Help Asthma?

  • Overview
  • What is asthma?
  • Do supplements for asthma help?
  • Which supplements are commonly taken for asthma?
  • The lowdown

There are a wide variety of supplements on the market that promise to help with numerous conditions, from joint pain and headache to asthma. But can supplements actually help with asthma symptoms? 

Learn more about which supplements are sometimes recommended for asthma and whether there is evidence to support those claims. 

Asthma is a condition that creates inflammation in the lungs and airways, making it difficult for you to breathe. It impacts an estimated 1 in 13 Americans¹, and people of all ages can develop it. 

While there is no cure for asthma, there are plenty of treatment options to get it under control and keep it from interfering with daily life.

Although some supplements may be able to help asthma symptoms, it isn’t recommended to use supplements as the only form of treatment for this condition. 

If your doctor prescribes you a quick-relief inhaler, corticosteroids, or other medications to keep your asthma under control, be sure to take those as prescribed, but you may be able to use supplements in conjunction with them. 

People struggling with asthma may look for treatment options outside of the ones their doctor prescribes for a variety of reasons, and it is common for people with asthma to reach for supplements to use with their prescriptions.  

Some asthma supplements include the following:

Omega 3s

Omega-3s are commonly found in fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and similar foods, but the American diet tends to be lower in omega-3 fatty acids than recommended. 

One study² found that children who consume diets higher in omega-3 fatty acids tended to have fewer asthma symptoms from indoor air pollution. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the body’s production of an antibody called IgE, which can create allergic reactions that trigger asthma. 

Unfortunately, omega-3 fatty acids aren’t effective in people who have severe asthma and are taking high doses of oral steroids. 


Magnesium is a mineral that can be found in whole grains, leafy green vegetables, beans, and more. One treatment for asthma that contains magnesium, magnesium sulfate, is sometimes given to people experiencing an asthma attack when other treatments don’t work. 

Magnesium as a supplement may also be helpful for asthma by addressing inflammation, but more research is needed to determine whether magnesium supplements should be recommended for those with asthma.  

Magnesium supplementation can also lower a person’s risk of heart disease and enhance bone health, but you should talk to your doctor before starting them. Taking too much magnesium can cause unpleasant side effects. 


Choline is a nutrient you can get from eating nuts, beans, vegetables, eggs, and meats. While some asthma sufferers swear by choline supplements, research is still limited on whether it can help people with asthma. 

One study³ found that choline has no effect on various asthma control test metrics after six weeks. On the other hand, a study⁴ in mice showed that choline could help some symptoms of asthma. If you decide to take choline supplements, speak with your doctor about it.

Taking too much choline can result in serious side effects. 


Antioxidants are compounds that help keep your body safe from numerous threats, like viruses and free radicals. Free radicals can cause changes and damage in the body, but antioxidants can fight them.  

There are several compounds that are considered antioxidants, including some vitamins, like A, C, and E. Research⁵ has shown an association between low vitamin A intake and an asthma diagnosis, while lower serum levels of vitamin C were also associated with increased odds of having asthma. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean that antioxidant supplementation can help asthma, but increasing your intake of antioxidant-rich foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, may provide some benefit. 


Many people love to start their day with a caffeinated beverage, but there is some evidence⁶ showing caffeine can act as a weak bronchodilator. This means it may help improve lung function for a few hours after it is consumed. 

That doesn’t mean it’s a good option for asthma treatment, as it doesn’t provide enough of a bronchodilator effect to help during an asthma attack. Plus, caffeine taken in large doses can result in sleep problems, upset stomach, shakiness, and even irregular heartbeat that can result in death.  

You can certainly drink coffee and other caffeinated drinks in moderation, but don’t expect them to treat your asthma. 

Black seed

Black seed is a spice that has been used in traditional medicine for numerous conditions. There are some small studies⁷ that show that black seed may have anti-inflammatory and anti-histaminic effects that might help with asthma symptoms. More research is needed before black seed can be considered a viable option for asthma treatment. 


Plenty of people already take individual vitamin supplements or multivitamin pills to avoid nutritional deficiencies. While there isn’t evidence that multivitamins may help with asthma, one study⁸ found that individuals who took vitamin E had lower levels of mucins, which are proteins that are usually found in higher amounts in people with asthma. 

Other evidence⁹ shows that vitamin D supplementation may also help reduce asthma attacks and low blood levels of vitamin D are also associated with asthma. As always, ask your doctor before starting asthma supplements to ensure they don’t produce adverse reactions to your medications. 

Although many supplement companies may claim that their powders, pills, or tinctures can help with your asthma symptoms, only a few have shown real promise in preliminary studies.

As always, you should work closely with your doctor to treat your asthma, and it’s important to keep them informed on which prescription medications and asthma supplements you are taking to prevent accidental interactions.


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Air conditioning: people with asthma are the best friend

Summer heat is not good for people with asthma . This condition is often exacerbated by exposure to environmental factors such as humidity and temperature changes. Therefore, these factors should be controlled as much as possible. Contrary to popular belief, conditioner can be a real help for asthmatics.

Causes of asthma

The exact causes of asthma are unknown, but the condition is influenced by numerous factors such as genetics, lifestyle and allergies. The environment also plays an important role: urbanization, pollution, and poor indoor ventilation exacerbate symptoms and may cause asthma in young children. Finally, an asthma attack can be triggered by a number of specific stimuli , although these vary from person to person and from season to season. Information for information:

  • Allergic irritants: mites, animal dander, mold, pollen, animal proteins and food additives.
  • Non-allergic irritants: smoke, exhaust fumes, paint fumes, perfumes, detergents, chalk, printing ink, fog, temperature changes, cold air. Everyone is susceptible to such irritants, but an asthmatic is much more sensitive to them.
  • Medications, exercise, stress, strong emotions and hyperventilation can also trigger an attack. Respiratory tract infections can temporarily worsen the condition.

Asthma management

Asthmatics suffer from feeling of tightness in the chest , shortness of breath , persistent cough and tiredness . Although there is no cure for asthma, the condition can be effectively controlled by avoiding the aforementioned irritants. Therefore, it is recommended to thoroughly ventilate and clean the house, paying particular attention to the bedroom. In addition, it is important to avoid exposure to tobacco smoke (even secondhand smoke), get enough exercise – of course, under favorable environmental conditions – and fight excess weight.

Asthma and summer heat

As with hay fever, heat exacerbates asthma symptoms. This is mainly due to increased humidity and a more frequent lack of wind, which increases pollen levels and contributes to the accumulation of summer smog.

A few tips:

  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dryness of the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. Tomato juice, milk, broth, and fruit juice are also allowed, but limit your intake of alcohol, tea, or coffee.
  • Avoid excessive loads. Do not exercise at temperatures above 30°C. Also avoid smog, smoke, and anything that can irritate your airways.
  • Avoid the heat and look for cool places. Apply a cold towel to the back of your neck from time to time, stay in the shade, and keep the house cool.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms get worse and ask if you can increase your medication.
  • Does your child have asthma? Never leave him/her alone at home or in a car in hot weather.

Asthma air conditioner

Considering the critical role of environmental factors in this disease, an air conditioner or an air purifier is the best help for people suffering from asthma. They purify the air from harmful substances , and the air conditioner also creates a more pleasant temperature – provided the system is properly used and maintained.