Asthma is primarily an allergic disease — the immune system reacts with inflammation and airway constriction to factors in the environment (pollen, bacteria, viruses, molds, dust, proteins) that it has become sensitized to.
5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma:
1.1 million children (1 in 11)
and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12)
It is a pretty sobering thought considering how lethal it can be if an attack is not managed and I was not happy at all when in 2004, as I turned 28 years of age, I was landed with a diagnosis which left me feeling like the weak, wheezing, vulnerable kid in the playground.
Through a series of seemingly unrelated incidents which started with taking an aspirin, I was diagnosed as a full blown asthmatic. I was in serious trouble if I forgot my inhaler and there were times when the inhaler simply didn’t hit the spot and I would have to seek the nearest doctors surgery for a go on their nebuliser.
From seemingly full health to a managed asthma plan, I loaded up on a serious stock of inhalers (thanks to my fathers line of business!) and a determination that it didn’t have to take over my life.
I was one of 5.4 million people so I was not alone!
But then something very strange happened.
In 2012 I was on a nutritional quest which had followed two intuitive protocols:
- I had removed bread from my diet, plus all simple carbohydrates
- and I fully implemented the regular consumption of fermented foods into my daily diet.
Kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut of all sorts, kombucha, kvass, traditional probiotic drinks, all in shifting combinations, offering a huge diversity of healthy bacteria.
Quite soon after I noticed that the occurrence of asthma attacks were lessening. I would find myself in the trigger situations and there was no reaction. The fear and panic at the thought of going away without taking my inhaler became a blasé affair. The normal irritants could be managed with deep relaxed breathing.
Yesterday (Feb 1st) was Imbolc, a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring, whilst this is more a symbolic suggestion, it actually felt decidedly wintry. It is a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. A Spring clean is often customary and well, this is always a work in progress chez moi.
In fact this was a classic trigger as house dust would set me off regularly and whilst my cleaning skills leads towards the dust accumulating this too is no longer a problem.
However, yesterday I came across a remnant of my past. My little magic box of life saving inhalers which came everywhere with me. Brown ones, many blue ones, a chamber apparatus which would deliver an smooth blast, a little torch for emergency night time flairs and an old photo of asthmatic me, circa 2004!
I have to say that coming across this little memory box has been a reminder of how far one can come and how much can heal.
Whilst I cannot claim that the correlation between fermented foods and my lack of asthma are related, the evidence would suggest that this is MY case. My identity of being an asthmatic is now making its way to the bin as these inhalers all expired in 2012/2013 funnily enough- the last time I took a puff!
We all appreciate a good scientific study to gather the evidence and clearly present the case, as we have appreciated viewing the recent BBC 2 screening of Trust me I am a doctor (Episode 1, Series 6). This was a delightful episode which focussed on my favourite topic of homemade fermented foods and their bacterial benefits.
The lungs and the gut may seem relatively unrelated, unconnected and understudied for this to hold its weight at a science conference, but all I can offer you is my personal story, an intuitive experiment with outstandingly positive results, asthma free!
Join me for a full sensory investigation into these foods and meet you micobres at one of our courses:
#guthealth #asthma #probiotics #kimchi #kefir #saurekraut #kombucha #goodbacteria #microbiome #theculturedclubbook