Could Going Vegan Help with Exercise-Induced Asthma?

Post written by Susan Lacke.

“Are you okay?”

If I had a nickel for every time I heard that while training with a friend or teammate, I’d be rich. When I’m active, I cough. A lot. Every time I run or ride my bike, you’d think I spend my free time chain-smoking Pall Malls.

For the past few years, I’ve tried to pinpoint the cause of this cough. It’s rarely debilitating – only a nuisance. In slow, easy workouts, it’s actually not that bad. But during interval workouts or tempo runs, the cough is a constant, annoying companion who I wish would just go the hell away.

Only recently have I gained an official diagnosis: exercise-induced asthma.

Could asthma be linked to dairy products?

In discussing this diagnosis with other vegetarian athletes, I’ve found there are two standard responses among people who have dealt with it:

  1. “Oh, my gosh! That sounds exactly like what I have when I run!”
  2. “I used to have asthma, but then I gave up dairy products and it went away.”

For the former, I was shocked at how widespread this seemed to be. Then I learned that over 15 million people in the United States experience exercise-induced asthma. Though it’s a common condition, it often goes unrecognized by patients and physicians, usually misdiagnosed as a cold.

The latter piqued my curiosity. Dairy? Really? Could going vegan be a way of bypassing medicine and inhalers to treat asthma?

I recruited the help of two experts to dive further into the topic: Dr. Nathanael Horne, Clinical Assistant Professor at NYU School of Medicine, and Dr. Todd Rambasek of ENT and Allergy Health Services in Ohio (and fellow vegetarian).

How do I know if I have asthma?

According to Dr. Horne and Dr. Rambasek, asthma is a condition characterized by inflammation of the airways, which makes it more difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs. As a result of this inflammation, several symptoms appear, including:

  • Cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing

These symptoms can be triggered by many factors, but what distinguishes exercise-induced asthma is that it’s brought on by exercise.

Of course, the surest way to know if you have asthma, and what your triggers are, is to talk to a pulmonologist or allergist.

Over 20% of elite athletes have exercise-induced asthma

“Asthma occurs in over 20% of elite athletes, reaching 35-50% in some sports,” says Dr. Horne. “After the 1998 Winter Olympics, 23% of the Olympians were shown to have exercise-induced asthma by sensitive lung function tests. Athletes with exercise-induced asthma can successfully compete at the international level, with appropriate diagnosis and treatment.”

The emphasis here is on appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Even if you think you have asthma, it’s important to visit a professional who can analyze your symptoms and rule out other, more severe conditions.

The good news is that asthma is fairly easy to manage. For some, it may be as simple as modifying the environment – cold and dry environments usually result in more symptoms than a warm and humid environment. That said, an athlete may be able to reduce symptoms by running indoors on a treadmill during the winter months. A difference in intensity can also help alleviate symptoms, as long and slow runs tend to produce less symptoms than shorter, more intense workouts (like speed intervals).

There are also a variety of medications available, from medications to manage conditions further aggravating the asthma (for example, allergy serums, or pills to reduce airway inflammation) to quick-acting inhalers that step in when symptoms manifest themselves during exercise.

How giving up dairy helped Ironman champion Hillary Biscay

Professional triathlete and Ironman champion Hillary Biscay has had exercise-induced asthma for as long as she can remember.

“While I was only diagnosed at age 11, I have very traumatic memories of years of playing soccer growing up, getting yelled at because I couldn’t keep up running,” says Biscay. “I always thought I was just a wimp, but I have vivid memories of this feeling like I was breathing through a coffee stirrer–of course I now know that was asthma.”

After using countless treatments over the years, including nebulizer treatments and, at one point, four inhalers at one time, she accidentally stumbled onto a method that provided relief.

Though her decision to become vegan was motivated by ethics, she was surprised to see how quickly her asthma symptoms were alleviated:

“I noticed a change very quickly; I wish I could remember exactly now, but it was within days. I used to constantly have junk in my throat and lungs–like I was constantly clearing my throat and sometimes, just sitting there, would be fighting this stuff to try to get a deep breath. Turns out this stuff was happening when I ate dairy products; but my diet was so heavy in dairy that I never recognized the correlation.”

