Q. Dear Terry, “My husband was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis several years back. He does have issues with his heart as well, but it seems that the pulmonary fibrosis has come to the forefront now. He is consistently short of breath. What would you recommend to help his lungs and breathing?” – Judy A., Davenport, FL
A. Dear Judy, I highly encourage your husband to keep his healthcare team in the loop with any supplementation he is considering. With that being said, I think there are some natural options that can help with lung function.
My favorite botanical for supporting the lungs is boswellia. Boswellia works on a specific inflammatory pathway in the body called 5-LOX, which has a major role in lung conditions and diseases. When there is excessive inflammation in the lungs, scar tissue can build up and make the lungs less able to expand and fill with oxygen. Boswellia is able to open the airways, reduce bronchial and sinus swelling, which can all make breathing easier. When choosing a boswellia, I believe an extract standardized for AKBA content (acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid) is essential. This is one of boswellia’s most powerful components, which is why it is so often the focus of research. However, a compound called beta-boswellic acid is pro-inflammatory. Therefore, the boswellia extract I recommend is standardized to high levels of AKBA and virtually free of BBA.
In addition to boswellia, there are a few herbs that can work synergistically to help with lung support: thyme, ravintsara, and myrtle. I would take a combination of boswellia, ravintsara, myrtle, and thyme three times per day.
To support circulation to the heart and lungs, I think grape seed extract would be an excellent choice. Grape seed extract works in numerous ways to support circulation: reduces high blood pressure, protects the blood vessel walls from free radical damage, and prevents the dangerous oxidation of LDL cholesterol. The grape seed extract I prefer is a French grape seed extract with low-molecular weight oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) that are well absorbed.
Additionally, pomegranate, magnesium, and B vitamins can be really supportive for the heart. Pomegranate has also been shown to decrease LDL cholesterol aggregation (the clumping together of oxidized cholesterol in the arteries), lower blood pressure, and boost the activity of enzymes that protect LDL from oxidation. Magnesium works with calcium to keep the heart beating in a regular rhythm. A deficiency in magnesium may be one of the contributing causes to cardiovascular complications. I prefer magnesium that is chelated to the amino acid glycine. Lastly, B1 (as benfotiamine, a fat-soluble form) and B6 (as pyridoxal-5-phosphate) help maintain blood vessel integrity and reduce homocysteine, which is an amino acid associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
I would take grape seed extract, pomegranate, magnesium, B1, and B6 twice per day.
Terry . . . Naturally
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