2013 April 13 by Randall Neustaedter OMD
Children with asthma commonly develop wheezing or cough after exertion. Exercise-induced asthma is a significant problem for many children and may hamper their physical fitness. Some children will avoid exertion because it brings on symptoms, further reducing their stamina, endurance, and fitness.
A review of 29 studies showed that a physical training program improves exercise-induced asthma symptoms. A wide range of exercise training programs in these studies included swimming, running, aerobics, strength and interval exercises, and cycling.
Improvement occurred especially in the Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF), which measures the speed of expiration. PEF measures the degree of resistance to air flow or constriction is present in the airways. PEF is measured with a simple handheld device.
The number of asthma attacks and days of wheezing also improved in children who participated in physical training programs.
This review of studies showed that successful physical training programs that improved asthma symptoms were characterized by 4 components.
1. Intensity of training is more important than the type of exercise. Children should have an individualized training program with an intensity at their personal breathing threshold.
2. Asthma symptoms during the training should be well controlled with medication.
3. A minimum amount of training is 120 minutes/week, divided into at least 2 sessions per week.
4. A training program should consist of at least 3 months duration.
Wanrooij V, Willeboordse M, Dompeling E, Van de Kan K. Exercise training in children with asthma: a systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine. Online First, published on April 4, 2013 as 10.1136/bjsports-2012-091347
2013 April 10 by Randall Neustaedter OMD
A review of all clinical studies confirmed that prebiotics are associated with a reduction in eczema and allergy in infants. Prebiotics are nutrients that feed the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria. These include oligosaccharides and inulin from various plant sources.
The supplements evaluated in these studies were galacto- and fructo-oligosaccharides. (GOS and FOS). These prebiotics are frequently added to probiotic formulas by many manufacturers. And they are available with other immune enhancing product formulas.
Infants at high risk of allergies who took prebiotics had a significant reduction in asthma and eczema, and infants regardless of their risk had a reduction in eczema.
Supplementing infants with prebiotics and probiotics is beneficial for reduction of eczema and asthma incidence.
Osborn DA, Sinn JKh. Prebiotics in infants for prevention of allergy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Mar 28;3:CD006474. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006474.pub3.
2013 March 31 by Randall Neustaedter OMD
Should your child use inhaled steroids to control asthma symptoms?
Steroids have become the standard treatment for asthma in children for both acute symptoms and for prevention. Estimates in the past have suggested that the use of inhaled steroids cause a ten percent reduction in eventual height.
A recent long term study has shown that a commonly prescribed inhaled steroid for asthma control, budesonide (Pulmicort), in children does in fact result in a reduction in growth. The alarming finding of this study was that the reduction in growth velocity occurred in the first two years of drug use in preadolescents 5 to 10 years of age. The reduction in eventual height was on average nearly 2 cm. Height measurements were taken every 6-12 months until 25 years of age. The effect of reduction in height was more pronounced in women.
Inhaled steroids may not be the best route to take for the treatment of asthma. There are excellent alternative approaches. Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, and nutritional approaches are all safe and effective medical treatments. And a comprehensive holistic approach that reduces inflammation can have a significant preventive and curative effect on asthma.
For a more comprehensive discussion of the holistic approach to asthma treatment in children click here.
And see my book The Holistic Baby Guide.
2013 February 27 by Randall Neustaedter OMD
An interesting study has confirmed that breastfeeding has benefits for childhood asthma.
The study of 1,100 babies showed that exclusive breastfeeding for at least 3 months or longer in children with eczema or asthma was associated with significantly reduced asthma symptoms. The study showed this effect persisted in children at 4, 5, and 6 years of age. Each additional month of exclusive breastfeeding had a beneficial effect in reduction of the rate of asthma in these children.
Although many breastfeeding mothers are concerned that their babies with allergy symptoms may be sensitive to something in their milk, resorting to formula feeding is likely to do more harm than good. Breastfeeding has so many beneficial effects on immune function that exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months just makes good sense. If mothers are concerned about persistent symptoms in their babies, then taking a holistic approach to asthma in addition to continued breastfeeding will help alleviate wheezing and build a strong immune system.
See also this article on asthma in children.
Oddy, WH. Longer duration of exclusive breastfeeding associated with reduced risk of childhood asthma up to age six. Evidence Based Nursing. 2013;16(1):18-19.
2012 June 11 by Randall Neustaedter OMD
Asthma in kids increasing
You may have noticed a strange thing lately. Children in unprecedented numbers use inhalers to treat asthma symptoms. Schools find it necessary to ban peanut butter from classrooms for fear of life-threatening allergic reactions. Your own children may have eczema, asthma, or food sensitivities. The incidence of allergies and asthma in children has skyrocketed over the past 30 years. And the drugs commonly employed to treat these symptoms don’t cure the problem.
Parents need a new model for treating allergies.
Fortunately, the field of holistic pediatrics has excellent protocols for treating asthma, eczema, and allergies with a simple, safe, and effective three step method.
1. First, use nontoxic, natural treatments to relieve the acute symptoms.
2. Second, identify and eliminate contributing dietary and environmental factors.
3. And third, treat the underlying immune system imbalance responsible for the problem.
Several categories of natural medicines can treat acute allergic symptoms. Three forms of natural medicine are commonly used to treat allergies, eczema, and asthma.
1. A number of Chinese herbal formulas have been formulated to address these symptoms in children.
2. Homeopathic medicines often produce immediate relief in allergic reactions.
3. Many nutritional supplements can treat the symptoms as well. For example, quercetin, stinging nettles, and bromelain are often combined to relieve allergies. These types of remedies will help keep symptoms under control while addressing the underlying problem.
Diagnose the problem and build the immune system
Identifying contributing factors to symptoms requires a different approach at different ages. For example, for breast-feeding babies the mother’s diet needs to be considered. For older children food sensitivity tests can be useful to pinpoint foods that aggravate symptoms. Conventional allergy testing may be needed to identify outside influences that can be reduced or eliminated.
The most important aspect of holistic treatment involves addressing the underlying root cause of the symptoms. This requires building and balancing the immune system. Since 80 percent of the immune system happens in the small intestine, ensuring a healthy digestive tract will provide the foundation for a strong immune system. Depending on the symptoms, this may include a combination of probiotics and nutritional supplements to support digestion. Balancing the body through the use of a deep acting homeopathic medicine and herbal treatment will fortify the child’s constitution. And many supplements can activate and build immune function, including:
medicinal mushroom formulas
A holistic pediatric practitioner can help parents manage and integrate an inclusive treatment program resulting in a balanced immune system. The goal is an increased level of health and eventual cure. A balanced and resilient immune system is characterized by greater resistance to infections and less allergic reactions.