I've had exercise induced asthma my whole life. Getting off gluten didn't help. Going Paleo has not changed it. Seasonal allergies definitely got better when I ditched gluten a few years ago, but have not changed since then. I'm in the process of trying to lose the 10 lbs I put on when I went Paleo. I walk or hike everyday, gym 2-3x week, yoga 2x week, bike ride on occasion. I go big with weight at the gym, and do sprints or the trampoline whenever I can. Problem is, my asthma kicks in pretty soon into it. Crossfit kills me. The only thing that seems to help is coffee. So, before a workout I'll have coffee with cinnamon and coconut milk, or homemade nut milk, or very very occasionally heavy cream. I can't choke down black coffee yet. It doesn't get rid of the asthma, just opens my airways enough to run a little more. So my question is, am I undoing fasting (generally 16 hours no food, 8 hours food) with my coffee and milk indulgence, and therefore getting less benefit from the workout? I drink it about 3 hours before my first meal.
Side note - I've really, really been craving coffee since going Paleo. Before it was a 2-3x month thing.
asked byvalkyrie (531)
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on September 03, 2011
at 07:07 PM
Are you doing VLC Paleo? The reason I ask is that when Taubes published his bloodwork, one of the outlying things about them was his low blood CO2 level. A number of folks picked up on that as relates to asthma.
This link is but one I found with a quick Google: http://www.aetherin.com/optimal_co2_levels_and_the_thres.htm
It is possible that a VLC Paleo diet with IF exacerbates a mild acidosis ==> low CO2 ==> no help and possibly making you more susceptible to asthma kicking in.
This might mean for you that (a) a few more carbs may help keep CO2 closer to normal levels, and/or (b) perhaps fasted workouts doing IF are not the best option for you.
on September 03, 2011
at 06:46 PM
I also have asthma and have found that coffee tends to reduce the severity of my symptoms, though not completely. In fact, its actually well-known that coffee can improve asthma symptoms, I believe the mechanism for this is that it dilates the blood vessels and relaxes the airway muscles. The NYTimes ran a recent article about this http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/health/30really.html.
Do you have any food allergies? Nuts can be a big one correlated with asthma symptoms.
Also, have you tried swimming at all? As a kid I went from having severe exercise induced asthma which significantly limited my activity, to being very active. I credit much of this due to improved lung function as a result of swimming.
on June 26, 2011
at 01:55 PM
Just found this:
Yerba Mate tea. Sounds like it could definitely have some positive effects for asthmatics!
on June 26, 2011
at 12:26 PM
I have the same problem and have resigned myself to the fact that i may just always need my inhaler for exercise whether I like it or not. I have learnt some breathing exercises though that help slightly. Two deep breaths in through the nose and one out through the mouth (think like the kind of breathing women do when they go into labour - only two through the nose one out through the mouth - but that kind of speed. Sharp in, long out). I do this while i'm running and try and control the speed of my breathing so that it is steady and constant, regardless of how fast i'm running. I'm trying to train my lungs and it works a little.
I'm the same as you when it comes to caffeine - it definitely makes a difference. The only other thing I can think of is onion juice. Sounds foul (and is) but my mother used to grate and juice an onion when I was a child and couldn't breath. She'd make me drink about 10-20mls of the juice (raw) and it was AWFUL but it did open my lungs a bit. OH and menthol/camphor can help too. You could always try doing a steam inhalation before your exercise just to make sure your lungs are nice and open/relaxed. Best of luck! If you discover anything else, I'd love to hear about it :)
on March 26, 2011
at 02:19 AM
Exercise induced asthma is often caused by breathing in cold air, which causes inflammation in the lungs. This happens when you are exercising and breathing in a lot of cold air through your mouth. Sometimes it results in a cough that lasts well after the exercise. It is a common issue in speedskating since it is obviously cold and they are gasping for air - it is known in speedskating as the 1500 meter cough.
