Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, often referred to as just COPD, is a term used to describe progressive lung disease. This chronic inflammatory lung disease includes chronic bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, and certain forms of bronchiectasis.
COPD is increasingly common, currently affecting over 30 million Americans. In 2014 alone, it was pronounced to be the third leading cause of death among American citizens. Some of the most common symptoms include wheezing, tightness in the chest, frequent coughing, and breathlessness, all of which may aggravate over time and make it hard to breathe.
Causes of COPD
Individuals over 40 years and those with a history of smoking are the most susceptible to this disease. In other words, both current and former smokers are likely to develop COPD. Statistics show that up to 90 percent of people who develop COPD have smoked at a certain point in their lives.
Genetic factors can largely contribute to the development of this disease. The most common genetic risk factor for emphysema is called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Also known as AATD, it is caused by deficiency of this protein, which is needed to protect against lung deterioration.
3. Environmental Factors
Those who have been exposed to detrimental pollutants in the workplace are also at an increased risk of COPD. Detrimental lung irritants include fumes, dust, and chemicals. In addition, second-hand smoke and other household lung irritants can also contribute to COPD.
These days, there are various advanced treatments, over-the-counter, and prescription drugs available. Not long ago, a research done on COPD has shown that there is a more natural way to address the issue. Dr. Gloria De Carlo Massaro teamed with Dr. Donald Massaro to conduct a research at Georgetown University School of Medicine. For the aim of the study, they used ATRA, a derivative of vitamin A, which proved to be effective in reversing emphysema in rats.
Approximately 12 days from the beginning of the treatment, Dr. Donald Massaro noted, “It appeared that the treatment regenerated the adult rat’s ability to produce alveoli, the small air sacs where oxygen and carbon dioxide move between the lungs and the bloodstream.”
Cigarette smoke leads to a depletion of vitamin A, due to benzopyrene, a carcinogen found in cigarettes. Unfortunately, the production of alveoli is often diminished during childhood.
The good news is that vitamin A and beta-carotene can really help treat COPD. Even better, these compounds are found in many natural sources. Beta-carotene, the compound that gives fruits and veggies their vibrant color, is converted into vitamin A when ingested and processed by the body. Hence, the best way to boost beta-carotene levels in the body is to eat well-balanced and healthy diet.
Top 10 Foods Rich in Beta-Carotene
- Sweet potato
- Winter squash
- Roman lettuce
- Sweet red peppers
- Dried apricots
Natural COPD Treatment
This particular research shows that COPD sufferers may use a natural approach to regenerate their damaged lung tissue. The lies in beta-carotene, a plant compound that turns into vitamin A and helps stimulate body`s ability to produce alveoli. As recommended by Linus Pauling Institute, the best would be to combine beta-carotene containing foods with healthy fats in order to increase its bioavailability. You can either juice the fresh fruits and veggies that are high in beta-carotene or chop, puree and cook them in oil.