- Vitamin E May Protect the Lungs
- NAC (N-Acetylcysteine)
- Best Supplements for COPD
- Fish Oil for COPD Treatment
- Vitamins A, C, and E for COPD Treatment
- Vitamin D for COPD Treatment
- Turmeric for COPD Treatment
- NAC for COPD Treatment
- Ginseng for COPD Treatment
- The Bottom Line on COPD Supplements
- Herbs and Supplements for COPD (Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema)
- Fall Tea Recipe With Antioxidants
- Best Natural Treatments for COPD
- Herbal Remedies
- Diet and Exercise
- Best Natural Treatments for COPD and You
- The Best Vitamins and Supplements to Support the Lungs
- Lungs Are For More Than Just Breathing
- Vitamins and Supplements for Healthy Lung Function
- Research finds vitamin D is important for respiratory health
- What Vitamins May Help Repair the Lungs?
- 2 Vitamins That May Help Repair Lung Tissue
- Vitamin C’s Antioxidant Powers
- How Vitamin A Helps Your Body’s Cells
- Fatty Fish
- What can you do outside of diet?
- Natural Support for Respiratory Health
Vitamin E May Protect the Lungs
By Carina Storrs
SUNDAY, May 16 (Health.com) — People who take vitamin E supplements regularly for years—whether they are smokers or nonsmokers—may lower their risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the lung condition that is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
COPD includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis and is often, but not always, caused by smoking.
While the risk reduction is relatively small, 10%, COPD is a common and life-threatening condition in which a decline in lung function can be slowed down but not reversed. COPD symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, and fatigue.
“The effect appears to be modest. But for something for which there isn’t really any effective therapy and tends to be a degenerative condition, anything that would reduce the risk even somewhat is not an insubstantial benefit,” says Jeffrey B. Blumberg, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University in Boston who was not involved in the study.
The research, from the government-funded Women’s Health Study, included 39,876 women 45 years and older who were free of COPD before they were randomly assigned to take a placebo, vitamin E supplements (600 IU every other day) or aspirin (100 mg per day), either alone or in combination. At the end of 10 years, 760 of the 19,937 women who took vitamin E alone or with aspirin developed COPD compared with 846 of the 19,939 who took a placebo or aspirin alone—a 10% risk reduction. Vitamin E did not lower the risk of asthma, a condition associated with a higher risk of COPD.
The researchers took into account factors such as cigarette smoking and age, which can affect COPD risk. The study, conducted by Cornell University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers, is to be presented this week at the annual American Thoracic Society meeting in New Orleans.
The idea that vitamin E can reduce the risk of developing COPD is “biologically plausible,” says Yvonne Kelly, PhD, an associate professor in the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London. Experts believe vitamins A, C, and E—the so-called ACE antioxidants—combat oxidative stress in the lungs that can lead to COPD.
Several studies have shown that these vitamins, as well as vitamin D, may help improve lung health. In a 2003 study, Kelly and her collaborators found that men and women with diets high in vitamins C and E had greater lung capacity and produced less phlegm, respectively. Phlegm production and wheezing are also COPD symptoms.
One limitation of the study is that the researchers relied on the women to report whether or not they had been diagnosed with COPD, says Michael Sims, MD, an assistant professor in the pulmonary critical care division at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. He points out that people with asthma may think they have COPD, or vice versa, since the symptoms are similar. In addition, early diagnoses can be inconclusive or due to lung problems that don’t turn out to be COPD.
In future studies, Dr. Sims says that the researchers should diagnose COPD using a breathing test called spirometry. “If you showed in a similar study with a gold standard outcome , among smokers and nonsmokers, that you could affect the incidence of COPD, I would imagine the committees that meet on this would take a serious look at increasing daily recommended intake for the general population,” he says.
Currently, no vitamin supplements are recommended to prevent or treat COPD. The best way to prevent the disease is to quit smoking, says Dr. Sims. About 24 million people in the U.S. have COPD—12 million who’ve been diagnosed with the disease and another 12 million who have COPD but don’t know they have it. In the study, women who smoked were four times more likely than nonsmokers to develop COPD.
The daily recommended intake of vitamin E is about 22 international units for those 14 and older, and is relatively easy to obtain from oils such as sunflower, almonds, peanut butter, and spinach.
The vitamin E intake in the study was far higher, at 300 IU per day. However, Blumberg says this is within the range of most over-the-counter vitamin supplements, which deliver 100 or 400 IU daily. “This study is still five times below the highest dose at which no adverse effect has been found,” he says.
Next page: Vitamin E riskier for those on blood thinners
Vitamin E intake is generally a concern only at very high doses, above 1500 IU per day. Several studies have suggested that these levels promote hemorrhaging and interfere with normal blood clotting. For this reason, high doses of vitamin E are not recommended for people taking blood-thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) and aspirin.
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For people concerned about their lung health, taking vitamin E and C is not a bad idea, says Blumberg. “If I were talking to somebody who was a former smoker and who was concerned about minimizing their risk of not only lung disease but also heart disease and cancer, then taking a supplement of C and E would be a reasonable thing to do,” he says. In fact, anyone who thought he or she was at increased risk of COPD could potentially benefit from these supplements, he adds.
Supplements of beta-carotene, which is a precursor of the antioxidant vitamin A, should be used with caution, however. While a 2006 French study found that people with diets high in beta-carotene had a slower decline in lung function over an eight-year period, heavy smokers and drinkers may not benefit. Two studies found that beta-carotene supplements increased the risk of lung cancer in people who smoked more than one pack a day and drank heavily.