Is veganism a cure?

It’s hard to say. Dr. Rambasek cites a few research studies which have been done on vegetarian and vegan athletes. In one study being a vegetarian was actually associated with a higher rate of having asthma, but the association, Dr. Rambasek points out, is weak. In another study, patients on a vegan diet required less asthma meds; however, the study was limited in its scope.

Dr. Horne has seen milk allergies (in which specific antibodies in milk proteins trigger allergic reactions in a person – this is different from lactose intolerance or general aversion to milk products) cause asthma-like symptoms. In these circumstances, eliminating milk and milk products did, in fact, cause the asthma symptoms to cease. But these patients didn’t have asthma – they had an allergy. This reinforces the important of going to a trained medical professional to get a correct diagnosis.

There are many doctors who make claims that asthma can be alleviated by eliminating dairy products, but they’re often anecdotal, and haven’t been researched to provide scientific proof. So really, there isn’t enough information from a medical standpoint to say if the claims of going vegan can alleviate asthma symptoms.

However, because the anecdotal information is strong, both doctors say it can’t hurt to at least try.

“I would support it,” says Dr. Horne, “lots of my patients dabble with complementary and alternative medications, like herbs and acupuncture. Sometimes they seemed to help, sometimes not. Just because there’s not a lot of data on something doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tried. However, the healthcare provider should be kept in the loop, as some alternative therapies are dangerous.”

Do you have exercise-induced asthma? What do you use to manage your symptoms while running? Has veganism alleviated your asthma symptoms?

About the Author: Susan Lacke, No Meat Athlete’s Resident Triathlete and author of the No Meat Athlete Triathlon Roadmap, recently earned her Doctorate in health education. The accomplishment pales in comparison, however, to her recent achievement of finally housebreaking her new puppy, Daisy. Follow her on Twitter (@SusanLacke) or like her on Facebook for links to her latest columns in No Meat Athlete, Competitor Magazine, and Triathlete.com.

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Comments

  1. I absolutely think dairy is linked to respiratory issues.

  2. I have exercise induced asthma. I’m also very sensitive to chemicals, fumes etc and am having major issues with the high humidity this year. I became a vegan in March and have sadly not seen an improvement in my asthma symptoms. I have to avoid running when the humidity is really bad and take my rescue inhaler prior to starting my runs.

    • If dairy seems ok for you iv been reading a lot about gluten and asthma, seems just as common as dairy and asthma. Try going gluten free for a few weeks, ie, no wheat, rye or barley or anything that could be even slightly contaminated with gluten, like oats, corn. I’d be interested to hear ur results as I’m an elite runner with exercise innduced asthma trying dairy and gluten free diets to see if I can cure myself.

      • I’m happened on this site accidentally. I’m not an athlete, but I feel compelled to reply to your comment since it is relevant. I was diagnosed with “allergy-related” asthma (“environmental”) over fifteen years ago, hospitalized once several years ago, after a severe attack. I refused to accept depending on medications permanently. I’ve managed to get by mostly using a rescue inhaler. I started to research aggressively. A few years ago, I decided to try dairy free, improving lifelong daily bouts of year round “hay fever”–my sinuses dramatically cleared, improving the asthma to some degree as well, but daily use of the inhaler was still needed. I’ve been shaping a healthy-eating lifestyle too (with a few lapses). Recently, I decided to commit to eating completely “clean,” permanently. I really didn’t think I had a gluten allergy (but how would I know that?), but decided to do an elimination trial of totally “wheat free,” because I too, have read anecdotes of people’s asthma clearing up after they stopped eating wheat. Five weeks into my little test, just as I had begun to believe the asthma was not a wheat allergy, two days had gone by without using the inhaler at all. I had used it during heavy gardening in windy conditions, and then just hadn’t needed it anymore. It’s been close to a week now, and I am still breathing comfortably, not thinking about the inhaler (except for right now). This is a short period of time, but it is a dramatic shift, and I am celebrating. Rarely has there been a day (if any) that I have not taken a puff of the inhaler two or three different times during the day, after that severe attack. Needless to say, I will not include gluten in my diet here on out. Yay! I am 62 years old, and still young. Don’t give up!

