What Causes Asthma?

To successfully treat and prevent recurrence of asthma we need to understand and — if possible — remove the underlying causes and risk factors.  We need to ask: "What else is going on inside the body that might allow asthma symptoms to develop?"

Diagnose your symptoms now!
  • understand what's happening to your body
  • check your overall health status
  • identify any nutritional deficiencies

Accurate diagnosis of the factors behind asthma consists of three steps:

Step 1: List the Possible Causative Factors

Identify all disease conditions, lifestyle choices and environmental risk factors that can lead to asthma symptoms.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Heartburn
  • Food Allergies
  • Vitamin B6 Need
  • Selenium Need
  • Stress
  • A Weight Problem
  • Increased Intestinal Permeability
  • Adrenal Fatigue

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

Identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
craving for salt
much vitamin C supplementation
pain/burning behind breastbone
absent sexual desire
hot flashes during period
regular postprandial somnolence
metallic taste in mouth
recent onset nausea
frequent sneezing / attacks
pain medication use
lower back pain
forgetting dreams
... and more than 180 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of asthma symptoms:
Cause Probability Status
Adrenal Fatigue 93% Confirm
Selenium Need 26% Unlikely
Increased Intestinal Permeability 16% Unlikely
A Weight Problem 0% Ruled out
Stress 0% Ruled out
Heartburn 0% Ruled out
Vitamin B6 Need 0% Ruled out
Food Allergies 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Respiratory Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about asthma:
Have you suffered from Asthma?
Possible responses:
→ Never had it / don't know
→ Probably had it/minor episode(s) now resolved
→ Major episode(s) now resolved
→ Current minor problem
→ Current major problem
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either history of asthma or having asthma, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Allergy to Cow's Milk

"Symptoms of milk-protein allergy include cough, choking, gasping, nose colds, asthma, sneezing attacks..." [Annals of Allergy, 1951; 9]

Environmental Illness / MCS

Respiratory complaints among MCS patients include adult-onset "asthma", shortness of breath, and fibrotic lung disease.

Vitamin B6 Requirement

Children with asthma have been shown to have a metabolic defect in tryptophan metabolism.  Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a known bronchoconstricting agent in asthmatics.  Studies have shown that patients benefit from either a tryptophan-restricted diet or B6 supplementation to correct the blocked tryptophan metabolism.  Pyridoxine may also be of direct benefit to asthmatic patients, since it is a key cofactor in the synthesis of all the major neurotransmitters.

Problems Caused By Being Overweight

Being overweight increases the risk of asthma.  [Arch Intern Med 1999;159: pp.2582-8] Obese people with asthma may improve their lung-function symptoms and overall health status by engaging in a weight-loss program.  A controlled study found that weight loss resulted in significant decreases in episodes of shortness of breath, increases in overall breathing capacity, and decreases in the need for medication to control symptoms.  [BMJ 2000;320: pp.827-32]

Heartburn / GERD / Acid Reflux

About half of asthmatic patients also have GERD, of which heartburn is a symptom.  It is not entirely clear, however, whether asthma is a cause or effect of GERD.  Some experts speculate that the coughing and sneezing accompanying asthmatic attacks cause changes in pressure in the chest that can trigger reflux.  Exercise-induced asthma does not appear to be related to GERD.  Certain asthmatic drugs that dilate the airways may relax the LES and contribute to GERD.

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