According to Dr. Sims, the new study offers an incentive to look closer at the potential to use vitamin E or other antioxidants to help prevent COPD. “If it could be done with something like vitamin E, that’s a relatively low-risk intervention, that would be the Holy Grail.”
NAC is an antioxidant supplement that has shown promise in some studies but not in others.
“NAC is a robust treatment for COPD that reduces phlegm and cough, thins mucus, and eases expectoration,” says Mikolai. It’s said to decrease the deterioration of lung function. However, the evidence to support that claim is weak, according to a research review done in 2006 on how NAC affects COPD. That review said the design of the study in question did not allow for “firm conclusions.”
Meanwhile, a large, three-year research project known as the BRONCUS study found that NAC did not prevent decline in lung function.
The BRONCUS study also looked at NAC from another angle. Could the supplement, the authors asked, cut the number of COPD flare-ups people get in a given year?
The authors report that NAC did not prevent flare-ups, but additional analysis suggested that the rate of flare-ups might be less in people not taking an inhaled steroid.
Despite that limited positive result, Hatipoglu says, NAC was “almost buried for dead after that study.”
Still, he does often recommend NAC for its ability to loosen sputum, although its effectiveness hasn’t been fully established.
“If my patients say they are doing better on it, I keep them on it,” says Hatipoglu, who adds that NAC is quite safe. Though NAC is safe, it does contain sulfur, which gives it an odor “like rotten eggs,” he says. In the BRONCUS study, researchers reported no side effects from NAC use.
Duffy MacKay, ND, says that he found NAC, which can also be inhaled via a nebulizer, to be similarly effective in his practice.
“The constant buildup of mucus — that’s where NAC seems to be most active,” says MacKay, vice president for scientific and regulatory affairs at the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade group that represents the dietary supplement industry.
Best Supplements for COPD
Overall well-being is vital when you’re trying to limit the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). To many, then, the obvious question is: What role should vitamins and supplements for COPD play in your daily treatment plan?
More research needs to be done, but some evidence suggests that supplements can help improve lung function if you have COPD, says Tanya Edwards, MD, medical director for the Center for Integrative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
COPD is an inflammatory disease, and some vitamins and supplements are known to reduce inflammation, so that’s a good place to start, Dr. Edwards says.
Here are COPD supplements to discuss with your healthcare team.
Fish Oil for COPD Treatment
Tops on Dr. Edwards’ list is fish oil, and for good reason. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in the transfer of oxygen, can help reduce mucus production, and are known anti-inflammatory agents.
“Omega-3s are essential to the proper functioning of every single cell in our bodies,” she says, “but we’re all deficient in omega-3s.”
The role of omega-3s in reducing inflammation is equally important. “If you have inflammation, it’s going to impede breathing,” explains Amy Jamieson-Petonic, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD, director of wellness and coaching at Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
It’s best to get omega-3 fatty acids from foods if you can. Foods that contain omega-3s include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel; walnuts; and flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. You also can get fish oil in supplements.
The amount of fish oil you should consume varies from 1,000 milligrams (mg) to as much as 4,000 mg a day. Talk to your doctor about the right dosage for you and whether fish oil will affect other medications you may be taking.
Vitamins A, C, and E for COPD Treatment
Vitamins A, C, and E are known for their antioxidant properties. Breathing is among the body functions that produce substances called free radicals, which weaken healthy cells and make you more susceptible to infection and disease. Antioxidants protect against free radicals.
You can get vitamins A, C, and E in your diet, especially if you eat colorful fresh fruits and vegetables. You may need to add supplements, though, if you’re not getting enough. Talk to your doctor about whether you should take a multivitamin for your COPD or individual vitamin supplements, and in what doses.
Vitamin D for COPD Treatment
Vitamin D is also important when you have COPD, says Jamieson-Petonic. Many people with COPD are deficient in vitamin D, which can increase your chances of experiencing COPD exacerbations.
Another reason to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D is that COPD can increase your risk for developing osteoporosis, which leaves bones brittle and prone to fracture. If steroids are part of your COPD treatment, they too can increase your risk for osteoporosis. Vitamin D is integral to bone health, Edwards says.
Studies are unclear on the right amount of vitamin D needed when you have COPD. Talk to your doctor about dosing and what’s right for you.
Turmeric for COPD Treatment
Turmeric or its active component, curcumin, is also on Edwards’ list of vitamins and supplements for COPD because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric, a mainstay of Indian cuisine, is believed to block the production of nuclear-factor kappa B, (NFkB), which controls the production of inflammatory proteins. “Turmeric is second to fish oil in terms of anti-inflammatory effects,” Edwards says.
A study a few years ago in mice showed that curcumin inhibited inflammation of the airways common in COPD. More high-quality studies are needed, Edwards says, but turmeric shows promise.
NAC for COPD Treatment
NAC (N-acetylcysteine) is known to help clear mucus and has been looked at as a COPD supplement. It’s an antioxidant available as a prescription drug and a dietary supplement.
According to a review of studies on its use, one showed that taking 600 mg twice a day for two months lessened secretions and exacerbations, but overall results have been more mixed. Again, Edwards believes that more research is needed, but she adds that NAC may help by thinning mucus. NAC is more than an antioxidant; it also stimulates the body’s production of antioxidants.
Talk to your doctor about taking an N-acetylecysteine supplement, including what dose would be appropriate, to see if it’s effective for you.
