Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wheat Makes Asthma Worse

Why Should Asthmatics Avoid Wheat?

Anyone struggling with difficult-to-control asthma or in the throes of an acute flare should seriously consider avoiding wheat. In the past, medical science only recognized Celiac's Disease as an indication someone should cut out gluten. However, according to Dr. Mark Hyman, new research reveals that we can also be gluten sensitive or gluten intolerant without meeting the diagnostic criteria for Celiac's. 

In fact, people can have a completely different kind of reaction than the one physicians look for in Celiac's! Further, the kind of wheat we eat now, is a mass produced crop that is manipulated in multiple ways to increase harvest yields.

As the harvest has increased so has Celica's. Dr. Hyman says we've seen a 400% increase in cases of Celiac's, which affects 12% of the total population, and roughly 7% of us are now gluten intolerant. However, I have seen figures citing as many as 43% of us may not be able to tolerate gluten, so it may be quite a bit more than that.

What happens if you can't tolerate gluten? Your asthma control suffers.

Does Gluten Really Trigger Asthma? 

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation says yes. On their website, they state "The most commonly reported symptoms seen with wheat allergy include: atopic dermatitis, urticaria, asthma, allergic rhinitis, anaphylactic shock and digestive symptoms."

How likely is an asthmatic to have a food allergy? About half of all asthmatics are going to be allergic to a food of one kind or another. This makes it vital for asthmatics to sort out which side of the fifty-fifty odds they fall on.

If you have asthma, a gluten free trial might improve your health. A frank allergy is pretty easy to spot; once you stop eating gluten you do better. But cause and effect can be more hidden in a gluten intolerance--it may not matter until your asthma flares or may subtly contribute to hard-to-control asthma.

Overall, wheat is a pro-inflammatory food. It promotes and fosters systemic inflammation per Dr. Hyman, which is a major component of asthma. This is why I avoid it and suggest other asthmatics do as well. At the very least, if you are experiencing a serious asthma flare, cut out the wheat and other inflammatory foods to reduce inflammation in your body.

Gluten Does Not Meet the Nutritional Needs of Asthmatics

Despite the commercials and constant exhortations in the media, wheat, even whole grain wheat, has very little nutrition. Especially when it comes to asthmatics, who might not only be allergic to wheat, it also jacks up blood sugar. Consider this factoid from Dr. Hyman:
"Two slices of whole wheat bread now raise your blood sugar more than two tablespoons of table sugar."
So here I am, fighting an acute asthma flare. I'm on steorids, which increase my insulin response and inhibit nutrient absorption and what exactly is bread going to do for me in that situation? Nothing! For me and my lungs, wheat is not a source of nutrition.

If I want to maximize the nutrition of my food intake to help control my asthma, I can't do that eating gluten. That's just the way it is and I'm okay with it. I'm not deprived at all. In fact, I just had toast this morning.You can see a picture of it at the top of this post (take another look, and tell me if you didn't think it was real bread!). Only took a minute to make. 

If you are interested in improving your overall health and asthma control, stick around. I have tons of recipes and simple changes you can make to stop the wheeze and eat to breathe.


  1. About 8 months ago, I decided to try a few weeks without eating wheat just so see what would happen. I have no digestive problems or any other sign of wheat allergy, so I wasn't expecting anything profound but I got it anyway. 90% of my asthma was gone in 24 hours. There other 10 percent disappeared slowly over the course of several months. I wasn't a diehard avoider, I still eat soysauce and other condiments. I just avoid the major sources, bread, pasta, etc. Needless to say, I chose to not go back to wheat! I had asthma since I was a little kid and now no asthma, no medicine and my lungs feel perfectly clear!!! I love it. I have also noticed a small cheat now and then like a piece of cake is not enough by itself to return asthma. I also still eat other gluten sources, although lets face it, few other popular foods have gluten besides wheat. Perhaps it's some kind of overall inflammation thing that requires regular doses, at least for me.

  2. I found the post very informative and useful.. It was worth reading it.. Thank you for sharing.
    food allergies

  3. After reading the book, "Wheat Belly" I eliminated all wheat from my diet. Within two days the excess mucus in my lungs was gone, coughing was much less, inflammation in my joints was much less. I have had asthma for many years. I still use Flomax, but have not had to use my rescue inhaler since eliminating wheat.

  4. I saw Dr. Davis, Wheat belly, on tv and derided that maybe eliminating wheat would help my rheumatoid arthritis. I've been off wheat for 3 weeks and the swelling in my knees is almost gone, I've lost 5 lbs. and 2 inches off my waist. I have more energy and my thinking seems to be clearer. I found some great recipes for coconut bread and I love it! I don't miss wheat at all. Also found that my craving for sugar has decreased to almost nothing. My husband is supporting me by trying to get off wheat, but he'd like to read some actual research on the subject. If anyone knows of any trials that have been done please let me know.

