Allergies and Asthma

picture of a woman with seasonal allergies and asthma to pollen and pet dander who is looking for natural treatment with a naturopath
Feel like you are surrounded by pollen when your allergies act up?

Allergies and Asthma

What are Allergies?

Allergies are an immune system over-reaction to specific substances that trigger an allergic response. These substances are called allergens.  Allergies can be caused by anything that you come in contact with.  So, it may be something in your environment (dust, leaf mold), your food (IgE or IgG caused food allergies or food sensitivities), or in your home (pet dander, dust).

What are the symptoms of allergies?

The symptoms of allergies include:

With seasonal or environmental allergies I generally recommend testing for IgG only or IgG and IgA food allergies by blood testing.  This testing is not offered by medical doctors because these antibodies (IgG and IgA) are not immediately life-threatening.  Allergists screen for a different antibody known as IgE through a skin scratch test. IgE antibodies are more likely to cause a severe or life-threatening reaction.  Here is more information about the food allergy blood testing that we offer.


Asthma is one of the major illnesses that may be caused by allergies. Asthma is divided into two types:

  • Intrinsic asthma which is characterized by spasms of the air passages in the lungs that occur in response to a physical irritant.  For instance, these irritants may include exercise, chemicals, and cold air just to name a few.
  • Extrinsic asthma is an allergic disorder and is associated with an immune system response to an allergen.  For example, cat dander may set off this type of asthma. 

What are the symptoms of asthma?

Both types of asthma are characterized by the following symptoms:

  • difficulty in breathing
  • a cough
  • wheezing
  • thick mucus in the lung passageways

Asthma can be life-threatening.  Therefore, during an acute attack, you should seek immediate medical attention.

The Benefits of Natural Treatment for Allergies and Asthma

Using naturopathic treatment for allergies and asthma helps through:

  • Addressing the root cause of your allergies/asthma 
  • Strengthening, balancing and supporting your immune system
  • Strengthening your entire body so that it responds more appropriately to its environment
  • Ensuring proper digestion which enhances healthy immune system function
  • Healing and strengthening your lungs with herbs, vitamins, and minerals
  • Reducing your tendency toward inflammation that contributes to many other conditions.  Conditions like arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease are associated with inflammation. 

Authored by Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc, ND

Asthma, Allergy and Dermatitis Natural Medicine Research


A study conducted in the UK found that pregnant women who consume high levels of sugar during their pregnancy are more likely to give birth to a child with an allergy or allergic asthma. Source: Doi:10.1183/13993003.00073-2017.

Fish Oil

Supplementation with fish oil in the third trimester of pregnancy reduced the risk of asthma and infections of the lower respiratory tract in their children by 30%. Source: N Engl J Med. 2016; 375(26):2530-9.

Probiotics & Prebiotics

Taking a combination of probiotics (mixed strains) and prebiotics, was beneficial in treating eczema in children after 8 weeks. Source:  JAMA Pediatr. 2016; 170(3): 236-42.

Coconut oil

46% of patients showed an excellent response to topical coconut oil. Source:  Int J Dermatol. 2014; 53(1):100-8.

Fruits and Vegetables

  • 30 reported beneficial associations of increased fruit and vegetable consumption with lower risk of asthma and/or better respiratory function
  • Association between low fruit intake and increased risk of prevalent wheeze and asthma severity in adults and children
  • There is a protective effect against systemic inflammation or airway inflammation in relation to fruit and vegetable intake

Source: Effects of fruit and vegetable consumption on risk of asthma, wheezing and immune responses: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrients. 2017; 9(4) pii:E341.

Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotic + prebiotic treatment significantly prevented eczema/atopic dermatitis in children at two years of age when given to pregnant mothers 2-4 weeks prior to delivery and when infants were 6 months old.  Source:  J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007; 119(1):192-8.