Ginseng for COPD Treatment
Some nutritionists put the Chinese herb ginseng on their list of COPD supplements. Ginseng is believed to improve lung function. However, Edwards cautions against ginseng for people with COPD. “I don’t normally recommend ginseng because ginseng can cause high blood pressure, and many COPD patients already have elevated blood pressure.”
The Bottom Line on COPD Supplements
Discuss all vitamins and supplements for COPD with your health care providers before taking any. That way your health care team can anticipate any interactions with your medications.
Also keep in mind that it’s possible to overdose on some vitamins and supplements, and that very high levels can lead to cancer, kidney and tissue damage, and other health issues. Fish oil may reduce your risk for an ischemic stroke, which is the most common kind of stroke, but too much fish oil can increase your risk for hemorrhagic stroke, which can be deadly.
Once you get the go-ahead, divide your daily dosage between morning and night to fuel your body with a regular supply. That way you’ll get the most benefit from your COPD supplements.
Herbs and Supplements for COPD (Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema)
Several herbs and supplements have been used for centuries to alleviate symptoms similar to COPD, including the aromatic culinary herb, thyme (Thymus vulgaris), and ivy (Hedera helix). Other herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine include ginseng (Panax ginseng), curcumin (Curcuma longa), and red sage (Salvia miltiorrhiza). The supplement melatonin may also provide relief.
Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris)
This time-honored culinary and medicinal herb prized for its aromatic oils has a generous source of antioxidant compounds. A German study found that the unique mixture of essential oils in thyme improves the clearance of mucus from the airways in animals. It may also help airways relax, improving airflow into the lungs. Whether this translates to real relief from the inflammation and airway constriction of COPD remains less clear.
English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
This herbal remedy may offer relief from airway restriction and impaired lung function associated with COPD. While promising, rigorous research on its effects on COPD is lacking. Ivy can cause skin irritation in some people and ivy extract is not recommended for people with an allergy to the plant.
Read more: 5 Fast Facts About English Ivy “
Ginseng (Panax Ginseng)
A dated but well-controlled clinical study from 2002 concluded that treatment with this traditional Asian herb was superior to a placebo for the relief of COPD symptoms. People taking ginseng experienced significant improvements in breathing and the ability to perform exercise, compared to similar subjects who received an inactive treatment.
Another study examined the effects of a combination therapy, which included ginseng and other Asian traditional healing herbs, versus no treatment at all. In this Chinese study, subjects taking the ginseng-based herbal blend experienced significant improvements in all measures of lung function, compared to subjects who received no treatment.
Another study examined all existing evidence regarding ginseng for COPD. The authors concluded that compared to no treatment, or treatment with standard medications alone, ginseng offered some additional improvement in quality of life and lung function among patients with stable COPD.
Curcumin is commonly found in turmeric (Curcuma longa). Turmeric is a spice commonly used in curries. Long used in traditional Asian medicine, curcumin has been shown to reduce airway inflammation. A powerful antioxidant, curcumin may help fight the oxidative stress believed to underlie COPD, while blocking inflammation at the molecular level. Research is also being done into the possibilities of using curcumin in the treatment of cancer. Curcumin is believed to be safe and well-tolerated, even at high doses.
Researchers are actively investigating curcumin’s ability to prevent, reverse, or improve a wide range of ailments and conditions. So far, scientists have found that curcumin may have significant antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. What’s more, it may offer relief from arthritis and protection against Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists are also intrigued by curcumin’s potential ability to fight or prevent cancer.
Red Sage (Salvia Miltiorrhiza)
One study found that red sage is an effective antioxidant, protecting the linings of blood vessels from injury when oxygen is temporarily cut off and then resumed, as in the case of COPD exacerbations.
Primarily know as an aid for sleeping, this study shows that melatonin helps reduce oxidative stress in people with COPD, making it easier to breathe. Further research must be done for its long-term effects on COPD.
Fall Tea Recipe With Antioxidants
Fall is here. As we age, the changing season often comes with increased pain and inflammation. It seems unavoidable and managing it is a challenge. Homeopathic ways to relieve inflammation are worth a try. This turmeric tea recipe with ginger may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. If nothing else, it will warm you up and get you in the spirit of fall.
Two herbs touted for their therapeutic benefits are ginger and turmeric. Both of these naturally growing roots may have anti-inflammatory properties and many other benefits according to the Mayo Clinic. Incorporate ginger and turmeric into recipes, drinks, or even take them in a supplement form.
Turmeric is known for reducing chronic joint pain and has long been used as a treatment. Ginger has anti-nausea, digestive, and respiratory benefits in addition to its anti-inflammatory abilities. Please be careful when mixing ginger and turmeric with certain medications, such as blood thinners and anti-coagulants, as these spices have similar effects. Be sure to check with your doctor before trying any home remedy.
As the air cools, try this Ginger and Turmeric tea. This delicious and soothing tea can give relief and comfort as you sip.
GINGER TURMERIC TEA
8 oz boiling water
1 tsp. fresh turmeric root, grated (1/3 tsp. if using dried)
1 tsp. fresh ginger root, grated (1/3 tsp. if using dried)
1 tsp. coconut oil
Honey to taste, optional
Fresh lemon wedge, optional
Combine all ingredients.
Drink daily or as desired.
For more healthy tips and tricks, follow along on Pinterest.
Pulmonary Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
Best Natural Treatments for COPD
9 Dec 2017 | Under COPD, Lifestyle, Treatments | Posted by |
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When you’re living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you understand how challenging it can be to do your favorite activities, get enough nutrition and feel like yourself. Sometimes trying something different helps people improve. To help you get back to your favorite activities and to help you breathe easier, here are some of the best natural treatments for COPD.