  3. I could have written this! Within days of giving up dairy my running nose when I exercise went away. This was a few years ago when I was making my first forey from vegetarianism to veganism and I was immediately sold. Never looked back!

  4. I’ve had exercise-induced asthma for nine years now. The triggers for my asthma are various allergies such as pollens and dust. In two different tests, I wasn’t allergic to milk.

    On the other hand, I drink a lot of it. My asthma is getting significantly better than it was in the spring as the tree pollens have subsided.

    Still, this is interesting to me. In the winter, I switched to organic milk and noticed my asthma wasn’t bothering me as much, but that was before the evil, debilitating pollens. One problem is I rely on dairy, such as protein-rich Greek yogurt, for protein and recovery.

    Perhaps I’ll give up dairy and see what happens. It can’t hurt, and I’ve been pretty desperate for some relief from asthma.

    • I totally hear you on the use of dairy for protein. It can be super-convenient. Though I haven’t gone completely vegan yet, I’ve found it fun to take on the challenge of getting enough protein with non-dairy sources! There’s some wonderful alternatives out there! Give it a shot – let me know how it goes for you!

      • Lindsay says:

        I will try it. I actually just finished my milk and chocolate milk up, so I’ll get Muscle Milk and almond milk for my oatmeal instead.

        Good luck with your journey (for lack of a better word) with asthma. It’s tough to deal with. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a consistent treatment for it other than suck-it-up-and-deal-with-it.

        • jennifer says:

          i think muscle milk contains dairy. also, there’s so many chemicals and crazy crap in it, i wouldn’t trust it with an asthmatic– too many potential triggers.

          for protein: beans and nuts!

          for fun dairy subs: hemp, almond, hazelnut, and coconut!

          oatmeal also contains gluten (contamination) so if there’s any gluten and dairy asthmatic overlap, it’s just something to keep in mind.

          • Lindsay says:

            Yeah, Muscle Milk that I tried was nasty. I rarely ever experience bloating, but today it was terrible. Enough with that crap!

            Gluten doesn’t bother me, at least that I know of! My sister has a gluten intolerance, and I don’t have any of those similar symptoms. Wheat, anyway, is a very small part of my diet.

            My asthma is all environmental related, pollens are the big trigger. I’ve never had a food allergy.

            Anyway, first two days without dairy were complete crap. My attempt at a tempo run was ruined by asthma symptoms and GI distress I blame on the Muscle Milk. I realize it’s going to take more time than two days to see if it has an effects, but it just feels so strange and honestly, wrong for me.

            What’s so interesting to me is that I had been drinking more milk lately, chocolate for recovery, and my asthma had been doing fairly well even on tough workout days.

        • When I got off my asthma meds, I used black coffee and a mix of bhakti chai — the ginger helped my tension and the coffee opens airways just as well as the rescue inhaler, but it doesn’t last as long, which I found to be a good thing. I used to go from feeling as though I couldn’t breathe, to taking my inhaler and then having to sit down as I was dizzy from the medication forcing my airways TOO open– hyperventilation– pain in my bronchioles and chest, black spots before my eyes. The coffee works just as well, but it doesn’t open things too much, or make a person feel like they’re on speed— which is what my rescue inhaler used to do.

          • I am vegan and still have exercise induced asthma, however, it is MUCH better than when I was vegetarian and eating dairy. I use coffee too. My allergist said it is a mild bronchial dilator! I really don’t like to use my inhaler. Had a horrible nervous system reaction to Albuterol and Xopenex is tolerable, but still gives me a mild reaction. Mostly I just exercise slower so I don’t have an attack. Never tried ginger, but will certainly give it a go. It’s so good for you!

  5. Thanks for the post! I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma many years ago and was given an inhaler to use because I couldn’t make it up a hill to save my life….even when walking a brisk pace.