Vitamin D

  • The average level of vitamin D in children with asthma = 25.2 ng/mL and in children without asthma = 26.1 ng/mL
  • A 10 mg/mL decrease in vitamin D concentrations was not significantly associated with odds of asthma; however, vitamin D deficiency was associated with a 1.6-fold increase in odds of asthma overall

Source: Asthma Res Pract. 2017; 3:5.

Licorice gel

Topically applied licorice gel (1% or 2% licorice root extract) reduced redness, swelling, and itching.  Source:  J Dermatolog Treat. 2003; 14(3):153-7.


Probiotic and peanut oral immune system therapy moderated the peanut-specific immune response.   Source:  J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015; 135(3):737-44.

Topical Herbal Treatment

Licorice gel and Hypericum perforatum were both found to be superior to placebo with a low risk of harm, in the management of atopic eczema.  Source:  Br J Dermatol . 2017; 176(2):330-343.


Caffeine modestly improves airway function for up to 4 hours in people with asthma.  Source: Doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001112.pub2.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D supplementation may reduce allergic reactions from exposure to the mold Aspergillus. Source: J Clin Invest. 2010 Aug 16.


Very high doses of probiotics were found to improve food allergy inflammation in peanut-sensitized mice. Source: Barletta B, Rossi G, et al, Mol Nutr Food Res, 2013 Aug 14;


The introduction of eggs at 11 months of age or less is inversely associated with asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic sensitization.


The introduction of fish at 9 months or less is inversely associated with allergic rhinitis and atopic sensitization.


The introduction of wheat, rye, oats, or barley at 5-5.5 months is associated with asthma and allergic rhinitis, whereas the introduction of other cereals at less than 4.5 months increases the risk of eczema.

Source: J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2013 Jan;131(1):78-86.


Lactobacillus reuteri supplementation from week 36 and during the first year of life significantly reduces IgE-associated eczema. Source: Clin Exp Allergy, 2013 April; 43(4): 434-42.

Children with allergic rhinitis taking Lactobacillus salivarius found a reduction in allergy symptoms and medication use. Source: Indian Pediatr. 2012 Jun 10.

Treatment with probiotic Lactobacillus salivarius LS01 in atopic dermatitis patients improves symptoms and life quality. Source: Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2011 Oct-Dec; 24(4):1037-48.


Fetal folate levels between 50 and 75 nmol/l are optimal for diminishing allergies in early childhood. Source: Allergy, 2012 Jan; 67(1):50-7.

Acupuncture & Atopic Dermatitis

Acupressure at a particular acupuncture point performed 3 times per week for a period of 4 weeks decreased the severity of itching associated with atopic dermatitis. Source: Acupunct Med, 2011 Dec 28.

Nutritional Supplements

Administration of nutritional supplements was effective at preventing atopic dermatitis in 11 of 17 studies, and at decreasing the severity of atopic dermatitis in 5 of 6 studies. Source: JAMA Dermatol, 2013 March; 149(3): 350-5.

Black currant seed oil

Supplementation with black currant seed oil (alpha-linolenic and omega-3 combination) and prebiotics help with atopic dermatitis Source: JAMA Dermatol, 2013 March; 149(3): 350-5.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D supplementation in patients with atopic dermatitis helped improve clinical signs of the disease. Source: J Am Acad Dermatol, 2013 May 2

Vitamin D deficiency was prevalent in children with fungal allergies or chronic nasal polyps. Source: Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg, 2012 May 24

Nutritional supplementation

Nutritional supplementation was shown to be an effective method in preventing eczema or decreasing its severity in babies and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. Source: JAMA Dermatol. 2013 Mar;149(3):350-5.

Calendula & Dermatitis

Treatment of diaper dermatitis with topical calendula cream led to fewer rash sites. Source: Scientific World Journal. 2012; 2012:810234.

Lactobacillus Plantarum

Eczema patients given Lactobacillus plantarum CJLP133 saw a lower total eosinophil count compared to baseline. Source: Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2012 Nov;23(7):667-73. Epub 2012 Oct 11.


Treatment with silymarin significantly reduced symptoms of allergies when in conjunction with routine antihistamine treatment Source: Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 Dec; 145(6):904-9. Epub 2011 Sep 27.


