What Substances in Food Can Cause Asthma Attacks?

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Our youngest son has problems with asthma. Certain foods seem to trigger an attack, but we can’t figure out what the common substance is in each of the foods. Do you have any ideas?

 

Two substances are the most common. It is estimated that 20 to 25 percent of asthmatic children experience breathing difficulties within an hour or so of taking aspirin. Aspirin is what is known as a salicylate, and substances containing this can sometimes cause problems. Lots of foods (fruits, vegetables, herbs) contain salicylate, but they are in such minute dosages that they should not cause any problems—but watch the aspirin.

Also, a food preservative called metabisulfite, found in lots of processed foods like sausage, dehydrated fruits, pickled foods, and fruit juices, can also be a problem. Metabisulfite is estimated to affect about two-thirds of all asthmatic children.

Be sure your son is getting nutritional support for his adrenal glands. Also if food allergies or asthma attacks are often triggered by food, it would be wise to make certain his digestive enzymes are adequate.

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