Posts filed under ‘Asthma’

Vitamin E and Asthma Risk

I have been very interested in work that is being done in Scotland by Dr Graham Devereux, of the department of environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Dr. Devereux and his team studied over 1,250 women who were pregnant and attending neo-natal clinics in Scotland between 1997 and 1999.

They published 2 articles, one in April of this year, and the latest, in September in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The study involved maternal diet from conception through age five, tracking the children’s risk of asthma and respiratory disease. Their findings certainly offer food for thought. They found that low intake of vitamin E during pregnancy was associated with a higher risk among offspring for developing persistent asthma, beginning during the first two years of life and continuing to at least until age five. In fact, children born to mothers rated in the bottom 20% for prenatal vitamin E intake were more than five times more prone to asthma than children born to mothers in the top 20% of intake. Youngsters born to mothers with relatively poor vitamin E intake during pregnancy were also at higher risk for developing persistent wheezing in their first 5 years of life, the Scottish researchers reported.

It makes sense, since vitamins E and A are vital to the development of the skin and mucous membranes. And, fetal airways are fully developed during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. It appears that a child’s diet at age 5 has little impact on asthma. Dietary sources of vitamin E include eggs, whole grains {not processed or refined; ie, wheat germ, not white bread}, and soybeans. Vitamin E is added to some oil products to preserve freshness; however, not in large enough quantities to be therapeutic. Refined flour has become so widespread in the American diet that many people no longer tolerate the taste of whole grains and won’t eat them. And, of course, eggs are “taboo” because of cholesterol! That restriction is particularly unwise during pregnancy when the fetus requires cholesterol to build every cell membrane. I would add my clinical experience to this finding. I find that exposure to a number of environmental chemicals, particularly pesticides, markedly increases respiratory problems in young children. There are at least two facets of this study that I find of interest:

  1. It has not received wide attention in the American press. In fact, the week it was published, the lead on all the news programs was about “obesity.” {Please refer to my blog from April 27, 2005 “Body Mass Index Invalid” for another piece of suppressed “health” news.} Yet, the information about vitamin E could actually benefit both you and your children! Trouble is: Vitamin E isn’t a drug, and no one can patent it.
  2. The article I referenced went on to say that “more study” is needed and no one should take vitamin E! Please!! Vitamin E, especially natural vitamin E containing all of the naturally occurring isomers, is essential¬† to red blood cell membrane integrity {vitally important when exposed to cigarette smoke, or smog!}, skin health, heart health, and is a vital anti-oxidant in eliminating free radicals.

The problem we have, especially in America, is that we have invented an entirely new category of “science.” “Food science.” This discipline — and I use the term loosely — is most concerned about taste, mouth feel, shelf life and customer acceptance. Nutritional value isn’t on the list.

So, we increasingly process and massage our “food.” Moving ever further away from the field and the tree, creating a host of unintended and unpredictable, consequences for ourselves. At my clinic {see www.RichardsFamilyHealth.com}, I routinely provide my patients with nutritional programs based upon their blood chemistry profile. And, yes, vitamin E is one of the foundation items it seems almost every person needs. {See my article “Vitamin E and Heart Health” from November 10, 2004 for the differences in the type of vitamin E}.

Remember one very important point: Human physiology hasn’t changed much over the last 10,000 years. Yet, food fads come and go. It’s very important that we provide our bodies — which are, after all, biological machines — with the essential fuel they have required for the last 100 centuries! Repeatedly, researchers discover that there are good reasons why our foods contain the vitamins and minerals that they do. And, I find that the programs I have prescribed for years are repeatedly validated as “science” catches up with common sense. If you are interested in learning what, if any, nutritional deficiencies you have, contact me through my web site and have a nutritional blood chemistry analysis prepared.

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December 22, 2006 at 7:02 pm Leave a comment


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