Supplementation with Pycnogenol 5-8 weeks before birch allergy season reduced eye symptoms of allergies by 35% and nose symptoms by 20.5%, compared to placebo. Source: Phytother Res, 2010 June 14; [Epub ahead of print].

Pycnogenol was found to improve allergy symptoms when supplementation started at least 5 weeks before allergy season. Source: Phytother Res, 2010 June 14; [Epub ahead of print].


Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Adults with mild, moderate, or severe asthma used mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and saw significant improvements in asthma-related quality of life and stress. Source: Thorax. 2012 Sep;67(9):769-76. Epub 2012 Apr 27.


Increased dietary intake of fruits and vegetables in asthmatic adults led to improvements. Source: Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Sep;96(3):534-43.


Supplementation with Pycnogenol reduced night-awakenings and days with asthma in patients with allergic (dust mite) asthma. Source: Panminerva Med. 2011 Sep;53(3 Suppl 1):57-64.

Breastfeeding & Childhood Asthma

A longer duration of total breastfeeding was protective against the development of some forms of asthma. Source: J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2013 Jan;131(1):78-86.

Breastfeeding for 9.5 months or less is associated with an increased risk of certain types of asthma. Source: J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2013 Jan;131(1):78-86.


Asthmatic children supplemented with fruit plus vegetable concentrate, fish oil and probiotics saw an improvement in lung function and needed fewer medications. Source: Br J Nutr. 2012 Dec 5:1-11.


Increased supplementation with long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation was associated with a lower incidence of asthma. Source: Am J Clin Nutr, 2013 Jan; 97(1): 173-8.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D insufficiency was associated with a higher risk of severe asthma. Source: Allergy Asthma Immunol Res, 2013 Sept; 5(5): 283-8.

In children with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma, low vitamin D status was associated with higher odds of any hospitalization or emergency department visits. Source: J Allergy Clin Immunol, 2010 June 8; [Epub ahead of print].

In a study of children with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma, 35% of subjects were vitamin D insufficient. Source: J Allergy Clin Immunol, 2010 June 8;

Higher vitamin D levels correspond with reduced airway inflammation and improved lung function in children with asthma.  Source: Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2011 Sep 8.

Vitamin C

An Italian study found that ingestion of fruit high in vitamin C may reduce wheezing symptoms in children. Source: Thorax. 2000 April; 55(4): 283–288.

Marine lipids

Supplementation with PCSO-524™ (Lyprinol®/Omega XL®) had beneficial effects in asthma. Source: Respir Med, 2013 May 6; [Epub ahead of print].

Asthmatics supplemented with New Zealand green-lipped mussel for 3 weeks saw a significant improvement in asthma symptom scores over placebo. Source: Respir Med. 2013 Aug;107(8):1152-63

Bone Minerals

In children with asthma, oral steroid medications decreased bone minerals. Source: J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012 Jul; 130(1):53-60.e4. Epub 2012 May 16.


A low-antioxidant diet reduced lung function in asthma patients. Source: Am J Clin Nutr 2012; 96(3): 534-543.

Linoleic Acid

Conjugated linoleic acid improved airway hyper-responsiveness and body mass index in overweight mild asthma patients. Source: Clinical & Experimental Allergy, Volume 40, Issue 7, pages 1071-1078, July 2010.


Acupuncture treatment helped with allergic asthma. Source: Clin Rev Allergy Immunol, 2012 Jun 3


In patients, aged 7-19, oral magnesium supplementation provided better symptom control for moderate persistent asthma. Source: Eur J Clin Nutr, 2007 Jan; 61(1):54-60.


Treatment with pterostilbene, a component of grapes and berries, helped prevent asthma. Source: J Agric Food Chem, 2011 June 21.


Supplementation with L-carnitine significantly improved asthma management in children with moderate persistent asthma. Source: J Allergy (Cairo). 2012; 2012:509730. Epub 2011 Nov 23.

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