Asthma is a respiratory disease that obstructs the airflow in the airways, causing spasms in the bronchioles. It’s commonly characterized by a tightening in the chest, shallow or difficulty breathing, wheezing, and coughing.

In the United States, one in 12 people has asthma. Over 25 million people suffer from it, in particular children and teens, and it accounts for nearly 13 million school absences and 10 million work absences annually.

Treatment and medication also cost around $15 billion, so it’s no wonder people are turning to natural and cheaper remedies to treat it. This includes making dietary changes and taking health supplements.

Major causes of asthma are environmental factors and genetics. In some cases, prescription drugs for asthma, like corticosteroids actually illicit severe side effects that aggravate the severity of an asthma attack.

Common triggers include allergic reactions to dust and house mites. Reported cases of asthma attacks are also common during the mornings and evenings and after participating in intense exercises.

Check out our Pinterest page for a list of foods that can help reduce asthma attacks. Keep reading below for seven supplements that give you asthma relief.

Forskolin

Forskolin is more popularly known as a weight loss supplement, but it’s actually useful in treating heart and lung diseases, and asthma. It’s derived from the root of coleus forskohlii, which grows in Asia, eastern and central Africa, and countries like India and Brazil.

It’s long been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a remedy for asthma since it works the same as conventional drugs for asthma.

Some people actually inhale forskolin powder for quicker asthma relief, since it works to relax the heart muscles and blood vessels in the body, including the lungs by boosting the levels of the cyclic AMP (cAMP). In fact, there’s evidence that supports forskolin is more effective than cromoglicic acid, a mast cell stabilizer that prohibits the release of inflammatory chemicals.

Choline

There’s existing scientific evidence that supports the claim that three grams of choline daily can significantly reduce the need for bronchodilators, and can effectively reduce the number of days a person suffers from asthma attacks.

Magnesium

If you’ve ever had a severe asthma attack and had to be rushed to the emergency room, chances are you’ll be given magnesium sulfate intravenously or through a nebulizer (an IV or an inhaler).

A piece published in Asia Pacific Allergy journal states that it’s more effective at treating severe asthma attacks when given intravenously compared to when administered through an inhaler.

When it comes to using an inhaler to administer magnesium sulfate, it probably works best when taken alongside salbutamol.

This tells us one thing for sure, though — it’s not meant to be your go-to asthma treatment, and instead, it’s used for severe asthma in life-threatening scenarios.

But how exactly does it work? Much the same as the previous supplements mentioned, and generally the same as most medication for asthma, magnesium reduces the inflammation and blockage in your airways by relaxing your muscles and blood vessels.

It also blocks the chemicals in your body that triggers spasms and instead boosts the production of nitric oxide, which targets and fights inflammation in the body.

Vitamin D

Among its wide array of benefits include boosting lung function when it starts to decline, such as preventing the lungs from shrinking or narrowing its passages over time.

It also boosts general immune health and calcitriol, which is the most common form of vitamin D we take, is an anti-inflammatory. These days, though, there’s a growing deficiency in vitamin D since most people have switched to diets that don’t meet the daily recommended intake, as well as spending less time under the sun.

READ: Many People Are Taking Vitamin D Supplements. Here’s Why.

The Cochran Database of Systematic Reviews also published a study that looked at 435 children and 658 adults with asthma and found that those taking vitamin D supplements regularly had reduced risk of severe asthma attacks.

Black Seed

These come from the black cumin plant, which has long been employed as a cooking ingredient. Much like turmeric, which is also incorporated into food and also taken as a supplement, black seed contains anti-inflammatory properties that target blockage in the lungs.

Animal studies have shown that black seed has the capacity to act as an antihistamine as well, which means it can greatly reduce allergic reactions that trigger asthma attacks.

Pycnogenol

It’s derived from the bark of the French pine tree, and a 2013 study published by the Food and Chemical Toxicology reported that it can greatly reduce inflammation in the body.

It’s main function is to improve blood flow and treat problems regarding inflammation and circulation like allergies, high blood pressure osteoarthritis, and asthma. It also contains antioxidants that boost the immune system function.

Caffeine

A 2015 study published in the journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics found that the anti-inflammatory compounds found in caffeine can improve and relax the lungs and bronchioles for better circulation, therefore avoiding instances of asthma attacks.

You can opt to drink coffee, or tea, and if you’re not a fan of tea you can go for green tea supplements, for example.

READ: Green Tea: Don’t Spill, Sip!

READ: Green Tea: Cancer Fighting Agent?