    Almost two years ago I started following a Vegan diet and noticed the difference immediately! I started the diet because I heard about quick recovery of runs, better for the digestion system (which I needed). I had no idea I would be able to throw my inhaler away! I was able to slowly jog hills and get to the top with no problems and could start running once I got to the top!

  6. Jennifer says:

    Going vegan helped my asthma a TON… But it wasn’t until I also removed gluten than I really felt amazing with my breathing. When I was a child, I was always in the ER for asthma attacks (“exercise” could mean laughing too hard), and my parents wouldn’t allow things like milkshakes but thought milk was a requirement for a healthy body… So unfortunate.

    But between dairy, eggs, and gluten… Those things are totally unnecessary, and make me SO sick.

  7. I have regular asthma–the allergy induced kind as well as exercise induced asthma. I can keep it under control most of the time, but was having some problems last fall when I started running bigger miles (after a layoff). I got an email from one of my running friends who said, “Kay, you have to give up dairy.” She was absolutely right. I have no more chest tightness when I start out, no more mucous, etc. I’d like to try running without doing my nebulizer and see if I really need all the medication I take. But I’m afraid to do that. Maybe one of these days.

  8. Michele says:

    I have had asthma since I was a kid. Warm and humid air makes mine much worse. In the summer when it is humid, I have to use my inhaler every day. The rest of the year I can get away with every other day or sometimes just a couple times a week. Cool temps are much better for me, I keep my house temp in the high 50s/low 60s in the winter and don’t use the heat in the bedroom.

  9. how interesting! great post:)

  10. I agree with Melissa – I have exercise induced asthma and I’m very sensitive to humidity, allergens, etc. I am not a true vegan, but I try to eat that way as much as possible, and I tried all but eliminating dairy for another reason (hearing it would help with eczema).

    I am one of those lucky ones (sarcasm) with the triad of asthma, eczema, and nasal allergies. While I did not notice any improvement in my asthma sans dairy, I DID notice my nasal allergies got so much better!! I used to take an allergy pill every single day and I’d still be sniffling, when I was eating dairy.

  11. my spouse used to have asthma, ever since he was 4 years old. he had an inhaler & took medication daily.

    his asthma disappeared within 6 weeks of us becoming vegan and almost 5 years later there’s no sign of it!

  12. I’m my own anecdotal evidence for this. I’ve had exercise and allergy-induced asthma since I was little and I notice a huge difference when I’m not eating dairy.

    • Hillary said the same thing about noticing the difference. She said one day Starbucks messed up her drink order and used dairy milk instead of soy, and she certainly felt it with her asthma that day!

  13. I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma about 4-5 yrs ago. Cold air is not a friend but warm humid air is not as bad. I lived in Florida for a short while a couple summers ago and felt pretty good there, but back up north it was back to the same as before. Just after this past Christmas I went on a vegan diet and noticed changes fairly quickly. Still in my infancy of veganism I do slide off course and grab a Hershey bar or add some cheese to a meal from time to time and find that the heavy chest and cough are quick to show their ugly faces! I have no doubt that dairy is a contributing factor.

    Doing my best to stay on course!
    Best wishes to you!

  14. I have exercised-induced asthma and I have to use an albuterol inhaler before every run. Even with the inhaler, my asthma prevents me from pushing too hard or running too fast. Needless to say, I never place well in races, but I can easily run over long distances at a comfortable pace.

    I’m a vegetarian, considering going vegan, and gave up milk consumption several months ago. At this point I haven’t noticed a difference in my asthma, though with the recent heat wave this isn’t surprising. I hope that I will see some improvement as I begin to make a more serious shift to veganism.

    Thanks for the interesting article!

    • I’m in exactly the same boat as you – flirting with veganism. I don’t consume much dairy, but haven’t gone completely away from some products now and then. I think I’ll give it a try, though, after writing this article.

  15. I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma a couple months ago and told to use a corticosteroid inhaler every day. I have been looking for some other way to manage this problem; I don’t like the idea of using a steroid every day. There isn’t much information out there on alternatives! I’m definitely going to try giving up dairy. If it works, cheese isn’t worth the steroids.

