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Pulmonary Support: A Natural Approach

Longevity By Nature

The average person takes 15 to 20 breaths per minute (more than 20,000 breaths daily), according to the American Lung Association, and the lungs trans- fer the oxygen taken with each breath through the bloodstream to every cell in the body. Consequently, anything that the body breathes in can affect the lungs. Shannon Jenkins, DO, of Idaho-based Neonatal Associates, noted that smoking, pollution and other carcinogens, infections and genet- ics are among the common causes of pul- monary issues.

According to a 2011 National Health Interview Survey sample, 25.9 million Americans suffer from asthma and another12. 7 million adults have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In addition, research has indicated that COPD is underdiagnosed and that up to 24 million Americans have evidence of impaired lung function. It is estimated that 9. 9 million Americans have been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis, while another 4.3 million have emphysema. And according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, lung diseases (excluding lung can Cer) caused an estimated 235,000 deaths in 2010, making it the third leading cause of death in the United States.

“Mortality rate caused by COPD has almost doubled in the last 30 years,” explained Jay Levy, director of sales for California-based Wakunaga of America Co., Ltd. “The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) also says that the number of people diagnosed with asthma grew by 4.3 million between 2001 and 2009, when one in 12 Americans were told they had the lung disease. The proportion of people of all ages with asthma in the U.S. increased from 7.3 percent (20.3 million people) in 2001 to 8.2 percent (24.6 million people) in 2009.”

While pulmonary issues such as asthma can affect children, the market for pul- monary health products is mostly directed toward the aging population. “Baby Boomers, now in their 60s, are experiencing the cumu- lative effects of the toxic environment, the lack of exercise and a nutrient-depleted diet,” explained Jack Tips, ND, PhD, CCN, Chom. “While pulmonary disease is also affecting younger generations, the Boomers comprise the largest percentage of people affected.”

“Pulmonary health is still in the top 20 health concerns and continues to increase With the aging population,” added Dr. Shayne Morris, acting COO of Systemic Formulas in Utah. “Supplements designed to support pulmonary health show consistent needs throughout the industry, especially in the area of COPD concerns.”

Unfortunately, many Americans are not taking preventative measures, which may cause additional health problems in the long run. According to Dr. Tips, pulmonary dis- ease is closely associated with heart and car- diovascular issues, which comprise the lead- ing cause of death from disease in the U.S. “This is a huge market,” said Dr. Jenkins. “Most people don’t go to get treated until the late stages of the disease. The fastest growing sector is in preventative medicine. Prevention is key.”

An Alternative Approach 

Traditional approaches to pulmonary issues typically include medications that may cause side effects, which may negatively impact the body and its functions. “Conventional treat- ment often includes antibiotics and steroid drugs. Both of these options are less than optimal,” explained Levy. “Frequent use of antibiotics can lead to resistance, which can make future treatment challenging. Steroids come with a host of side effects, including weight gain; thrush; an increased risk of osteoporosis, cataracts and glaucoma; and mood changes.”

In addition to the negative side effects that prescription medications such as steroids and antibiotics may have, the cost of such medications can be more than the average budget allows. This may be the motivation for many to seek a more natural course of treatment. Making lifestyle changes is at the top of the list for many natural practitioners, including avoiding irritants such as smoke, dust and mold, making the appropriate dietary changes and adding an adequate amount of exercise.

“Examine the causative factors and take remedial action. Fundamental to this is a diet that includes adequate organic raw veg- etables, grass-fed meat, herbs and spices that have not been irradiated, and fresh essential fatty acids,” said Dr. Tips, adding that exer- cise is a predisposing factor. “Stress is a lead- ing cause of disease because stress is inflam- matory. Thus reducing stress is essential. Supplementing to support whole body health and specifically to counter the toxic environment adds vital molecules for the body’s innate directives.”


Lifestyle changes are important steps to improving pulmonary health, and adding the appropriate supplements can help sup- port the basic tissue and cellular nutrition that are often lacking in the standard American diet, said Dr. Tips. “Our research continues to show that synergistically for- mulated herbal products have a positive effect in providing wellness for health issues relating to the immune system, organ func- tions, digestion and overall well-being.”

According to Wakunaga’s Levy, because there are a number of different types of lung disease, it is difficult to create a one-size-fits- all supplement regime. “However, some that may be helpful include a high-quality fish oil because of its anti-inflammatory properties, vitamins C and E for the ability to improve airflow and protect mast cells in the lungs, and aged garlic extract for its ability to increase glutathione production, modulate immunity and reduce airway inflammation,” he said.

Vitamin D & Omega-3: According to the American Thoracic Society, higher levels of vitamin D may improve muscle strength, quality of life and slow progression of COPD. In fact, in a 2011 study published in the journal Respiratory Research, researchers found that vitamin D helps modulate immune and inflammatory responses. Low levels of the vitamin have been associated with decreased lung function and may increase the likelihood of inflammatory lung diseases like asthma and COPD. Kyolic Vitamin D3 from Wakunaga is a synergistic combination of aged garlic extract, made from organic raw garlic, along with the most bioavailable form of naturally sourced vita- min D-D3 (cholecalciferol).