Do you live in a cold environment? If so, this may be it. If so, you may try covering your mouth with a hankerchief or something when you exercising. Also, breathing through the nose naturally warms the air. It may be that the coffee is warming your mouth and throat up. Just a thought..
on March 26, 2011
at 01:12 AM
I have the same condition. I have noticed that I don't need my inhaler except strict exercise now. I think some foods were affecting me (i need the inhaler after eating pasta) but I still need it for exercise no matter how good I am eating. I was wondering if its not technically asthma. I know I needed an inhaler after I had bronchitis. So, I'm interested in this.
on March 26, 2011
at 01:09 AM
Nope. Coffee with cream and/or coconut milk is fine during a fast. Keep it up. I wouldn't worry too much about being able to do a Crossfit workout. I love Crossfit. However, if you lift heavy and do sprints and yoga, you're getting all of the principles of a good Crossfit gym anyways. So, if you can't kick the asthma (not saying you cannot, but IF you don't...), don't feel too bad. You still sound very healthy!
on April 21, 2015
at 09:47 PM
I myself have exercise induced asthma, and have since I was 7, so I can certainly relate to your plight.
I also drink coffee first thing in the morning (caffeine is a brochodilator, and legitimately helps you breathe better. It also reduces lung muscle fatigue. However, the effects generally have been shown to only last for about two hours), it doesn't matter if it is hot or cold. The caffeine in your system will increase your lung capacity, and is much better for you than relying on a rescue inhaler. I like to think of it as proactive vs reactive treatment to my asthma.
However, you should try ditching the, including the nut milk - completely for six weeks, and see how you feel. Sweeten with monk fruit extract or stevia if you must, and try drinking your coffee iced... it goes down quicker and you can drink more. I usually brew the night before and put it in a carafe in the fridge and then pour it over ice. The icy cold helps wake me up, surprisingly, even on a cold day more than the warm coffee would, and I can drink about two cups worth. The caffeine content of coffees can vary drastically, so if this is the reason you are consuming it, check the labels of what you are buying.
Dairy is a common cause of respiratory problems for those who are sensitive to it, most of whom are unaware that they have sensitivities until they remove it from their diet completely. Personally, I can digest dairy, and am not lactose intollerant. However, I do have essentially mild anaphylaxis, that shows up mostly in the weakest part of my body - my lungs. I will not breathe as well, I produce more mucus, and will have a weakened immune system and decreased lung capacity, often for anywhere from 12 hours, to 3 days depending on the ammount of dairy consumed, and what kind. Milk, especially full cream, is literally the worst for me personally.
There also is the issue that you are adding calories to your coffee, which, while permittable, will likely keep you from getting the full benefits of IF. The coffee itself isn't a problem, the problem is that you are adding carbohydrates to it. You may confuse your metabolism with nut milks, which are higher in carbohydrates and sugar than regular full cream.
Try ditching the dairy, and see how it works out for you. I know that myself after 6 weeks of it out of my diet, I noticed a huge change in everything from my breathing, to my sleeping patterns and my skin condition.
If you absolutely must have dairy, try goat's milk... it has different proteins as well as signifigantly less sugar and a lower GI than other substitutes, and could work for you as well while cutting out the moo juice.
on December 28, 2012
at 03:49 AM
I know old thread
Coffee could help for 2 different Reasons.
Biggest one is breathing/drinking warm Beverage. It doesn't have to be coffee. Warm water works. I learned this like 30 years Ago at National Jewish hospital. It was what they Were teaching us as first thing to try/do when we felt Attack coming on.
Second reason. Caffeine. It's real old school Treatment for asthma. The drug was called Theophylline And it's a caffeine derivative.
on November 28, 2012
at 06:32 PM
Organo gold is the best during fast http://mycapturepage.com/cp23.php?id=470
on June 28, 2011
at 01:02 AM
Have you tried to consume water instead of coffee to see what happens? I can't see why coffee would be helping... I've never heard of that before.
on June 26, 2011
at 01:15 PM
When I fast, I fast. Nothing but water. Especially if you're not drinking your coffee black then your body isn't getting a complete break from digestion. Try dropping the coffee, I know a lot of people have a lot of different issues that disappear when they drop coffee so it's worth a try. Drop it 30 days and see what happens.