COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is an umbrella term that is used to describe progressive lung disease. Diseases under COPD include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma and some forms of bronchiectasis.
COPD affects an estimated 30 million people in the United States. It gets progresively worse over time, adversly affecting breathing. Symptoms include increased breathlessness, wheezing, tightness in the chest and frequent coughing. In 2014, COPD was the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
What Causes COPD?
COPD most often occurs in people 40 or over who have a history of smoking. This includes current and former smokers. About 90% of individuals who develop COPD have smoked at some point.
2. Genetic Factors
COPD can develop based on purely genetic factors. Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency is the most commonly known genetic risk factor for emphysema. AATD releated COPD is caused by a deficiency of this protein in the bloodstream. Without this protein, white blood cells harm the lungs, and lung deterioration occurs.
3. Environmental Factors
People who have had long-term contact with harmful pollutants in the workplace can develop COPD. Harmful lung irritants include chemicals, dust and fumes. Heavy or long-term contact with secondhand smoke or other lung irritants in the home can also cause COPD.
Studies Reveal Lung Tissue Can Be Regenerated
Treatment for COPD can include medications, bronchodilators, inhaled or oral steroids, oxygen therapy and more. But recent research suggests there may be more natural way to help treat COPD. Dr. Gloria De Carlo Mssaro and Dr. Donald Massaro performed research at Georgetown University School of Medicine. They used a derivative of Vitamin A – ATRA – and they were able to successfully reverse emphysema in rats.
After 12 days of daily ATRA injections, Dr. Donald Massaro said, “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.”
Dr. Massaro explained that the production of alveoli usually ends in childhood. This also explains why smoking is the primary cause of emphysema. Cigarette smoke causes a depletion of Vitamin A, thanks to a common carcinogen found in cigarettes called benzopyrene.
Beta-Carotene And Vitamin A
Beta-carotene is a pigment found in plants that helps produce the vivid colors of certain fruits and vegetables. Inside the body, it’s converted into Vitamin A. The best way to increase Vitamin A and Beta Carotene levels is through natural food sources in your diet.
The top ten foods that are highest in beta carotene are:
- Sweet potato
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Romaine lettuce
- Sweet red peppers
- Dried apricots
This research shows that those who suffer from COPD may have a natural way to help regenerate their damaged lung tissue. The Linus Pauling Institute recommends increasing the bio availability of carotene rich foods by eating them with healthy fats. You can chop, puree or cook them in oil at meal times. Juicing organic, fresh fruits and vegetables that are high in beta-carotene is also a great way to increase your intake.