    Anyone reading this have other options to try resolving asthma without steroids?

    • Jon Weisblatt says:

      Kevin,
      try going gluten free as well as dairy ree. I’ve read that many endurance athletes are now going gluten free. As far as steroid inhalers go, something like Pulmicort 180 (which I’ve used in the past due to allergies to my two chubby cats)has such a low dose that it’s be safe without long term effects (according to my allergist). Be sure to rinse after the inhaler hit. Good luck. It makes sens on the dairy issue. I believe professional singers avoid dairy before performances.

    • How did u go. I’m a runner with asthma only when running, been on inhalers for 10 years and am only now trying diet restrictions. Last week cut out ALL dairy, gluten and processed foods. But due to injury can’t run so I don’t know how the asthma will be.

  16. Many varieties of Asthma are auto-immune type responses triggered by environmental factors such as food or air pollution, as are many skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. I hate the idea of a life on steroids, as my doctor prescribed. For me it took 9 months of experimenting to confirm that dairy caused my respiratory problems and gluten was behind my psoriasis. I am now totally free of steroids and running marathons without so much as a wheeze or sniffle. On the other hand, excluding dairy did not help my mother’s asthma at all, for her it was the gluten.

    Not everybody’s asthma will have the same cause so you may need to experiment with excluding a number of food groups and then adding them in one by one depending on your results.

  17. Breathing Easier says:

    I don’t have asthma but I have had severe seasonal and cat allergies since childhood. For as long as I can remember I’ve had to take 3 prescription medications (pill, nasal spray, and steroid eye drops) at the same time and was still miserable. I went vegan 2 years ago and suddenly I take NO medications and now own a cat for the first time. I told my new doctor and she said “Oh yeah, probably because you don’t eat dairy anymore”. WHAAAAT?! Why didn’t anyone tell me this before?!

  18. Thanks for posting both takes on this topic. I’m a vegetarian [not vegan] and have moderate asthma [triggers including, but are not limited to, exercise]. For me, I don’t believe dairy products affect my asthma, but of course, it’s always worth investigating something new.
    I take three inhalers a day plus a rescue inhaler, and am trying new combinations of these with exercise, as the two puffs of ventolin standard doesn’t work well enough for me. I’ll probably report back once I’ve had some time to play around with them on my blog–but it really comes down to good, long warm-up for me, like at least 10 minutes. I also have to say that I struggle with running just because of how touchy my lungs are, but that in itself doesn’t stop me from doing what I can to keep active! :]

    Thanks again!

  19. Hello,
    And thank you for your article. I was recently diagnosed with lactose intolerance, and a few years ago sports induced asthma. What I can tell you is that for me it is genetic. All my siblings and my parents have asthma and allergies. Though I have gone ove-vegetarian. I know that I have to listen to my own body. I use an inhaler before my runs and ta-da, I can finish the training runs. LOL, though my runs are short due to my laziness and being out of shape. But the key is listening to our bodies and doing what is best. Best of luck! Keep Moving
    Jenn

  20. Several years ago, after some nasty bouts with bronchitis, I was diagnosed with allergy-induced asthma. (Seasonal allergies, we surmised, until they persisted year round.) I took allergy medicine evry day, as well as an inhaler 30 minutes before exercising. Three months ago, I went dairy-free for digestive purposes, and I have never felt better! Not only has it helped my stomach, within two weeks I totally stopped my allergy medicine and inhaler. I can not get over how much better my breathing has been when I run now!

  21. I have to agree with some of the other posts. Quitting dairy was a huge help.. but I wasn’t until I quite gluten that I had complete remission of any asthma symptoms. I’ve also seen in countless coaching clients.

  22. I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma when I was 8 years old. After 16 years of inhalers and pills, I found the real cause of my asthma: Food Allergies.

    They never tested me for them, and it turns out I’m allergic to eggs, corn, wheat, milk and mustard — all things I was eating as a vegetarian.

