COPD Prevention and Care

COPD vitamins and supplements

Prevent lung damage and slow down the progression of COPD with vitamins and supplements.

COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a preventable spectrum of lung diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Difficulty breathing, wheezing, respiratory infections, excessive mucus, low oxygen levels, and chronic coughing are the hallmarks of the disease. COPD is almost always caused by cigarette smoking, which currently accounts for 80-90% of all cases. Patients with COPD experience a decline in lung function over time, often have other conditions that go along with COPD (such as cardiovascular disease and depression), and are at an increased risk for disability and premature death. COPD is incurable, progressive, and debilitating. It is now the third leading cause of death in the United States, affecting over 30 million Americans last year.

COPD is preventable in most cases. Non-smokers have barely any risk of developing COPD, unless they are exposed to a lot of second-hand smoke, air pollution, or are genetically predisposed for such lung conditions. New studies show that even heavy smokers can reduce their risk of developing COPD with a healthy diet. In fact, researchers found that a healthy diet had a protective effect on the lungs, reducing the risk of becoming a newly diagnosed patient of COPD by one-third. They do point out that efforts to prevent COPD should be focused on smoking cessation, but believe that a healthy diet is also an important part of preventing the disease.

The reason that a healthy diet has such a dramatic protective effect on the lungs is simple. The lungs function in an oxygen-rich environment. Our cells use oxygen, converting about 98% of it into water. The other 2% is released as free radicals, or waste products of cellular respiration, such as peroxides and hydroxides. These substances are used to produce inflammation, kill bacteria, and detoxify toxins in the body. This is all well and good, however, the body is always producing free radicals, especially if we are under stress, if we have allergies, if we are fighting off infection or disease, if we eat chemicals or processed food, and especially if we are inhaling thousands of chemicals through cigarette smoking. This quickly leads to chronic oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress causes alveoli in the lungs and airways to deteriorate. When free radicals are too abundant, they do not help the body, but they attack healthy cell membranes, lipids, and DNA. Eating a diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and a low intake of red or processed meats, refined grains, sugar, and alcohol has an antioxidant protective effect on the lungs. Antioxidants mop up excess free radicals and immediately reduce the damage that they are doing. In particular, protective proteins are allowed to do their jobs when not under attack by free radicals. This reduces inflammation and allows damaged tissues to heal.

Normally, human cells regenerate some antioxidants, such as vitamin E. However, smokers and people with high oxidative stress levels cannot do this and must get all of their antioxidants through diet or vitamins and supplements. Smokers require approximately 50% more vitamin C per day than a healthy adult just to stay alive. COPD, oxidative stress, tissue damage, cardiovascular conditions, and other smoking related toxicities and diseases increase these requirements to even higher levels. If you have COPD or if you are at risk of developing it, work closely with your lung care professional and dietitian to do what you can to slow down the progression, improve your quality of life, and reduce your chances of meeting an early demise.

About the Author: Stacy A. Pessoney is Wholesale Nutrition’s Chief Editor and Communications Research Director. She has a strong interest in helping people achieve greater brain and body health with the help of vitamins and supplements, with an emphasis on vitamin C powder in the form of buffered vitamin C. Wholesale Nutrition has provided the world with the best vitamin C and wholesale vitamins since 1970. Visit http://www.nutri.com to buy high-quality discount vitamins today!

Sources:

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/

http://www.pharmafield.co.uk/features/2003/05/the-balancing-of-oxidants-and-antioxidants

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288856.php

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