The Two Sides of the Coin
According to the mainstream medical information I read, asthma is a chronic disease which causes the inflammation of the inside walls of a person’s airways. The two types are allergic and non-allergic asthma. Allergic asthma is affected by one’s immune system, while non-allergic asthma has to do with environmental irritants. It is not clear why some people suffer from asthma and others do not, but it is believed that genetics play a role.
Everyone’s breathing can be affected by irritants, allergies and strong emotions. However, the airways of a person with asthma overreact to these triggers. Signs that a person may have asthma include wheezing or whistling coming from the chest, coughing, chest tightness and trouble breathing.
Someone with mild asthma may have attacks once or twice a month, or even less, while a person with severe asthma could suffer from attacks every day. During an attack the muscles around the airways constrict, making the opening in the airways smaller. The airways also become inflamed and mucus increases so that air cannot flow freely, which makes it difficult to breathe. Death can occur during a severe attack if not enough oxygen reaches vital organs.
There are no proven causes of asthma, although genetics, early exposure to tobacco smoke, infections, and some allergens may increase the chances of developing asthma. Asthma can develop at any age, but it is usually diagnosed by age 5 in children. Boys are more likely to develop asthma than girls. Some children do outgrow their asthma, and by the teen years the ratio of boys to girls who have asthma evens out. African Americans and people living in cities are more likely to have asthma than Caucasians and people living in suburbs and rural areas.
The standard treatments include quick-relief medicines such as albuterol inhalers which prevent attacks from getting worse by opening the bronchioles and long term medicines such as steroids which reduce airway swelling. Mainstream medicine offers no cure, but rather dependence on doctors and medicine for the rest of one’s life. This is the way the medical community, trained by the pharmaceutical companies, treats their patients: by masking the symptoms while leaving them sick so that they will always need medicine for relief.
However, Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, author of ABC of Asthma, Allergies and Lupus, says that asthma, allergies and other health problems are directly related to chronic dehydration. He argues that we need at minimum 8-10 cups of water a day, plus ½ tsp of unrefined sea salt and a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, meats and fats for optimal hydration and health. And he warns that sodas, caffeine and alcohol all dehydrate the body. He observed many people cured of their asthma by cutting out sodas, juices, alcohol and caffeine, and regulating their water and salt intake.
The schedule he recommends is to drink 2-3 cups when you wake up and 2 cups ½ hour before each meal, 1-2 cups 2 ½ hours after each meal, before, during and after exercise, 2 cups before bedtime and any other time you need it. It is also okay to sip water with meals. It is a myth that water dilutes digestive enzymes-actually water activates them. The reason he says to drink water ½ hour before meals is because this is how long it takes for that water to be available for all the various digestive processes. Eating food without water causes water to be pulled from other parts of the body, and this leads to many problems.
He had a passion for eliminating childhood asthma and presented his findings to the NIH and asthma support groups. But his ideas were rejected because there is no money in water.
According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, water is needed for every function of the body. Our bodies are 75% water and our brain is 85% water. Because of the water used in breathing, digestion, enzyme and hormone production, immune function, toxin removal and so on, we need to replace that water frequently throughout the day or our health will suffer.
When we get dehydrated histamine production increases because histamine is the water regulator of the body. Histamines are also important for immune function, but during dehydration they are mostly used to look for water. If dehydration becomes chronic, the immune system will suffer; allergies, both inhalant and food allergies, will result because histamine is important for the proper balance of T cells, antibodies and so on.
Elevated histamine in the lungs causes the spasm of the bronchioles. This conserves moisture that would normally be lost during breathing. The mucus that clogs up the airways is the body’s attempt to keep the airways from completely drying out. Inflammation in the airways is the result of the body bringing more “micro-circulation” to the lungs as a result of dehydration. The best treatment for an asthma attack is to drink 2-3 cups of water and put a pinch of sea salt on the tongue. This provides the body with the water it needs and the salt sends a signal to the brain to relax the bronchioles by letting it know relief is coming.
In the case of chemically induced asthma, the lungs shut down to prevent the toxins from getting in to damage the brain and other parts of the body. This lowers the oxygen level in the brain which leads to numerous other symptoms in the body as well. A well hydrated body can produce antibodies against allergens to prevent a reaction, but there are not many antibodies available to fight chemicals, so the body has to resort to closing off the lungs. The more one is exposed to the chemical the stronger the reaction will be. It can take a few years of avoiding the chemical for the body to “forget” its reaction to that chemical and so not react so forcefully.
