Did your asthma improve after switching to Paleo?

by (65) Updated July 09, 2013 at 7:53 PM Created June 18, 2010 at 6:10 AM

I have a friend that seems curious about going Paleo, especially since I mentioned that some people seem to find that their allergies improve after switching.

She also suffers from asthma, which appears to be an inflammatory response. As run-away inflammation seems decrease once inflammatory foods are eliminated, I was wondering if anyone found that their asthma improved after switching to a Paleo diet. Details would be appreciated!


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4888 · June 18, 2010 at 8:26 AM

Yes! This was the original reason for starting to eat Paleo. I have had asthma since childhood and didn't like the idea of being on steroid inhalers for life.

I began in November and found within a few weeks that things had improved. About 10 weeks ago the improvement was such that I cut from inhalers twice a day to morning only, then to every other day, and eight weeks ago I stopped them entirely.

I can now walk miles - even up hills - and while I take a Ventolin with me still (just in case!!) it is really as though I don't have asthma any longer. And I have sailed through the pollen season with no problems - spring used to bring on attacks and this year, not!!

Downside - the steroid inhaler must have been suppressing the psoraiasis I used to suffer from, as it came back when I stopped taking the steroids. But - not too badly, and it is not nearly as bad as having debilitating asthma!!!!

Tell her to go for it! BUT - I also make a point of reducing inflammatory Omega 6 andvery much increasing Omega 3 - I think this has been a very important part of the improvement.

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2564 · June 18, 2010 at 10:51 AM

Ditto what @Andrew said!

I have had asthma since I was a baby. I have been hospitalised for it (in my youth) twice and have had to be rushed to the emergency room many times (pre-inhaler days).

Fast forward to 2 years ago: Even after losing over 100lbs on a low carb diet I still needed my inhaler. I'd guess about three times a week.

When I went Paleo I actually didn't notice all that much until about 3 months later when I relised that I had not used my inhaler AT ALL for over 2 months!

In the 2 1/2 years since I've been Paleo, I may have used my inhaler twice.

It's astounding. Like @Andrew said, it's like I don't have asthma at all anymore.

In addition, FWIW, The arthritis in my knees is markedly improved as well and my Rosacia has vanished entirely. I attribute these to dropping Nightshades. @Andrew, have you tried getting rid of Nightshades to see what effect that has on your psoriasis?

50 · June 21, 2010 at 5:40 PM

I used inhalers on a daily basis for most of my life and it just got worse with the years. Used to take Zyrtec too almost daily.

I went paleo and after a couple of months being really sick and weak I started to regain my strength and now I have no problem whatsoever with asthma or allergy. Grain and dairy are the worst, I can feel it coming back if I eat a littel bread/cake for 3-4 days in a row. Eating a little bread, rice, potato and cream/icecream is perfectly ok if I limit it to say one meal a week. My rule is I can eat what I want if I have a dinner out with a girl or friends and pure paleo the rest of the time. Works fine for me. I smoke a lot, drink a lot of alcohol and coffee/tea but it has little negative effect on me after I went paleo.

However I contribute one more thing to my excellent recovery, as much as the diet, and that is Spirulina supplements, which I take 1,5 grams three times daily (total 4,5 grams a day).

Another thing you should really consider is going to the gym 3-4 times a week. Lift weights! The paleo diet is amazing for gaining muscle fast.

1930 · June 20, 2010 at 2:09 AM

Asthma has improved greatly, magnesium & vitamin d seem to have helped most.

"Subjects were randomly assigned to consume 340 mg(170 mg twice a day) of Mg or a placebo for 6.5 months ... CONCLUSION - Adults who received oral Mg supplements showed improvement in objective measures of bronchial reactivity to methacholine and PEFR and in subjective measures of asthma control and quality of life."

217 children in experimental, 213 in placebo 54% and 53% had asthma respectively

12 asthma attacks in the placebo group, 2 in the vitamin d group (statistically significant, p = .006)

40 · April 18, 2011 at 6:37 PM

After 3 weeks of paleo, I am off my daily advair usage. I still take Singulair, but I hope to be off that soon.

22684 · June 18, 2010 at 11:29 AM

I had exercise induced asthma, now nothing even when I push myself fully to the Current limits of my muscles

60 · April 19, 2011 at 12:25 AM

Definitely yes. Most notably, I find my asthma disappears when on paleo and comes back when I'm eating things like hot cross buns. It's wonderful being able to breathe! Apparently oxygen is quite important for most functions...

3652 · June 21, 2010 at 11:29 PM

Great links and info Chris!


My asthma and my kids personally cleared up with vitamin D -- when my vitamin D levels are around 70s I feel best and no tightness or bronchitis. My oldest may even be a little stunted in height from the steroid tapers and inhalers. I used inhalers but none really worked.

Mag is good stuff -- keeps our organs, metabolism and muscles running efficiently. Too much mag can however cause loose stools.

Omega-3 can help asthma in some cases too.

Adrenal health? Thyroid health? If the above don't work, then suspect these factors and fix them to improve asthma.

Hope you notice improvements!


1208 · June 19, 2010 at 5:14 AM

YES! It has been amazing! I, also have had asthma since childhood, and can now do anything my muscles will allow, no hinderance from the lungs. An amazing, unexpected benefit!

3224 · September 10, 2011 at 1:13 PM

My husband has adult-onset asthma and definitely sees dietary connections. It's definitely not gone entirely, but he hasn't had to go back to the doc for Advair in a while. He's wished for it once or twice, but not enough to go back to the doc... he used to use it daily. For the record, he also has had ridiculous sinus issues for about 15 years and those are significantly better on paleo. He's learned the hard way (on the wagon, off the wagon, ad infinitum) that beer is evil.