For people with COPD, making sure you receive enough vitamins is vitally important. While it’s best to receive your nutrients from food, sometimes vitamin supplements may be needed. Here are some vitamins that people with COPD need to know about:
- Vitamin D—is fat-soluble and stored in your liver and fatty tissues. Naturally present in many foods, like salmon, mackerel, beef liver, egg yolks, yogurt, milk and cheese, it’s also available as a vitamin supplement. For people with COPD, vitamin D deficiency can be common. Your doctor can help you determine if you need more vitamin D, how much to take and for how long.
- Vitamin C—is a water-soluble vitamin. You can increase your intake of vitamin C by eating oranges and other citrus fruits, dark leafy green vegetables, broccoli, berries and tomatoes.
- Vitamin A—is another fat-soluble vitamin and is important for normal vision and a healthy immune system. Vitamin A can be found in salmon and other fatty fish, dairy products, fruits like mangoes and cantaloupe, carrots, squash, broccoli and green leafy vegetables.
- Vitamin E—is also fat-soluble and is naturally present in vegetable oils, cereals, meat, poultry, eggs, fruit and vegetables. Vitamin E can boost the immune system, is good for the blood vessels and helps protect against cell damage.
If you take certain medications or have certain conditions, your doctor may want you to avoid certain foods even though they contain good vitamins. While all of the above vitamins are available as supplements in local stores, it’s important to discuss taking supplements with your doctor before trying them.
Many vitamins, herbs and foods contain antioxidants. Antioxidants are naturally occurring or synthetic substances that help protect cells from free radicals, which are highly reactive compounds. Free radicals can damage cells, and antioxidants can prevent damage from them.
To put it simply, oxidants are capable of causing an interaction between oxygen molecules and other substances, which is known as oxidation. A peeled apple that turns brown is an example of oxidation.
Oxidation also happens in living tissues, including in the lungs. Oxidants from inside the body include free radicals released from your cells, and oxidants from outside your body include cigarette smoke and air pollution.
When the balance between oxidants and antioxidants shifts towards too many oxidants, oxidative stress occurs. In fact, oxidative stress has been linked to inflammation of the lungs’ airways. However, increasing your antioxidants may help reduce oxidative stress and promote better lung function.
Try antioxidant-rich food sources to help maintain a healthy diet and boost your nutrition naturally. Some great foods with antioxidants include:
- Kidney beans, red beans, pinto beans, black beans
- Red Delicious apples, Granny Smith apples, Gala apples
- Blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries
- Cooked Russet Potatoes
- Plums and black plums
- Artichoke hearts
- Olive Oil
- Green tea
Be sure to talk with your doctor about including these types of foods and antioxidants in your diet.
Certain herbal remedies can be great natural treatments for COPD. If you’re looking to supplement your COPD treatment plan, consider these herbal remedies:
- Eucalyptus—helps break up congestion and expel phlegm.
- Ginger—has many benefits, such as breaking down mucus, improving circulation to the lungs and reducing inflammation. Try boiling chopped, fresh ginger in water, straining out the ginger and drinking it with honey as a tea.
- Oregano—contains carvacrol and rosmarinic acid, which are natural decongestants and antihistamines. Try adding some fresh oregano to your meals for great flavor and health benefits.
- Peppermint—is an herb that contains menthol, which can promote the relaxation of the muscles in the respiratory tract.
- Ginseng—has been shown to give some people relief from COPD symptoms, including improvements in breathing and exercise tolerance.
- Turmeric—contains curcumin, which has the ability to improve a wide range of conditions and may have antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
- Melatonin—is typically known as a sleeping aid, but a study showed that melatonin helps reduce oxidative stress in people with COPD.
- Red Sage—has been found in certain studies to be an effective antioxidant and to help protect the lining of blood vessels from injury when oxygen is temporarily cut off and then resumed. For people who have low blood oxygen levels, red sage could offer some protection.
Remember to talk with your doctor about these herbal supplements and natural treatments for COPD before changing your COPD treatment plan.
Diet and Exercise
Many people with COPD experience difficulties with poor nutrition. In fact, while being overweight adds extra pressure to your lungs and body, many people with COPD are underweight. It takes more energy for people with COPD to breathe than people with normal lungs. Eating a healthy diet that is rich in a variety of foods can help you maintain a healthy weight.
While exercise is challenging for people with COPD, studies have shown that getting enough exercise helps people improve their exercise tolerance. It’s understandable to be concerned about exercising, especially when difficulty breathing occurs. However, not exercising can cause your muscles to lose their strength and make your overall health decline. Talk with your doctor about what kinds of exercise are right for you. Ask about gentle exercises like yoga, Tai Chi and walking.
Best Natural Treatments for COPD and You
While COPD is a chronic, progressive disease, meaning it will worsen over time, there are a variety of treatment options available. Traditional medications, such as inhalers, oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation, are typically on the front lines of treatments. Natural treatments for COPD offer people an alternative to traditional medications and can be used along with medications.
While traditional medication works to manage COPD symptoms, cellular therapy works to promote healing from within the lungs. With the potential to address disease progression and improve quality of life, many patients report feeling better, breathing easier and living a more active lifestyle after treatment. If you or a loved one has COPD or another chronic lung disease and would like to learn more about cellular therapy options, contact us at 888-745-6697.
The Best Vitamins and Supplements to Support the Lungs
6th Dec 2017
Every time we take a breath, which amounts to about six million times a year, our lungs are involved. Their most important function is to extract oxygen from the environment and transfer it to our bloodstream. No wonder the lungs are high on our list of health priorities, and why we should take care to keep them clean and healthy.
