One Clinician’s Approach to Asthma

In Functional Medicine, the concept of antecedents, triggers, and mediators underpins the treatment approach. For patients with asthma, Shilpa P. Saxena, MD, shares how understanding the triggers can lead to enormous improvements in health.


Asthma is a very common condition, especially seen in pediatric patients. As a family physician who practices Functional Medicine, I tend to have a simple start that really helps many patients.

First thing is to take a really good history and timeline. Many patients with asthma have been going on the allergic march and so that means they might have started out as infants with infantile eczema, might have proceeded to allergic rhinitis and then progressing to allergic asthma. Many pediatric patients and quite a few adult patients with asthma have an allergic basis for their asthma.

So, then the next question is what are they allergic to that is triggering the immune system? Many times, it is food or environmental allergens. We can do elimination diets or do more complex testing with an allergist involved. But in the end, the goal is to find the trigger.

When you find this trigger or mediator, assuming that they’re eating it often, you’re really able to bring down inflammation. We take away the allergen, we fix the gut, and then it’s really important to reduce inflammation even further with a high dose EPA/DHA.

When you do those few things, take the bad stuff out, put the good stuff in you’ll see that you’ll get resolution of much of what people will call asthma and you can take them off medications and get much better oxygenation to the brain.

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