    Now? I don’t eat those foods and I HAVE NO MORE ASTHMA.

    I found this out by accident; thanks to an amazing healer/chiropractor, who was trying to un-inflame my system.

    I went on an anti-inflammatory diet and saw immediate results — I found living in CO I was needing my asthma meds less, and so my chiropractor decided that my puffy fascia and skin problems were due to the years of corticosteroids and other asthma meds.

    When I was on that diet, I cut out dairy products, eggs and wheat and I was amazed– I could RUN and not feel like I was going to die!

    It is my firm belief that a lot of the time, asthma, especially “exercise induced,” is linked with food or environmental allergies. Often, the tests that a doctor runs are not equated or calibrated to an individual’s true sensitivity.

    When I got my blood test back (after my asthma disappeared) after being tested for food allergies, I was in the mild/moderate columns for most of the foods I’m allergic to.

    My chiro told me that it was obvious (after we reintroduced these foods over a period of months to cleanse in-between each one – to see if they really affected my system) to look at that test and shift everything over one column– that is to say, mark milds to moderates, moderates to severe, etc.

    My system is more sensitive than the “average,” that is notated by medical charts.

    I don’t take any medications now for asthma, seasonal allergies, or anything else, and I have reclaimed running.

    I never thought it was possible for me to be off all medications, but I’m living proof that it can be done.

    Cheers, and good luck!

    • P.S. Whey and casein are also milk derivatives that are found in lots of things — ovaltine for example– that can really affect asthma, as far as I’m concerned. Good luck everyone!

    • Green.globe77 says:

      Wow, thanks for your post. Every one is saying so many helpful things but I think I’m going to have to try an anti-inflammatory diet like you did. I’m close to being vegan but once in a while I have “relapses” and consume some dairy products. Today I was running for class and I was running at a pretty good stride but then I got an attack. I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 14 but later we thought I outgrew it… I’m realizing that’s not the case…. Thanks!

  23. I was vegan for almost a year and it literally almost killed me. I have to think that although some people get good results, some people could never be truly healthy on a non meat diet because of their genetics.

  24. Perhaps it is also food sensitivities that causes the asthma. There are a lot of different reasons why one suffers from particular symptoms – not just diary.

  25. I actually have exercised induced asthma and I am vegan. Cutting dairy did not actually help with mine, but I know it has helped other people with theirs. Although, as many other commenters said, allergies to other foods can cause it. I am allergic to several things, specifically medications, but I haven’t found what it is that could be causing my asthma. I will say this though, the more I exercise the less the asthma affects me. Strengthening your lungs through cardio workouts helps, a lot. I am currently training for a 5k and each day it becomes easier and easier for me, but it does take me longer to train. I’m doing a 10 week program that I am actually stretching out even further so I’ll be ready. Learning to live with it makes a big difference in how it affects you.

  26. I was diagnosed with asthma when I was about nine years old. I became a vegetarian in February of 2012. I noticed some significant changes right away like weight loss , mental clarity and, being able to focus a lot longer. Then I became a vegan in August. Every since then I noticed a dramatic difference in my asthma and overall health. I rarely every need medicine I haven’t touched my inhaler for about 2.months now and, I’m very busy with dancing and, singing. I really believe that going vegan is definitely the way to go.

    • Ann Stavash says:

      I have had asthma my whole life and I am also severely allergic to cats. Contact with cats has sent me to the hospital more than once. I have been playing around with my diet for years trying to improve my asthma. About two weeks ago, I began a gluten free vegan diet and the results have been astounding. I have not used my inhaler in twelve days. I haven’t gone twelve days without asthma medicine in over a decade. I am hoping it will continue. I have not been around cats but your post has made me hopeful that maybe one day cats won’t be my nemesis.

