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Why More Kids Are Getting Exercise Induced Asthma, and What You Can Do About It.

It broke my heart.

I was out hiking with my twin boys earlier this month, and suddenly realized that only one boy was by my side.

I looked back.

The second little guy was standing halfway up the hill behind us, bent over at the waist and struggling to get a breath – a look of sheer panic in his eyes.

This had happened before: a couple times, both during soccer games.

I calmed him down, waited patiently for him to catch his breath, and then we finished the hike.

That evening, I e-mailed one of the smartest doctors I know, Dr. David Minkoff, and asked him about exercise induced asthma in kids. What he told me was so ground-breaking and comprehensive that I just couldn't keep it to myself.

So I hit the record button and got him on a podcast call.

I immediately implemented the tips I picked up from the interview you're about to hear, and 7 days later, my son (pictured above) completed his first triathlon with zero breathing issues.

During this audio discussion, I ask Dr. Minkoff the following questions about exercise induced asthma in kids:

-What exactly is exercise induced asthma?

-Do you see patients that struggle with this issue, and have you observed at all that more people, and especially kids, are dealing with exercise induced asthma?

-What do you think are the reasons that this is an issue?

-Is there anything wrong with the current exercise induced asthma treatments, and if so, what are your alternative recommendations?

-Have you seen this condition successfully reversed or controlled, especially in kids?

During our discussion, Dr. Minkoff and I discuss the following resources:

-Keeping kids away from potential digestive irritants or foods that could trigger an autoimmune reaction, especially gluten (a very good book I recommend on this topic is “Gut & Psychology Syndrome“).

Stool test to asses whether kids are low in HCL, and if they are, getting them on an HCL supplement.

-Red blood cell test for magnesium (look for a naturopathic physician in your area who may be able to order this) and use of a magnesium supplement if deficiency is found.

-Use of fermented foods and probiotics with kids.

-Considering use of a colostrum supplement in a child who was raised on formula and not breastmilk.

-Use of anti-inflammatory antioxidants and anti-inflammatory fish oil.

-Looking into allergy elimination techniques (i.e. NAET.com) to identify and eliminate potential allergenic foods that kids may be eating.

-Educating yourself on the realities and alternatives to immunizations and vaccinations. The website Dr. Minkoff recommends is: http://www.nvic.org

And there's more resources for you too, because Dr. Minkoff, in addition to being the creator of the “Master Amino Pattern” amino acid supplement, has also been on the following podcasts:

Episode #168: How To Banish Chronic Pain Forever.

Episode #143: Can “Prolotherapy” Make Your Injuries Vanish?

Episode #105: A Peek Into The Life of An Ironman, Natural Medicine Physician.

Questions, comments or feedback about exercise induced asthma in kids? Do you or your kids have this issue? Leave your thoughts below.

12 thoughts on “Why More Kids Are Getting Exercise Induced Asthma, and What You Can Do About It.

  1. Hi Ben… I listened to this podcast (Dr. Minkoff and exercise-induced asthma in kids)…very interesting. My question is with your son who was experiencing the symptoms. It seems that your kids might be some of the healthiest kids ever :D…So the suggestions that Dr. Minkoff had may or may not be helpful in your case. I am an extremely healthy person and am struggling from this asthma…so what are your thoughts about kids/adults who are monitoring their diet, gut, supplementing, exercising…and are still having this problem? Thank you for your time,

    Casey

  2. The more that we prevent our kids from enjoying the sun and running outdoors, the more likelihood that they will develop asthma. Kids should be allowed to run, get dirty. This is the only way they can measure their strength and boost the immune system as they get exposed to the environment. I learn a lot of these from medical websites like ROWTASHA.COM.

    1. Hey shawn, I was a kid that played outside A LOT when i was young and unfortunately I have asthma which seems to increase in severity with the more exercise i do. I do believe kids should be outside getting dirty and building their immune systems but as for that preventing asthma I think may not be too accurate. You’ll find a lot of kids that are very good athletes and start early end up having asthma so i think the issue may lie elsewhere. Just my observations from experience.

  3. Mud is always good :)!

    Children are born 'sterile', i.e. pathogen free, but the (vaginal) birth process exposes them to the microbial flora of the mother. This is basically the first 'gift' a mother can give her child. Obviously, this is different in case of c-sections where the newborns are kept as sterile as possible by hospital staff (and those kids tend to have a higher incidence of allergic diseases). Breast-milk also shapes the microbial flora through mucosal immune factors that are present in the milk. Vaginal birth and breast feeding is the best possible combination to reduce the risk of allergies, because it will create an anti-inflammatory environment. But the immune system has still to be exposed to the outside environment to suppress inappropriate immune responses. This is an active process that has to be initiated. This does not happen passively. Although evidence is still required at this stage, I believe that active exposure of kids to all sorts of antigens/allergens early on (i.e. 'mud') while the immune system is still immature and in the process of being educated is the way to go. But again every child is different and there are certainly genetic traits that can 'override' any effort to do everything right, unfortunately.