The lungs have no musculature of their own – when it comes to breathing, they depend on the muscles of the diaphragm (which is attached) as well as the intercostal muscles located between the ribs and the muscles of the abdomen and the neck, per medicalnewstoday.com. As the lungs expand, they suck in air, and when they compress, carbon dioxide is pushed back out as waste.
Lungs Are For More Than Just Breathing
Respiration is not the only function of the lungs, which are somewhat cone-shaped and located in the chest, right below the rib cage on either side of the heart. Here are some of their other roles, keeping in mind that lung disease is one of the leading causes of death in America, accounting for about one in every seven deaths, per livestrong.com:
- Regulate blood pressure.
- Maintain pH balance. The lungs can detect an increase of acidity in the body when caused by a rise in carbon dioxide levels, at which time the lungs boost their rate of ventilation to get rid of more of the unwanted gas.
- Filter blood. They can filter small blood clots and remove small air embolisms.
- Protect the heart. When some types of collisions to our bodies occur, the lungs can absorb some or all the shock that targets the heart.
- Infection protection. Some of the lungs’ membranes secrete a substance known as immunoglobulin A, which can prevent some lung infections.
- Blood reservoir. Per medicalnewstoday.com, the lungs have the capacity to deviate the amount of blood inside of them at any given moment, a characteristic that allows them to move more blood to the rest of the body in the event of a life-endangering hemorrhage.
- Our ability to speak. Without airflow, we would really be at a loss for words – literally.
Vitamins and Supplements for Healthy Lung Function
Numerous supplements and vitamins work well to benefit respiratory and lung health. Here are some of them, keeping in mind that a consultation with your physician is in order before you dive into any of these on your own:
- Vitamin D. Lower than normal blood levels of vitamin D have been linked to a greater risk of infections as well as conditions such as cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and interstitial lung disease, per livestrong.com.
- Vitamin E. But not just any vitamin E – you want it in the form of alpha-tocopherol, which is contained in sunflowers and olive oils, and is supposed to help improve lung function, per livestrong.com.
- Elecampane. Has been used for a long time by native Americans as a means to expel excess mucous that is obstructing lung function, per collective-evolution.com. It is viewed as a natural antibacterial agent benefitting the lungs by reducing the chances for infections such as bronchitis.
- Eucalyptus. A common ingredient found in cough syrups and lozenges, this compound native to Australia is better than shrimp on the barbie when it comes to promoting respiratory health and soothing irritated throats.
- Licorice root. A soothing herb that softens the mucous membranes of the throat, lungs, and stomach. It can reduce irritation in the throat, and it also works as an expectorant.
- Lungwort. It’s a type of plant said to resemble lung tissue and has been used in a manner conducive to lung and respiratory health, per globalhealingcenter.com.
- Oregano. Among the compounds it contains are carvacrol and rosmarinic acid, which are natural decongestants also known to be effective fighters against histamine, thus aiding in clearing up respiration and the nasal passages, per globalhealingcenter.com.
- Osha root. This is an herb that can be found in the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S. and has long been notable for its ability to support respiration. It also helps boost circulation in the lungs, which allows us to take deep breaths.
- Sage. Also known as salvia officinalis, its variety of oils possess aromatic properties that, as vapors, can treat some lung disorders and sinusitis.
- Thyme. Used often to prevent or treat respiratory tract infections and bacterial infection pneumonia, per collective-evolution.com.
* Statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. WonderLabs always recommends reviewing any nutritional supplement changes with your primary medical provider.
Research finds vitamin D is important for respiratory health
Credit: CC0 Public Domain
A new study carried out by The University of Western Australia, the Busselton Health Study and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital has found vitamin D deficiency can contribute to poor respiratory functioning and health in middle-aged adults.
While it is well known that vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis, the study suggests vitamin D may also play an important role in respiratory health through its effects on lung development and structure, respiratory muscle strength, inflammation and immune response to respiratory pathogens.
The researchers measured serum vitamin D levels, lung function and respiratory symptoms in more than 5000 baby boomers at the Busselton Healthy Ageing Study and found that low levels of vitamin D were associated with respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis, and respiratory symptoms common to these conditions including wheezing and chest tightness.
Importantly the investigators also found that low lung function (Forced Vital Capacity or FVC) was significantly related to low vitamin D levels. Conversely high levels of vitamin D were associated with better lung function suggesting it plays an important role in maintaining good respiratory health. The effect of vitamin D on respiratory health remained the same even when factoring in other aspects that contribute to vitamin D levels such as seasonal fluctuation, obesity and other chronic diseases.
The study found that the prevalence of serum vitamin D deficiency in the population was higher in women under the age of 55 and around 11 per cent of women and men were currently taking vitamin D supplements.
Lead investigator Dr. Siobhain Mulrennan said that with around 10 per cent of men and women currently identified as having low levels of vitamin D their findings paved the way for further studies to examine the effect of vitamin D on lung tissue.
“There is emerging evidence that increasing vitamin D levels either through lifestyle or supplementation can reduce asthma symptoms and severity among individuals with inadequate levels,” Dr. Mulrennan said.
Professor Alan James said the study used extensive data collected on the enthusiastic participants of the Busselton Health Study to add further evidence for the observed link between vitamin D and lung function and respiratory health.
“Data and DNA samples collected in the ongoing Busselton Healthy Ageing Study will allow further studies investigating the genetic factors that influence vitamin D levels and the relationship to lung function and common respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchitis,” he said.