  27. Great posts guys! I run at a national level for 1500m, am 29yo and have had exercise induced asthma for over 10 years. Been using pulmicort everyday for 10 years. For my easy runs my breathing is ok, not great, but for races or fast sessions I’m always limited by my breathing so take ventolin before these hard sessions. Iv asked other runners what stops them going faster and they say its lactic in their legs, but for me its always my lungs stopping me before I get a chance to get lactic (not including sprints of less than 2 mins, in this case it is lactic stopping me as is normal).
    Iv recently only heard that it may actually be a food alIergy so last week I started elimimating known foods that cause asthma, dairy, gluten and all processed foods, basicallyy I’m on a paleo diet. Haven’t ran sincedestructive en injury but in general my lungs and throat do seem less inflamed… I get sore throats and bronchitis all the time. Hence cutting out ALL processed foods/added sugar as this type of diet is poison basically and severely impairs the immune system and many more destructive reasons.
    Thanks everyone for the great posts. Il write back in a few weeks with my findings.

  28. I don’#t have execise-induced asthma but I do have asthma. It used to be severe. I cut out dairy and wheat/gluten and I no longer have to take my inhalers regularly…just a few times a year…there is usually a 2 week stint in the summer where I have to use them, then it goes again. I also struggle with humidity…other than that though I go months and months without having to touch an inhaler.

    I feel disappointed that I haven’t been able to completely get rid of it but I guess I should be grateful that I no longer fight asthma everyday of my life – only a few weeks/month out of a year.

    It sucks though because I am a competitive runner and last few days have suddenly got really humid and I am having to figure out how I am going to make my training work with chest tightness in these conditions.

  29. Also…I discovered that I have other food allergies including a mild egg allergy, pork allergy (which I only discovered by going vegan and then going back to trying some meat) and some others too.

    I think people with asthma generally are more sensitive, so working out your food allergies and avoiding them is a good first step to this horrible condition!

    I also think its important to make sure you are getting the right nutrition too as well as avoiding the negative. I do not veganism is the answer as although I saw improvements…I initially started to wane after 4 years. I have found liver, bone broths included into my diet to be very helpful towards my asthma too.

    I haven’t however found something that has completely eradicated it, but its less of an interference in my life then it once was.

  30. Rebekah says:

    I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma when I was 13, but almost never used my inhaler (it tastes rather nasty and I don’t like using drugs/medicine when I don’t know what they’re doing to my body) and just focused on keeping it under control by stopping when it got painful. Now, 7 years later, I finally decided to cut out dairy (but not eggs), a feat with the current American diet. I can probably take in twice as much breath at once, run up hills, and keep active without keeping a constant watch on my breath. I still have to watch out for things like cold air which triggers it a bit and certain other foods which I have yet to cut out, but it’s changed my life to finally be able to be active without meds. For anyone still debating on trying this method, I say try it – it can’t hurt and it could very well help. Just keep in mind, if it does work, you need oxygen more than you need dairy.

  31. Wow, this article has helped me immensely! Thank you so much! I started on my dairy free journey yesterday and am looking forward to seeing the results. My asthma is holding me back from doing what I want to do and its frustrating!
    Thanks again :-)

  32. Just an FYI for everybody. I started taking Vitamin D on my own (5,000), and I have been almost symptom- free for weeks! Occasionally I use my inhaler during heavy cardio. Other than that, no need for it at all. This after going dairy free which helped, and experimenting with not eating wheat-based products, which did not eliminate the symptoms.

  33. I suffered from asthma for years and could barely run a half-mile without gasping for air.
    The year I quit dairy, I ran my first 5k (Spartan Race to boot!). I went full-on vegan shortly thereafter.
    Long story short, not only have I not had to use my inhaler in well over three years, my allergies (pollen, cats, tree nuts, peanuts, etc) are all gone. I even paid extra to have my blood analyzed for allergies in a lab :)

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  1. […] “Dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, may worsen asthmatic symptoms…High-fat dairy products may worsen inflammation.”Foods to Avoid When AsthmaticOf note: there isn’t significant research (yet) to support this. The only testament is word-of-mouth & posts like this. […]

  2. […] S. “Could Going Vegan Help With Exercise-Induced Asthma?” No Meat Athlete. http://www.nomeatathlete.com/exercise-induced-asthma/. 24 July 2012. Accessed 28 June […]

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