Volume IV, No. 8 By Frank M. Jordan
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – COPD
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COPD – What is It?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a group of Respiratory System ailments including Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema in which there is insufficient flow of air into and out of the lungs.
Shortness of breath that becomes worse over time, obstruction of air passages in some and production of thick mucous in the respiratory tract and coughing are symptoms experienced by most with COPD. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease affects an estimated 11% of the population of the western world. The most common cause of COPD is tobacco smoking.
Treatment is most often with smoking abstinence, corticosteroids, antibiotics and oxygen supplementation, but natural and nutritional aids can be immensely beneficial used appropriately with health professional awareness.
More than 20 million people (1 in 15) in the United States have Asthma, responsible for 500,000+ hospital stays each year. People with Asthma can be of any race, age or sex, with treatment costs of billions of dollars each year.
Asthma is a disease in which an adult’s or child’s airways become blocked or narrowed while inflamed. Shortness of breath, spasms of the bronchial tubes, wheezing, coughing, rapid breathing and chest tightness occur, usually temporarily in time but an eternity to the Asthma sufferer. Shortness of breath is caused by excessive excretion of a viscous mucous in the lungs and reduced air passage size.
Allergic Asthma is the most common and occurs after inhaling an allergen such as dust, molds, pollen or animal dander. The harmless allergen is attacked mistakenly by immune cells as a dangerous pathogen, such as fungi, bacteria and viruses, triggering the release of histamines from mast cells into the airways, with the accompanying allergic reactions.
An immune system operating normally properly attacks only pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi that endanger our health and invade our bodies every second of every day.
Certain white immune cells called phagocytes, monocytes and macrophages, when responding properly, are able to engulf and dispose of the pathogen antigens which are unique protein identifiers similar to name tags present on every microorganism, including allergens that cause allergies and allergy-related COPD.
Macrophages are the “Pac Men” of your immune system that act as vacuum cleaners for the millions of “things” that enter your body constantly that did not originate in the body i.e. non-self. Most non-self is harmless; pathogens are not and must be killed and removed quickly from the body before causing health problems.
With allergies, the immune system is demonstrating impaired vision; often unable to clearly distinguish the good guys from the bad guys. This mistaken identity of harmless allergens as dangerous pathogens causes the immune cells to attack, releasing histamines that cause Asthma symptoms.
Described another way, if the alarm is sounded to attack a good guy mistakenly identified as a bad guy, you have an allergic reaction that often includes Asthma, or at times Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema. The best way to conquer allergies is to never get allergies. A sound logic, but how is it possible? The key is to boost your immune response to enable better recognition of what is truly harmful versus that which is not, and to respond only to the harmful. Modulate or calm down the immune cells, primarily macrophages, to properly respond.
Science has demonstrated micronized MG Beta glucan, a biological response modifier (BRM), nutritionally potentiates and modulates your immune cells orally to aid in enhancement of recognition or redirection from mistaken to proper identity and then sounds the false alarm alert to bring the fire trucks of the immune system home where there is only smoke and no fire! No mistaken response results in allergy control through avoiding an allergic reaction. The key is to address the cause, not the symptoms as is the case with pharmaceutical drugs.
Allergy Asthma is, at minimum, partially reversible with medication, nutrition, oral nutritional supplementation and environmental aids such as air purification. The challenge is to determine the allergens causing the Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis or Emphysema that are triggering an erroneous immune cell response (autoimmune) and then to control and hopefully diminish the symptoms caused most often by histamine release from mast cells.
Intrinsic (inherited) Asthma is triggered by inhaling irritants such as dust particles, smoke, weather changes, exercise, laughing, coughing, stress, fungi or viruses.
People with all Asthma forms have inflamed airways due to excessive mucous which causes the bronchi, the airway branches leading to the lungs, to become overly reactive and more sensitive to Asthma triggers. Second, the lungs have difficulty moving air in and out, called airflow obstruction. Together, these symptoms cause the coughing, wheezing, tight chest, extreme fatigue and even extreme oxygen deprivation that can cause death. If an Asthma or other COPD episode is severe, a person may need emergency treatment to restore normal breathing. Asthma, Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis are serious health risks that can cause death – Act, don’t wait!
Chronic Bronchitis is defined as a persistent cough and excessive mucous production for at minimum three months for two or more consecutive years; often accompanied by pain in the chest or back and shortness of breath.
If the bronchial tubes have been inflamed for an extensive period of time, excessive mucous is produced constantly with the mucous membranes of the bronchial tubes thickening, causing a constant cough to develop; usually worse in the mornings and in cold, damp weather.
Chronic Bronchitis affects approximately 5% of the population in western nations and is ranked 7th in chronic ailments in western nations. Occurrence is more frequent in men than women and more common, but not limited to persons over 45 in age.
Chronic Bronchitis is most commonly caused by tobacco smoking but also by air pollution, toxins, allergens and microorganisms.
Hemoptysis, or spitting of blood derived from bleeding in the lungs or bronchial tubes, and pleurisy are often caused by Chronic Bronchitis. Emphysema is often preceded or accompanied by Chronic Bronchitis.
Emphysema is an ailment of the lungs characterized by cross-linking, over-distention and destruction of the lungs’ Alveoli or small air sacs. Increased risk of congestive heart failure and lung cancer occur with Emphysema, the fourth leading cause of death in Western nations.