  4. Hi Ben!

    I subscribed to your podcast only a few days ago, but we share a lot of values and I am very lucky to be able to draw so much valuable information from your lifestyle and I would like to thank you to share so much of your knowledge and passion with the rest of the world.

    The reason of this email: I just had the pleasure to listen to your podcast with David Minkoff on my bike commute to work. While I agree with most things that have been said, I felt compelled to give a little scientific feedback on the content of this specific podcast.

    A bit of information with regards to my background: I am an Immunologist working in New Zealand. I conducted research in various fields such as infectious diseases, transplantation and am now managing a melanoma vaccine study that will start here in NZ early next year. While I am not directly working in the field of Asthma and Allergies, most of my colleagues at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research do, so I am pretty much up-to-date with regards to the latest research in the field. And it's certainly an area I am very passionate about, because it directly relates to my beliefs of how to live a balanced and meaningful life. And when I am not at work or hanging around with my two lovely kids, I am trying to be a half-decent triathlete ;)!

    Now to the content of the podcast:
    I particularly loved the fact that vitamin d and omega 3 fatty acids were mentioned because there is growing epidemiological evidence that those, especially vitamin d, is linked to elevated incidence of asthma, allergy, as well as cancer. I personally supplement my kids with both.
    The two things I felt the urge to point out, though, are:
    1. The avoidance of 'allergic' food, like milk products, peanuts and so forth, is controversial, and it seems like in the past year(s), it has become increasingly clear that this might in fact be a mistake. I think leaving the statement of Dr. Minkoff like that would be disinformation.
    2. It would have loved Dr. Minkoff to go deeper in his explanation of why the microbiota (our gut bacteria) is so important. This would have been very important for the listeners, in my opinion. The fact is that the gut microbiota can be regarded as as immunological organ in itself. The bacterial composition plays an enormous role in our general health. Compelling evidence shows that this microbiota is the key to asthma/allergy pathogenesis, and is critically involved in other processes, such as obesity, as well.
    The time window to impact the development of this immunological 'organ' is very short (about the first year of life). In that same time frame, our immune system is 'educated' by the gut microbiota. It is extremely important to understand that our immune system is very 'tolerogenic', i.e. it usually tries to limit its reactivity towards 'non-self', and the microbiota is key to educate it in that way.
    Key studies have shown that in the first year of life, antibiotic treatment is deleterious, in terms of asthma/allergy development, whereas playing on farms (i.e. in the mud, in contact with lots of antigens) is beneficial ('Hygiene-hypothesis'). Beyond that first year, any statistical significance is lost! This latter 'hygiene-hypothesis' is now being replaced by the hypothesis that bacteria in the gut in particular do this job of educating the immune system … in other words setting it up FOR LIFE. So the avoidance will allergens is not the key. I believe that if everything is in place (in the gut), contact with potential allergens should in fact be promoted. Dr. Minkoff rightfully addresses the issue of inflammation, that is key to the development of asthma/allergy and CANCER, but the initial insult to the intestinal barrier does not occur by the allergen, it occurs by the lack of correct microbiota. No one knows as of yet what an 'ideal' microbiota looks like, even if there are many pills on the market, and no one knows whether mistakes early on in childhood (in the first year) can be corrected further down the road (for now evidence suggests that this might not be the case). And to add information to the 'acid' … allergens have the propensity to be acid-resistant. Obviously, like Dr. Minkoff said, blocking acid is the wrong way to go, but even if acid build up is promoted, that might not lead to removal of allergens.

    The issue with vaccination is the same. The culprit might not be the vaccine itself, but the immunological state of the child the vaccine is administered to. Again, there are genetic components as well, but it seemed like your message is that vaccinating our kids might be a bad idea. That is incomplete information and should not be broadcasted that way.

    I could go on and on with lots of information, but I guess that should be sufficient to let you know my opinion … and I hope you and the other listeners will take the advices of Dr. Minkoff with the necessary criticism.
    Anyway, I hope this kind of feedback is somehow useful!

    1. This is really fantastic info, and something I was actually thinking about tonight as my kids played for hours in a dirty, germ-filled bouncy castle with hundreds of other children at the Independence Day festival. A little wallowing in the mud is good for them, eh?

      I'll be sure to forward this info over to Dr. Minkoff as well!

  5. Ben

    You should address this issue
    Lance Armstrong, 1800 other professional and amateur athletes exposed to toxins

    Toxins in Triathlon swims. I t seems to be a prevalent issue

  6. Great interview, Ben! For adults with asthma, it sounds like getting checked for leaky gut syndrome would be a good idea. What type of practicioner would I go see for that? I take 2 medications for asthma and would love to see if I could have some help getting off of them through diet changes and other natural techniques. I was diagnosed about 6 months ago with celiac disease and am totally off gluten now but think that an overall gut analysis would be good for me. I just don't know where to go.

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