20 · July 06, 2011 at 7:06 AM

I've been paleo for 10 months now and haven't had a flareup of my chronic bronchitis since my debut on this diet. I had tried Advair and was tested by allergists and by pulmonary doctors as well as 2 physicians, only to fail at every turn. Even more amazing, my 4 year old twins haven't used their nebulizer for clearing up their lungs in the past three months since removing gluten from their diet. Such a relief for parents, too!

20 · April 19, 2011 at 12:01 AM

Definite improvement, but you should look to make permanent improvements with the Buteyko breathing technique ... Dr. Buteyko, from Russia, thought that as a result of too much processed food, that certain people were "over breathing" and so he developed his technique to rebalance the amount of carbon dioxide in the lungs... google it and try it.

910 · June 21, 2010 at 6:01 PM

I have had exercise-induced asthma for most of my life, but upon switching to the paleo diet it completely cleared up. From my experience, asthma correlates very closely with omega-6 intake. If I eat out and get a big PUFA dose, even without exercising I can feel a bit of airway constriction. Yet another reason for me to stick to the paleo diet...

10 · September 07, 2012 at 11:04 AM

As far as getting rid of nightshades, does anybody have any advice on cooking? I can't imagine not using tomatoes, onion, peppers, etc. Help...I have no idea what else to use, or just go bland, which I know I'd have a hard time sticking to.

10 · September 10, 2011 at 7:54 AM

Absolutely - changing to paleo diet will change asthma levels. There is a direct track from fructose [without fibre] to produce the upstream inflammation that can make us more "reactive".

I have found there is a compound effect of things that contribute to asthma. Nutrition is one of them. Similarly - you can change your asthma levels by altering your posture - or reducing your hyperventilation [google hyperventilation and exercise induced asthma looking for clinical trials].

I tested every different thing I could find to get rid of my asthma - eventually found it was mostly to do with breathing levels - but these were directly affected by other variables like food. Training hard with your mouth closed both during and after will reduce your asthma - and if you want to be completely free of it - learn to "breathe like a mouse - being totally still and quiet after an exertion" and you will get the best training results ever. Sorry if that annoys the deep breathers out there.

Good on you guys for testing and measuring to see what works. If you have the disciple to go paleo - you will figure it all out soon enough.

Cheers James Hooper Author of "How To Grow Out of Asthma As Quickly as Humanly Possible."

10 · August 15, 2011 at 8:58 PM

I think Blue brought up a good point. Nightshades(white potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant) are a big cause of allergy induced asthma and post excercise migraines. From my experience i would get asthma from potatoes and tomatoes and migraines from peppers.

I have also noticed that eliminating nightshades will significantly improve your recovery time from workouts.

From avoiding processed foods i have noticed a great reduction in other allergies. When i eat processed foods i tend to get stuffed up nose. If i don't eat any it will clear up.

0 · July 09, 2013 at 7:53 PM

I am going on about 2 months of being Paleo right now, and I have not felt this great in a long time! I was born with asthma, and was pretty bad (hospitalized multiple times a year and used a nebulizer all the time at home). When I was about 8, it miraculously cleared up and I thought I was cured...

However, in my early 20s, it came back with a vengeance, and I developed painful chronic hives to go with it (NERD ALERT)! Doctors gave me steroids, inhalers, antihistamines, etc.- but NOTHING helped (at least not very significantly). I was at my wits end, and just felt unhealthy. I would itch all night long and wake up in pain with swollen hands. I was so tired from the lack of sleep, and I didn't want my husband to be near be because I could barely breathe and felt itchy all the time. I eliminated certain foods from my diet, and I tried every gimmick on the internet too, but to no avail.

Then came Paleo. It is my lifesaver! I felt happier, more satisfied and had more energy almost immediately. My coworkers even commented on how much energy I had! In addition, I went off all my steroids and inhalers. I only take an antihistamine each day because I still a couple hives and allergies... but SOOOOOOOO much better. Since Paleo, I have been sleeping through the night and breathing better than ever. I'm so grateful that I found this!

0 · July 25, 2012 at 2:28 AM

When I took gluten, soy and dairy out of my diet, I was able to go off my steroid inhaler! The less histamine-causing foods I eat (potatoes, tomatoes, soy, dairy, gluten) the better I feel over-all -- especially when I remove all grains from my diet as well!

0 · July 02, 2012 at 4:54 AM

I ran into the same issue, not a lot of clear Asthma information available. Each Asthmatic must find what triggers their symptoms. Some is allergy induced, whereas, some are adrenal function. However, since you're taking Singular, your asthma is allergy induced, same as mine. Through my own studies I found that Asthma is a immune disorder. Your body does not fight bacteria or infection very well. Other diseases are very similar such as Multiple Sclerosis.

Brief Asthma Background: Been taking Albuterol inhaler every 10 days for 25 years. I have had been hospitalized for weeks at a time on multiple occasions.

The paleo diet will clear your mind and help you seek the inner support to change from within. You are addicted to your inhaler. Everytime your chest gets tight you think of your inhaler. I have been there.

The supplements that helped me are:

Magnessium oxide: BRAND: Mag400rx - I dip two pills every 4-6 hrs. It calms the lungs and body. Mullien: Will help you kill bacteria and fungis that sits in the bottom of our lungs. Vitamin C and A: These will help your body cleanse itself of bacteria daily. min 10,000 milligrams per day.

For asthma attacks I use: Badger (Aromatic Chest Rub) I do breathing exercises with beard and chest coated. 3 to 4 mins. and Im great.

Foods: Onions, Garlic, pineapple, ect...

I recommend this book: Prescription for Nutritional Healing. This book has been around for 30 years and updated every so often.

More questions? Please direct to my new facebook community page. This 'Ole Paleo House | Facebook

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