Posted on: May 22, 2015 at 12:16 pm
Last updated: September 22, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Respiratory problems affect many different people in many different ways. While asthma is perhaps the most common, chronic bronchitis, sinusitis, and rhinitis are also common.


Symptoms of respiratory problems can include sinus congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip, dry throat, difficulty breathing, frequent colds and flus, or coughing in the morning.

6 Common Triggers For Asthma

1. Food Allergies or Sensitivities

Some allergies can be quite serious and immediate, causing your airways to constrict and making it hard to breathe. These tend to be IgE-mediated food allergies.


Other sensitivities are IgG-mediated and tend to be delayed reactions. This can make figuring out the triggers very difficult, but studies have shown that removing these foods from your diet can help with asthma symptoms.

In one study, 72% of people benefited from removing their specific IgG triggers for three weeks using an elimination diet.


Some common foods that can cause these kinds of allergies include egg, fish, shellfish, nuts, and peanuts. People also tend to be sensitive to milk, chocolate, wheat, citrus, and food colorings.

food allergies

2. Candida Albicans

An overgrowth of Candida albicans, or yeast, in the gastrointestinal tract has been linked to allergic conditions such as asthma, chronic sinusitis and rhinitis. The acid protease produced by the yeast has been shown to cause an allergenic response.

3. Salt

Salt has been implicated as a trigger, specifically in asthma, because eating more salt increases bronchial reactivity to histamine.

4. Hypochlorhydria

Hypochlorhydria is essentially a lack of stomach acid. A study of 200 asthmatic children showed that 80% of them had low stomach acid levels.

Low stomach acid levels can also cause leaky gut and intestinal inflammation, because your stomach isn’t able to break down food properly. In turn, this can cause extra-gastrointestinal issues like respiratory problems.

5. Hormonal Fluctuations

Female patients suffering from severe asthma symptoms may be doing so because of hormonal fluctuations throughout the month. Estrogen and progesterone are both known to relax smooth muscles, such as those in your airways. As a result, low levels can be responsible for airways constricting.

6. Environmental Pollutants

People can react to irritants in the environment in all sorts of different ways. Dust, inhaled chemicals, molds, plant pollens, and even simple household cleaning agents can all contribute to allergies and sensitivities.

5 Treatments for Asthma

Luckily, there are some easy tips that can help decrease the severity of asthma, as well as improve other chronic respiratory symptoms.

1. Check Your Food

Getting tested for allergies and sensitivities may be extremely worthwhile to help reduce or eliminate your chronic congestion or runny nose.

Even before doing that, you can try eliminating common allergens from your diet such as dairy, wheat, nuts and seeds, eggs and any additives, including food colorings. In my practice, I have seen dairy, wheat, and eggs to be among the top culprits.

2. Assess Your Candida

You should talk to your doctor about assessing Candida. You may need to go on an anti-Candida protocol, which includes supplementation, as well as eliminating all sugars and yeast foods from your diet.

3. Increase Your Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, which is especially beneficial to your respiratory airways. Low Vitamin C levels have been linked as an independent risk factor for asthma. Consider supplementing with 1-2 grams of Vitamin C daily.

4. Increase Your Flavonoids

Bioflavonoids, especially quercetin, can help decrease the histamine release, as well as inhibit constriction of smooth muscles. Consider eating a colorful array of fruits and vegetables to get a variety of flavonoids in your diet.

5. Consider Acupuncture

Acupuncture can be very beneficial to help reduce the severity and frequency of your asthmatic attacks. It is also very helpful to open up sinuses, relieve congestion, and a runny nose.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, respiratory symptoms are often associated with the Lung meridian, which is also correlated to emotional wellbeing. Balancing your lung meridian can help improve chronic respiratory problems.

How to Breathe Easier

By recognizing your asthma triggers, making a few simple changes to your diet, and getting checked out for sensitivities, you can help avoid attacks and reduce the severity of your symptoms.


1)     Pizzorno J, Murray, M. Textbook of Natural Medicine, 4th Ed. Churchill Livingstone. 2012. Chapter 147: 1210-1224.

2)     Hardman G, Hart G. Dietary advice based on food‐specific IgG results.  Nutrition & Food Science, 2007 Vol. 37(1):16 – 23.

3)     Corren J, Baroody FM, Pawankar R. Allergic and Nonallergic Rhinitis. Middleton’s Allergy: Princples and Practice., 8th ed.  2014.      Elsevier. Chapter 42: 664-685.

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Dr. Nadia Saleem
Naturopathic Doctor
Contributor to The Hearty Soul.

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