advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Nutrition for Kids with Allergies/Asthma?
I recently learned about a nutritional supplement called OPC-3 which is supposed to have benefits for people with allergies and asthma. What are your thoughts about adding this to my two-year old child's diet?
A
Answer (Published 5/17/2005)

OPC stands for oligomeric proanthocyanidins, a group of powerful antioxidant compounds. They are commonly found in grape seed extract, which in lab and animal studies has been shown to make blood vessels more elastic and less likely to leak fluids, thus decreasing the leg swelling often associated with varicose veins. OPC-3, a product containing these compounds, is being widely promoted on the Internet as a treatment for diseases associated with free radical damage. However, I have seen no studies suggesting that OPC is an effective treatment for allergies or asthma.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Energy - If you are a parent or grandparent, you know that abundant energy is vital when it comes to keeping up with the kids. Certain supplements can help keep you energized, naturally - learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation.

(Grape seed extract is commonly prescribed in France for varicose veins and other vascular problems. I generally recommend it along with horse-chestnut seed extract [HCSE], a more extensively studied treatment for these conditions.)

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition characterized by repeated episodes of airway obstruction and associated with an exaggerated airway response to a variety of inhaled stimuli. Although the cause is unknown, such factors as allergies, increased stress, respiratory infections, and exercise can worsen asthma. It can also occur without any obvious triggers.

Allergies are due to "misplaced immunity" against something that really is not a threat to health. Allergic responses are also learned responses that can be unlearned. The goal of treatment should be to convince the immune system that it can coexist peacefully with the substances it is reacting to. In young children, it is important to try to limit exposure to potential irritants of the immune system.

Instead of trying products like OPC-3, my principal recommendation for patients with asthma and allergies (or both) would be to follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Increase organic fruits and vegetables, and stay hydrated with lots of water. Avoid processed foods, partially hydrogenated oils, white sugar, and flour. I also recommend using standard medical treatment selectively and trying to avoid suppressive medications (such as oral steroids) as much as possible. Use mind-body medicine such as guided imagery or clinical hypnosis and experiment with homeopathy as well since children respond favorably to this form of treatment.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here