  5. I've had asthma since I was 5 and i started by increasing magnesium in my diet ........ within 24 hours i stopped taking ventolin and in 6 weeks i've only needed 2 puffs. Then I started a gluten free diet and with a few days i stopped taking my fostair (longer acting inhaler) a few times I've needed it but that was a trigger (which i worked out afterwards) I'm amazed at how I can go from taking alot of medication to practically nothing ! I hope as many people as possible with asthma read up about this so they can benefit too

  6. Glad I found this article! Asthmatic my whole life, early diagnosis of Colitis, only to find out last year that I have celiac disease. I did good for about 5 months after my diagnosis, but then all the naysayers start in and you start giving up your regimen, and now I'm in a bad asthma situation. This article has boosted me, and though I came seeking answers about asthma, I now realize I have to go back and stay on my gluten free diet, like, forever. I want to breathe. I want to be pain free. Now I know they are both related. Thank you!

  7. I've had asthma for 30 years. I've never been able to control it even when on several inhalers. I tend to have to go on steroids a couple times each year. My asthma has worsen over the years instead of improved. I recently read articles that said I shoul avoid wheat, so 2 weeks ago, I stopped eating anything with wheat in it. I can believe the difference! I went from using an inhaler several times a day and uncontrollable coughing and mucus production to not feeling any need to use an inhaler at all! I wish I knew this 30 years ago!

    1. wow! I have been on life support cause Ive passed out 5 times my asthma gets so bad actually every thing has become such a challenge. NOTHING has ever helped I eat prednisone like candy & use tons of different puffers. I stopped being social cause it was so embarrassing to not be able to breathe & hold a conversation. Horrible feel like Im waiting to die. However, lots of prayer & while searching I stopped eating, I started a fast.. IT WENT AWAY I slowly introduced foods back & got bad again after eating breads! If I would have known this 20 years of suffering gone! Im only 40 but felt 100.. Please try this asthma suffers what do you have to lose other than you life.

  8. Thanks for sharing this blog with such in depth details about symptoms of asthma. This is indeed a very informative post and really helpful for those suffering for asthma.


  9. Thank you for sharing such wonderful information!In my opinion, Keep a healthy life by consuming healthy food and doing exercise regularly is the best healthy formula.

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  11. My asthma has improved taking most my diet out, wheat, dairy, additives, preservatives... apples, even tomatoes and onions were causing pain and shortness of breath with acid reflux at my lungs.

    I'm no longer bed ridden with (fibromyalgia) pain, dizzyness and breathlessness daily although my asthma is still bad, I take my Seretide 250 twice morning and night. But the brain fog is also gone with the massive changes to my diet!

    Pectin increases are said to be needed for bone marrow when removing wheat as these produce immunity for the body, I am going to try this but has anyone any experience of this/it ?

  12. Thanks for sharing this extremely informative article on asthma causes. I recently read about asthma causes on website called I found it extremely helpful.

  13. I have been a chronic asthmatic since I was 8yrs old. I've been in hospital multiple times, regularly on prednisone(2x a year) and have had many changes in medication over the years.
    Something had to change! - I'm now a Dad, and need to be active for my little girl.
    I have been gradually dropping dairy from my diet for the last year(still eat the odd slice of cheese). But significantly, I have recently gone gluten free(last 4 weeks).
    I have had a large increase in energy, I can run(I could never run before without giving myself an asthma attack), I have lost weight and have almost completely stopped using my inhalers. I wish my doctors had pushed a diet change on my parents/me years ago. I will be talking to my current GP about it, as this is life changing. I'm almost 44 and feel like I have missed out on so much because asthma is so debilitating.

    Good bye gluten, nice knowing you.
    Current Asthma Medication/recommended use - Symbicort 200/6 2 puffs daily / up to 8 puffs to control asthma (avg 4 to 6 a day) + Ventolin as required.(been studiously trying not to use this unless I had to)
    Now I still use the symbicort 2x in the morning, I carry the ventolin out of habit and that is it. I will experiment dropping symbicort aswell to see if asthma returns. As a long time asthmatic, I think i'll always have an inhaler, but will know its for those allergic reaction times rather than a daily chore.

    Greg - Wellington, NZ

  14. Thank you for confirming my suspicions and validating my poor opinion of gluten. Ha ha! I have noticed over the years that whenever I eat a lot of bread my asthma would act up. I recently did the whole 30 diet and had no asthma symptoms. Then I added bread back into my diet. I have had debilitating asthma for a few days in a row now. I am so glad that I'm not crazy -- it really is the bread! I will avoid gluten from now on. I want to breathe!

  15. Thanks for sharing this extremely informative article on wheezing causes. I recently read about wheezing on website called I found it extremely helpful.

  16. Hi, I live in windy Wellington to, bad for asthmatics. I am 45 yrs old was born with asthma and about 4 years ago stopped eating gluten - asthma went away, still took the symbicort just in case but no asthma symptoms. Then after about a year I decided to try and stop symbicort. Haven't taken it since (last 3 years) I have been asthma free. I am very confident that if you were to stop symbicort you would be remain free of asthma as long as you remain relatively gluten free, I can still eat the odd gluten product every now and then and still be asthma free and medication free but if I start to eat gluten every day for about a month the asthma creeps back in. I still have a ventalin and symbicort handy in the cupboard just in case, but have never used them since I gave up gluten. I was on the same dosage as yourself to when I did have the asthma

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  18. Reading the article and the comments feels so good. I'm going to start going gluten-free (which is very difficult in north Indian diet but I see it is totally worth it). I have chronically suffered with fatigue and depression because of low oxygen levels. It might be my salvation. I'm very hopeful.

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