Dr. Michael Hunter said opinion was still divided as to whether vitamin D deficiency contributes to lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and COPD or is in fact a result of existing disease or its treatment.
“A follow-up study of these same study participants is currently underway which will allow us to investigate longitudinally the effects of vitamin D levels and relationship to the development of respiratory illness and associated symptoms, as well as other health outcomes associated with ageing,” Dr. Hunter said.
Vitamin D protects against colds and flu, finds major global study More information: Siobhain Mulrennan et al. Vitamin D and respiratory health in the Busselton Healthy Ageing Study, Respirology (2018). DOI: 10.1111/resp.13239 Journal information: Respirology Provided by University of Western Australia Citation: Research finds vitamin D is important for respiratory health (2018, January 25) retrieved 2 February 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-01-vitamin-d-important-respiratory-health.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
What Vitamins May Help Repair the Lungs?
Many people are aware of the benefits proper levels of vitamins and minerals in the body may offer. However, people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other chronic lung diseases may benefit from vitamins to a greater degree than other people. In fact, our health care team at Lung Health Institute can tell you there are 2 vitamins that may help promote the repair of tissue in the lungs.
2 Vitamins That May Help Repair Lung Tissue
Ideally, the best treatment for chronic lung disease is to avoid its causes, especially smoking. However, smoking remains the number one cause of chronic lung conditions like COPD. The reason smoking is so likely to cause chronic lung disease is that it causes severe oxidative damage to the lungs. If you already have COPD or another chronic lung condition, though, there are 2 vitamins that may help promote the repair of lung tissue. The first is vitamin C.
Vitamin C’s Antioxidant Powers
Vitamin C is vital to many of your body’s processes, but there’s one trait it has that makes it potentially helpful for chronic lung disease patients: it’s an antioxidant. With many chronic lung conditions, lung damage and inflammation is caused by free radicals and toxins introduced by smoking and other sources.
Vitamin C has properties that allow it to fight back against free radicals and toxins, and it also helps your body flush out these potentially damaging molecules. By helping your body remove toxins and free radicals, vitamin C may lower lung tissue damage rates and give your body an opportunity to repair these tissues. It’s also water-soluble, which means it’s unlikely to build up to toxic levels in your body.
How Vitamin A Helps Your Body’s Cells
Vitamin A is a second vitamin that may be helpful for chronic lung disease patients. This vitamin is critical to the functioning of your immune system. It’s also a vital player in the ability of your cells to grow and differentiate, which means to become different types of cells as they grow. Thanks to these properties, getting enough vitamin A in your diet through foods or supplements may help your body initiate its natural repair process in the lungs.
While vitamin A can be helpful, it’s also fat-soluble, which means it can build up in your body and become toxic. Prolonged overdosing on vitamin A can even lead to liver and bone issues. Therefore, it’s critical that you speak to your doctor or dietitian before beginning a vitamin A supplement.
Emphysema is the result of long-term damage to the alveoli of the lungs, caused mainly by smoking. When the alveoli in the adult lung are destroyed, there is a loss of gas exchanging surface area, initially leading to mild breathlessness but in the end leaving patients struggling to breathe.
However Malcolm Maden and his colleagues from the MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology at King’s College London proposed that if the alveoli could be induced to regenerate then this disease could be cured.
For the study, published in the January issue of the European Respiratory Journal (vol 23, no 1), the researchers bred mice without alveoli. When these mice become adults they have the histological hallmarks of emphysema with greatly enlarged air spaces and a massive loss of gas exchanging surface area. When these mice were given retinoic acid, they found the number and size of alveoli returned to normal and their lung function was restored.
Retinoic acid is a very important component of developing embryos and is known to induce regeneration in other systems, such as the skin. The researchers believe that the molecule may trigger key genes into action, helping the alveoli to recover.
The work confirms data obtained recently in the USA using a different model system, said the researchers.
To keep our bodies ticking over nicely, lung health is critical. It is a cog in the wheel that makes our bodies work effectively. If you suffer oxygen deprivation then it can be serious to your health leading to serious respiratory illnesses and conditions including pneumonia, COPD and asthma. These illnesses attack the lungs causing breathing difficulty. A good way to keep your lungs healthy is by eating a healthy diet. A healthy diet is long term investment to a better lifestyle.
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Water is essential for healthy lungs. Dry lungs are prone to irritation. Each day you should try to drink between six and eight glasses.
Fish high in fat is an excellent choice of food for healthy lungs as they contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which are linked with lung health.
Apples are the food for adults who want healthy lungs. Apples are effective for adults who want to focus on lung health. A team from St George’s Hospital Medical School, London, studied the diets and lung function of more than 2,500 men aged 45-49. They found that good lung function was associated with high intakes of vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene, citrus fruits, apples, and fruit juices.
Apricots are associated with healthy lungs due to their vitamin A content. The Office of Dietary Supplements notes that vitamin A supports respiratory tract linings, and may lower the risk of lung infections.
Broccoli is a highly antioxidant green vegetable with NRF2-dependent characteristics. As a result, EduBook notes that it is one of the best greens for lung health, especially in individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.
Chicken, turkey, and other small poultry birds can benefit your lungs. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, these foods are high in lung health boosting vitamin A, and your body may absorb animal-based versions of vitamin A better than plant-based versions.
Walnuts are a vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating regular servings of walnuts — about one handful daily — may help fight asthma and other respiratory ailments according to the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition.”