There are many other asthma triggers, but all of them can be shown to cause the dehydration which leads to asthma: stress and strong emotions, exercise, hot or cold air blowing out of air conditioning vents, etc.
Children are more prone to have asthma because of their constant growth, which doesn’t allow them to have a reserve of water in their bodies. It is vitally important that they eat a healthy diet and drink enough water to maintain healthy growth and brain function, and prevent “diseases” such as asthma. The modern American diet is high in refined wheat and sugar, sodas, unhealthy fats, minimal amounts of fruits and vegetables which are loaded with pesticides, and so on. These put unnecessary stress on the body and cause dehydration.
Common problem foods for children with asthma, ADHD, autism and allergies are dairy and gluten. Both are very hard to digest and require a lot of water to break down. If there is not enough water in the digestive tract when food is taken in, water will be pulled from other parts of the body and localized dehydration will result. This could lead to asthma, behavior problems, learning problems and allergies. Water is needed for the production of digestive enzymes. If not enough water is available, problems such as leaky gut and yeast overgrowth might be experienced. I believe Dr. Batmanghelidj’s conclusions have significant potential to help our children.
Allergy symptoms (of any kind, including eczema and hay fever) are a sign that we need to drink more water. Antihistamines, which most medicines are either directly or indirectly, actually are counterproductive for the body because they further dehydrate the body and shut off the body’s search for water. Pain, inflammation and digestive problems are also typically signs of dehydration. Dehydration is a common cause of migraines, for example.
Another issue with chemicals such as fluorine, chlorine and bromine, which are everywhere in our environment, is that they displace iodine in the body. Iodine is needed for hydration because it enables the thyroid to make thyroxin, which stimulates cells to make the pump proteins that regulate the mineral balances inside and outside cells.
During the time I was researching for this paper, I developed inflammation in my lungs (shown on a chest x-ray), thyroid goiter and chemically induced asthma from exposure to fluoride and chorine from our water distiller. I believe I would have died if I had not used the water and salt treatment to open up my airways-it worked very quickly on the several occasions I tried it–and I am so thankful that I was already aware of the treatment because of my research. Once I realized why I had developed these problems we moved our distiller out of our house and I started taking kelp to flush the chemicals out of my body (iodine also displaces fluorine, chlorine, and bromine so it is an effective treatment for chemical exposure). As soon as I took the first dose of kelp my thyroid and lung swelling went down significantly and improved steadily over the following week.
At first, taking the kelp or eating anything with iodine such as eggs or dairy can cause unpleasant symptoms as the chemicals are forced into the blood stream and eventually out through the digestive and elimination systems. Take some sea salt and a few glasses of water to alleviate this. I also recommend taking milk thistle to protect the liver and relieve the gallbladder pain which is a symptom of the chemicals being eliminated. You will know the iodine has gotten rid of the chemicals when you no longer feel bad when taking it.
Avoiding chemicals is a good policy but hard to do. Taking a small amount of kelp daily could help those with asthma, MCS, fibromyalgia, thyroid problems and chronic fatigue to fight the effects of the chemicals in their environment which cause their dehydration and resulting health problems.
I developed the goiter again even though I was taking my synthroid faithfully. I have thought all along that fluoride poisoning caused my thyroid disease and now I am hopeful that the iodine will heal my thyroid and I will be able to have a successful pregnancy again.
My oldest son has ADHD and is prone to asthma. Whenever he gets the tell-tale cough he drinks a glass of water and takes a pinch of salt. His breathing becomes easy within minutes.
My youngest has had chronic eczema since she was born, I think because of chronic dehydration caused by my health problems during pregnancy and when nursing. She was also failure to thrive until I took her off gluten-I think that is because gluten is hard to break down and she was dehydrated so couldn’t do it effectively. We have started making her drink a glass of water before all her meals and her eczema is healing. She’s even been able to eat some eggs, which have always made her skin break out.
I have experienced severe allergies to pollen in the recent past and since learning that water is what my body needs to get rid of my allergies I have not been bothered by ragweed or freshly cut grass! Any time I feel like I need to sneeze I drink a glass of water and the sensation goes away. Itchy eyes are a thing of the past.
For more information
Please read the books by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj which are very detailed and fascinating. The three I have read are:
Your Body’s Many Cries for Water
Water: for Health, for Healing, for Life
ABC of Asthma, Allergies and Lupus