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What could be one of the most important discoveries this year was reported in a relatively obscure journal, The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (March 2000). The breath blown out by asthmatics is 1000 times more acidic than normal. A very sick asthmatic comes into the emergency room gasping for breath. He is given high doses of cortisone drugs and as he starts to breath easier, the acidity of his breath drops to normal. As you learned in school, acidity is measured in a scale from 0 to 14, with acid ranging from 0 to 6, 7 is neutral, and any value above 7 is alkaline. The sick asthmatics' breath is 5, as soon as they improved with the cortisone-type injections, their breath acidity was neutralized at 7.

Acid is a body defense mechanism to help you kill germs. For example, dogs can eat all kinds of infected foods that you can't because their stomachs are so acidic, they can kill germs in their stomach that your stomach couldn't possibly tolerate. Perhaps the lungs also kill germs in the same way with acid that your stomach does.

Everyone agrees that there is a definite increase in the incidence of asthma over the last 100 years, the same span on time in which our ability to control infections has expanded miraculously. Doctors give immunization injections to prevent disease. They prescribe antibiotics to shorten the duration of infections. You wash your hands to reduce your exposure to germs. You learn to stay away from someone who has a cold. Your food contains fewer germs than ever before. You clean your environment and so forth. So you develop fewer infections as you grow up. Since you don't suffer as many infections, you don't make as many antibodies to kill germs and your immune system is not as well developed as it was 100 years ago. So you have to find alternate ways to kill germs and your lungs make huge amounts of acid to kill germs and this acid causes asthma.

This theory is the first to explain why strains of tuberculosis neutralize acids. Tuberculosis is a bizarre bacteria that can survive in the bodies of people with strong immunities because tuberculosis bacteria produce chemicals that neutralize acids. Soon there will be drugs to treat asthma that you inhale to neutralize acids. There will be pills to neutralize lung acids. All will be cheaper and safer than any drugs that are used to treat asthma today.

If you bet in the stock market, look for news in the coming months for companies that are trying to develop cheap and effective drugs to neutralize lung acids. More than 15 million Americans have asthma, so the first drug to neutralize lung acids may be worth more than a billion dollars a year. For more on late onset asthma, see report #G107.

Reported 3/21/00; checked 8/9/05

June 1st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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