According to the American Cancer Society, beans can support lung health. Kidney, pinto, black and other beans are good sources of antioxidants, which fight off free radicals that may damage lungs.
Berries are rich in antioxidants, which the American Cancer Society notes protects lungs. Acai and blueberry are two of the top sources, but cranberries, grapes, and strawberries are also good for the lungs.
What can you do outside of diet?
You can also help keep your lungs healthy by making them stronger and more resistant to fatigue, which in turn could potentially help them fight off infection.
If you have a respiratory condition, such as asthma or COPD, then you could benefit from using a breathing training device such as POWERbreathe to exercise your breathing muscles, improving their strength and stamina. Breathing training has seen improvements in asthma symptoms by up to 75%, improvement in laboured breathing by 36% & quality of life by 21%.
Everyone can benefit from stronger breathing muscles, not just people with breathing problems. Breathing training is being used in fitness workouts and sports to enable people to reach their peak levels. By improving breathing, you increase your endurance, which means you can exercise harder with the same effort.
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Natural Support for Respiratory Health
Nearly all of us take the act of breathing for granted. For most of us, it’s something that we don’t even notice. But for millions of adults and children, taking a deep breath of air is a struggle and always appreciated. With the rise of environmental toxins and other irritants in the air we breathe, it is easily understood that more and more people are dealing with poor lung and respiratory health.
An unhealthy respiratory system deprives the body of the most important nutrient of all – oxygen. Organs and tissues cannot function properly without adequate amounts of oxygen. Furthermore, a poorly functioning respiratory system puts people at risk for developing secondary health issues and increases the need for a strong, healthy immune system.
The respiratory system is a group of organs and tissues – not just the lungs. The main parts of the respiratory system are the airways, the lungs and linked blood vessels, and the muscles that enable breathing.
A combination of nutrients, botanicals, and essential oils can address the overall health of the main parts of the respiratory system and provide underlying support for the immune system.
HOW WE BREATHE
The lungs are located inside the rib cage. They are made of spongy, elastic tissue that stretches and constricts as we breathe. The trachea and the bronchi are the airways that bring air into the lungs; they are made of smooth muscle and cartilage, which allows the airways to constrict and expand. The lungs and airways bring in oxygen-enriched air and get rid of waste carbon dioxide made by the cells. When we inhale, the diaphragm and the intercostal muscles (muscles between the ribs) contract and expand the chest cavity, which allows air to flow in through the airways and inflate the lungs. When we exhale, the diaphragm and intercostal muscles relax and the chest cavity gets smaller, which forces air to flow from the lungs and out of the airways to the outside air.
As we breathe air in, it goes into the trachea and continues down through the larynx until it reaches the bronchi. From here, air passes into each lung. The air then follows the thousands of smaller, thinner branches called the bronchioles. These tubes end in bunches of tiny round air sacs called alveoli. Each of these air sacs is covered in a mesh of tiny blood vessels called capillaries. These capillaries facilitate the delivery of oxygen to the blood and the removal of carbon dioxide from the blood.
ANTIOXIDANTS AND OTHER NUTRIENTS
The lungs exist in an oxygen-rich environment, which requires balance between the toxicity of free radicals and the protective qualities of antioxidants. It is known that an increase in oxidative stress, caused by free radicals, can initiate dysfunction of the lungs. It is this process that makes cigarette smoking so dangerous for the respiratory system, because it creates an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. Antioxidants are the lungs’ first line of defense against free radicals.
Vitamin C is arguably the most important water soluble antioxidant found in the respiratory system. It is well-known that smokers and the children of smokers have far lower levels of vitamin C than non-smokers and the children of non-smokers. Cigarette smoke depletes the body of respiratory vitamin C. Vitamin C works in the respiratory system by protecting the airways against the effects of irritants like sulfur oxides from factories, pollen, cigarette smoke, and pathogens. These substances cause increased oxidative stress which can lead to a narrowing of the airways.
Vitamin B6 is another nutrient that is beneficial for those dealing with lung health issues. The body requires vitamin B6 for normal functioning of more than 60 different enzymes, some of which are directly involved in the respiratory system. Although extreme deficiencies of vitamin B6 may be rare, volumes of research demonstrate the importance of vitamin B6 in numerous health conditions. Clinical studies utilizing vitamin B6 supplementation show that it supports overall lung function and decreases the severity of wheezing and chest tightness even though no deficiency is apparent. For those people on conventional prescription medications, such as theophylline, to treat certain respiratory disorders, vitamin B6 supplementation is quite important. Theophylline depresses levels of the active form of vitamin B6 in the body.
Magnesium is a cofactor in over 300 biochemical processes in the body, and is critically important to the contraction/relaxation state of smooth muscle. Low magnesium enhances the contraction of smooth muscle tissue, while higher magnesium levels promote relaxation. Because the muscles of the respiratory system impact how the lungs expand, therefore, the capacity to trap air, it is important to provide these muscles with adequate amounts of magnesium. Studies show that dietary magnesium intake is directly related to lung function and the occurrence of airway hyperactivity and wheezing.
SUPPORTING HEALTHY LUNG FUNCTION
The lung tissues and the tubes within them need to remain elastic and spongy in order to work properly. The elasticity of the lungs, the bronchi and the bronchioles allows air to pass through easily and fully. A number of herbal supplements can provide specific support for the various components of the lungs beyond antioxidant protection, and quite a few of them stem from Ayurvedic medicine.