Omega-3 fatty acids also help fight inflam- mation in the body. Levy noted that a high- quality fish oil supplement that contains both DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) can help dilate the bronchial tubes. Kyolic Omega-3 combines aged garlic extract with natural concentrated, molecular-distilled fish oil containing one of the richest and purest sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA).

Antioxidants: Antioxidants such as resveratrol and vitamin A can help defend the lungs against free radical damage. A key ingredient in red wine, resveratrol is known for its positive effects on heart health.

But research is showing that it may also help reverse the damage and inflammation caused by smoking. According to a 2001 study published in the journal Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, researchers found that resveratrol significantly reduced inflammation and promoted healing when applied to lung cells in test tubes.

ROX – Super Antioxidant With Resveratrol from Systemic Formulas supports health and longevity, utilizing nature’s most potent and pow- erful antioxidant ingredients, according to the company. It contains molecular signals that have been shown to build, stabilize and protect normal cellular function.

Dr. Jenkins also noted that vitamin A can be beneficial for pulmonary issues. An antioxidant that helps regulate the immune system, vitamin A, particularly retinoic acid, may be an effective treatment for some of the symptoms of COPD, according to research studies. For instance, a study con- ducted by researchers from Firat University in Turkey published in 2004 in the journal Clinical and Investigative Medicine found that people with COPD had lower than normal levels of vitamin A. Researchers hypothesized that vita- min A supplementation might help prevent and treat the disease. “Vitamin A is essential in the repair of pulmonary tissue,” said Dr. Jenkins. “It is one of the most impor- tant natural substances in lung repair and can act as an antioxidant. It helps prevent damage while it also helps in pulmonary cell regrowth.”


Practitioners can be a guiding light in helping their patients improve lung function by developing a program of lifestyle changes and dietary supplementation. However, it is crucial that they explain why these changes are being implemented and how they can positively impact the patient’s life. 

Systemic Formulas offers training pro- grams including seminars, webcasts and printed materials for practitioners to help educate their patients. Wakunaga also strongly believes in educating both practi- tioners and consumers about the many health benefits provided by its aged garlic extract and other products, said Levy. “We are happy to share studies, as well as other key information whenever possible.” 

“Teach the basic fundamentals of health and lead the way towards healthy lifestyles,” concluded Dr. Tips. “Provide high-quality supplements and practice preventative thera- peutics. Keep the truth alive that is proven by results.”

Allergic Disease Worsens COPD Symptoms & Exacerbations

Patients with chronic obstructive pul- monary disease (COPD) who also have allergic disease have higher levels of respiratory symptoms and are at higher risk for COPD exacerbations, according to a new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. The findings were published online ahead of print publication in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 

“Although allergic sensitization and allergen exposure are known to be associ- ated with impairments in lung function, the effects of allergic disease on respirato- ry symptoms in COPD patients has only recently been studied,” said researcher Nadia N. Hansel, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins Asthma & Allergy Center. 

In the National Health and Nutrition Survey III (NHANES III) cohort, 296 COPD patients had an allergic pheno- type, which was defined as self-reported, doctor-diagnosed hay fever or allergic upper respiratory symptoms. These patients were significantly more likely to wheeze, have chronic cough and chronic phlegm, and had a significantly increased risk of experiencing a COPD exacerba- tion that required an acute visit to the doctor. 

In the second cohort of 77 COPD patients, the 23 patients with allergic sen- sitization (determined by immunoglobu- lin E testing) were significantly more like- ly to wheeze, to experience nighttime awakening due to cough and to have COPD exacerbations requiring antibiotic treatment or an acute visit to the doctor. 

“Our findings in two independent pop- ulations that allergic disease is associated with greater severity of COPD suggest that treatment of active allergic disease or avoidance of allergy triggers may help improve respiratory symptoms in these patients, although causality could not be determined in our cross-sectional study,” said Dr. Hansel. 

There were a few limitations to the study, including possible misclassification of COPD in some NHANES patients and the use of self-reported respiratory symp- toms and COPD exacerbations. 

For more information, visit www.thoracic.org.

¦ According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, lung dis- eases (excluding lung cancer) caused an estimated 235,000 deaths in 2010, making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S. 

¦ The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of people diagnosed with asthma grew by 4.3 million between 2001 and 2009. 

¦ A study conducted by researchers from Firat University in Turkey pub- lished in 2004 in the journal Clinical and Investigative Medicine found that people with COPD had lower than normal levels of vitamin A. 

¦ According to a 2001 study published in the journal Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, researchers found that resveratrol significantly reduced inflammation and promoted healing when applied to lung cells in test tubes.


¦ American Lung Association, www.lung.org 

¦ American Thoracic Society, www.thoracic.org 

¦ National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, www.nhlbi.nih.gov 

¦ Systemic Formulas, (800) 445-4647; www.systemicformulas.com 

¦ Wakunaga of America Co., Ltd., (800) 421-2998, (949) 855-2776; www.kyolic.com