Fasting has long been associated with asthma, although not always in a curative way. The ancient practice of Ayurveda contends that excessive fasting can cause asthma, particularly in conjunction with other habits, such as over-eating and consuming cold foods. Ayurveda also recommends water-only fasting as a treatment for asthma, but in intervals of three days at a time.
In 1913, James Adam wrote Asthma and Its Radical Treatment, and recommended periodic fasting as a cure for asthma. Inspired by the work of French physician G. Guelpa, Adam suggested a series of brief fasts in succession, much like intermittent fasting. According to Adams, “In asthma and other diseases, the importance of week-end fasting as initial treatment. Thereby we anticipate and in the end prevent the recurrence of the disease.”
The benefits of fasting in asthmatics have been well documented in the Russian medical literature. Russian clinical trials found that more than 75 percent of patients had greatly improved conditions or never had symptoms of asthma again after fasting. In a review of Russian research, the authors concluded that fasting should be the treatment of choice in patients with complicated bronchial asthma.
In a Turkish study, fasting for only 12 hours allowed 121 asthmatic patients to reduce inhaled medication. At the start of the study, 96% of the patients were using medication, whereas only 13% needed medication at the conclusion.
In a Ukraine study involving patients with preasthma and bronchial asthma, researchers found that a 7-day fasting period proved to be effective in reducing the incidence rate of viral infections. Additionally, the patients had a significant decrease in the level of anxiety, as measured by Spilberger Anxiety Inventory.
Joel Fuhrman, a physician with extensive experience fasting asthmatic patients, said that the more severe the asthma and the greater the reliance on medication, the longer it takes to achieve recovery using natural methods. Fuhrman found that with patients with asthma, either a prolonged fast or two fasts with a vegan diet in between usually eliminated the need medication, even for those who had been on drugs for years.