Emphysema is caused by long-term damage and enlargement of the Alveoli of the lungs by free radicals and reduces the elasticity of the lungs. Smoking of tobacco causes Emphysema due to hydrocarbons and is the most common cause in approximately 80% of Emphysema cases. Tobacco smoke inactivates Alpha-1 Antitrypsin enzyme that helps protect the lungs and, according to Paul Fairman, MD as a Pulmonary Medicine specialist, can accelerate emphysema onset by as much as ten years.
Emphysema patients suffer from increasingly impaired breathing ability manifested as a feeling of being out of breath during routine physical activity and frequent coughing that becomes a chronic hacking condition. Most Emphysema patients have already lost 50% to 70% of their functional lung tissue before becoming aware Emphysema is present.
Emphysema causes the Alveoli of the lungs to become dilated, causing damage and dissolution that then causes the air spaces within the lungs to continually become larger. Carbon dioxide and oxygen exchange are reduced because of the smaller and smaller functioning area of the Alveoli of the lungs causing constant coughing and shortness of breath.
Natural and Nutritional Aids for COPD
Oral dietary supplements, herbs, minerals, vitamins and other aids often offer help to promote wellness from COPD nutritionally and naturally. Check with your physician before taking any of the below:
- N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) – an amino acid with 1,800 mg per day suggested to help break down the excessive thick mucous produced in COPD sufferers.
- Glutathione Peroxidase is an endogenous (made by the body and enhanced by supplements) antioxidant enzyme.
- Carnitine of 2,000 mg per day -an amino acid beneficial particularly in Emphysema to increase exercise capacity.
- Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO) has been reported by Medical Practitioners to improve Emphysema patients, including breathing.
- Cysteine breaks down mucous while enhancing the function of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin destroyed or inactivated in the development of Emphysema and by suppressing the harmful bacteria in the bronchial tract in Bronchitis .
- Bromelain significantly reduces the volume of mucous produced in Chronic Bronchitis. A Proteolytic enzyme combination product is beneficial also for inflammation sometimes present in Asthma and Chronic Bronchitis.
- Fish Oils containing Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) content.
- Unsaturated Fatty Acids with DHA and EPA
- MG Beta glucan of 40 mg/d for 30 days – 20 mg for 30 days and 10mg/d afterward. Oral intake of MG Glucan nutritionally modulates and helps normalize the immune cells making an error in attacking allergens creating allergic reactions, plus removing cellular debris. MG Glucan is additionally a potent antioxidant with properties beneficial in COPD.
- Garlic due to the expectorant properties of its Alliin component is beneficial in alleviating Chronic Bronchitis/COPD symptoms, including coughing for many.
- Quercetin – 100-200 mg/d increases strength of mast cell membranes; preventing bursting and release of histamine that causes many negative allergic reactions, including allergic Asthma.
- Vitamin A preferably in Retinoic Acid form – 8,000 iu per day suggested. An important vitamin for respiratory mucous membranes to reduce air pathway blockage and for some the reversing of damage to the Alveoli of the lungs. Increases the elasticity of the lungs.
- Vitamin C with 1-3,000 mg per in divided doses under physician supervision is often an effective antioxidant protecting lung tissue and increasing air flow. Also when used in conjunction with Cysteine, enhances the function of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin to aid in Emphysema.
- Astragalus of 60-100 mg per day is an herb effective for lung weakness and immune response enhancement.
- B vitamins including Pantothenic acid (B5) is a building block of cortisone, a basic defense mechanism for allergies and Asthma. Vitamin B12 is beneficial for the immune system and energy generation.
- Zinc of 4-5 mg is an essential mineral in allergy relief.
- Magnesium of 600-800 mg per day is a mineral that helps relax muscles to enhance breathing ability and an anti-inflammatory.
- Oregano Oil consumed orally, preferably by drops placed under the tongue, are nutritionally beneficial for Bronchitis.
- Wild Cherry Bark nutritionally promotes repair of irritated mucosal surfaces, to help suppress coughing.
- Grape Seed Extract of 30 mg per day. Antioxidant that reduces histamine production.
- Hydrastus Canadensis is a Herb to reduce mucous membrane lung inflammation.
- Avoid sugar, caffeine, refined carbs.
- Tea Tree Oil inhaled in vapors can aid.
- Probiotic to replace good bacteria killed by antibiotics if taken.
- Test for food allergies.
- Supplemental oxygen
- Add green plants and a good air filtration system to your home and office area.
- Avoid and resolve both emotional and physical stress to the extent possible.
- Get adequate rest with moderate exercise as able.
- Seek professional medical aid and advice immediately if symptoms of COPD occur.
For detailed research sources go to www.betaglucan.org, a non-commercial website dedicated to beta glucan research and information.
About the Author:
Frank Jordan has a post-graduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and is a co-patent holder on U.S. patents issued or in application related to the immune response in conjunction with researchers at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Dept. of Microbiology. Frank Jordan’s most recent book is “Frankly Speaking, Vol 1” which reviews 50 different common medical conditions with thoughts and suggestions. Jordan also hosted the Healthy, Wealthy and Wise national radio show heard in all 48 continental U.S. states weekdays. Learn more about Frank Jordan on the web at www.frankjordan.com .
Reprinted with permission from Immunition Reports.
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