Adhatoda vasica is known as Vasaka in Ayurveda. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 2,000 years. This small evergreen shrub has a rich tradition of use to promote the health of the respiratory system. The active constituents of this herb are alkaloids, flavonoids and essential oils. Several studies, both in vitro and in vivo have been conducted on Adhatoda vasica. These studies demonstrate the plant’s ability to promote healthy bronchial muscle function; moreover, studies demonstrate that Adhatoda vasica also has anti-spasmodic activity in the lungs.
Tylophora indica (also called Tylophora asthmatica) is another Ayurvedic herb whose beneficial properties have been known since ancient times. The leaves, root powder and the root bark have been used traditionally for respiratory health. It has been the subject of many clinical investigations, to include double-blind, placebo controlled studies. The conclusions of these studies show that Tylophora indica also promotes normal function of the smooth muscle tissue in the respiratory system. Detailed lung function studies with Tylophora indica show that this plant produces significant benefits for lung function. These results were based on a number of lung function tests to include measurements of volume and air flow rate.
Phlegm, the mucosal secretions of the respiratory system, is a normal and required substance for healthy respiratory function. However, when the lungs are irritated, phlegm can accumulate and cause obstructions within the airways. This accumulation of phlegm provides an environment for bacterial growth. Certain herbs can promote healthy mucosal secretions and promote clear respiratory passages.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fritillaria thunbergii is a common ingredient found in phlegm-resolving formulas. It is believed to affect the lung meridians and is used to support healthy lung function. Research on Fritillaria thunbergii shows that the active compounds of the plant promote normal mucosal secretions in the lungs and healthy clearing of the respiratory passageways. Ginger root is another common ingredient found in the phlegm-resolving formulas of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It provides a warming quality to the body which benefits those dealing with what is referred to as cold phlegm. The ancient writings of Chinese medicine often combine warming and cooling herbs to gain the best benefits in resolving phlegm.
Mullein is a very beneficial herbal supplement for the respiratory system. It is an approved herb in the German Commission E monographs, which recognizes it for its positive effects on a wide range of respiratory issues. It has demulcent action in the lungs and promotes normal mucosal secretions. Furthermore, mullein supports the body’s clearing of phlegm from the lungs.
PROMOTING A HEALTHY INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE
Inflammation can cause serious issues for those dealing with lung health problems. Inflammation can deter the normal elastic qualities of the bronchial passageways and make breathing difficult. Thankfully, many herbs can help support a healthy inflammatory response in the body. The combination of ginger root, reishi mushroom, Adhatoda vasica and Tylphora indica provides powerful support for a normal inflammatory response by positively impacting numerous stages of the inflammation cascade and modulating the many different compounds that influence inflammation.
Ginger root is widely known for its positive impact on inflammation. The volatile oils of ginger root modulate the release of immune compounds, such as prostaglandins and enzymes that can cause inflammation. The polysaccharides found in reishi mushroom support a healthy histamine response. (The release of histamine and leukotrienes in the body promote inflammation of the airways.)
SUPPORTING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Immune sensitivities are known to cause airway obstruction in some people. While we want our immune systems to be strong, we don’t want them to overreact when our bodies come into contact with normally harmless compounds.
Reishi is a mushroom that has been used in the folk medicine of China and Japan for over 4,000 years. It has been known as the “mushroom of immortality” and the “ten-thousand-year mushroom” and is often listed in Chinese and Japanese medicinal texts as one of the most prized and respected herbs. Reishi has a strong tradition of use for its immune balancing and adaptogenic properties. Modern research has shown that reishi has several benefits in the immune system. As it pertains to respiratory health, reishi has the ability to modulate immune system function. In other words, it helps to balance and promote normal immune system function. Reishi essentially helps your body block an unwanted response to harmless compounds that, for some reason, the immune system has treated as harmful. These compounds can include dust, mold and other environmental irritants.
Reishi also helps the immune system in other regards. It promotes natural-killer cell activity in the body. These cells recognize pathogenic invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. It also promotes healthy production of white blood cells, particularly T-cells and macrophages. These particular benefits of reishi are important considering that many people suffering with poor lung health are susceptible to the consequences of a weak immune system.
Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils from plants for health purposes. Essential oils have been used for therapeutic purposes for nearly six thousand years; this practice was led by the ancient Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Although essential oils are not exclusively inhaled as the term “aromatherapy” implies, in the case of lung and respiratory health, inhaling the vapors of a blend of essential oils is the most effective way to positively affect this body system.
Essential oils of cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) and sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana) were highly valued as medicines by ancient civilizations. They both have antispasmodic activity in the respiratory system and also promote clear airways within the lungs. Both oils have antimicrobial activity.
Niaouli essential oil (Melaleuca viridiflora) comes from the leaves of a tree related to the more commonly known tea tree. Niaouli oil is an approved herb in the German Commission E Monographs and is approved for uses in the respiratory system. This essential oil resolves phlegm in the respiratory passages and promotes healthy inflammatory pathways within the lungs. Like its cousin, niaouli oil has antimicrobial activity.
Red mandarin (Citrus reticulata) essential oil has slight antispasmodic activity, but its primary benefits come from its ability to decrease excitability and nervous tension. Both of these issues can create a tightening of the muscles, thus, decreasing overall lung capacity. The act of inhaling the vapors of red mandarin can offset these problems.
The lungs and the respiratory system are a complex set of organs in the body. Because they are constantly bombarded by environmental toxins and everyday exposures, like dust, the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system need strong and comprehensive nutritional support. Providing a blend of vitamins, minerals, herb and using complimentary aromatherapy ensures that respiratory health and underlying body systems are fully supported.
By Stacey Littlefield, Chief Formulator