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Asthma – The Water and Salt Connection
by F Batmanghelidj MD

Asthma and allergy—conditions mainly treated with different kinds of antihistamine medications—are important indicators of dehydration in the body. Histamine is a most impor­tant neurotransmitter that primarily regulates the thirst mecha­nism for increased water intake. It also establishes a system for rationing the available water in the body during dehydration. Histamine is a most noble element employed in the drought man­agement of our bodies. In dehydration, histamine production and its activity increase greatly. Increased histamine release in the lungs causes the spasm of the bronchioles. This natural spasmodic action of histamine on the bronchial tubes is part of the design of the body to conserve water that would normally evaporate during breathing. The winter steam or fog that you see when you breathe out in cold weather is water that is leaving your lungs as you breathe.

We breathe approximately 720 times an hour. Imagine how much water we lose through breathing in one hour, in one day, in one week! Could we live for long if we did not replace the water loss from our lungs? When we neglect to replace this water loss, how does the body deal with this crisis? Initially, and stage by stage, the drought management programs of the body are activated. In some, bronchial constriction—asthma—is the first reaction to dehydration. Children are more susceptible to asthma than adults. Their bodies are growing all the time and every cell in an expanding body needs 75 percent of its volume in water. At the same time, children’s bronchial trees are smaller and less rigid, and can be constricted more efficiently than fully devel­oped bronchial trees with firm cartilage support in their struc­ture. Children’s bodies also have less of a water reserve to tap into for redistribution. These are the reasons children exhibit shortness of breath—asthma—more readily than adults when they become dehydrated.

Attacks of asthma during exercise and stress are also part of the water preservation and crisis management process during dehydration. An asthma attack after eating is a classic indicator of dehydration. If we eat food and don’t drink water in order to digest and ‘liquefy’ the food we have stuffed into the stomach, the water that is needed to complete the digestion process is bor­rowed from the rest of the body. This repeated scrounging of water from here and there in an already drought-stricken per­son predisposed to asthma will precipitate an asthma attack. Both emotional and physical stress cause more acute dehy­dration to an already dehydrated body. The ‘free’ water that is available for new functions is utilized very rapidly in the chemi­cal reactions needed to cope with any particular form of stress.

Take action
You can naturally prevent asthma and allergy by drinking more water. When you understand the physiology of the human body and the role of histamine in its water regulation and drought management, you realize that chronic dehydration in a vast majority of people is the primary cause of allergies and asthma. Increased water intake—on a forced, regular basis—should be adopted as a preventive meas­ure as well as the treatment of choice. In those who have had attacks of asthma or allergic reactions to different pollens foods, more strict attention to daily water intake should become a pre-emptive measure. These people will also have other indica­tors of dehydration they need to recognize and treat accord­ingly before a crisis attack of asthma endangers their lives and exposes them to possible, premature death. Don’t forget, the chemical pathways dealing with dehydration have no ‘brain’; they rush forward like a cascade. They are actually called ‘chem­ical cascades’. These dehydration-induced chemical cascades kill many thousands of asthmatics a year. They are easily ‘turned off’ by water and salt, two strong, natural antihistamines.

The Essential Guide to Water and Salt by F Batmanghelidj and Phillip Day