More than 13 million people in this country have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and an equal number are affected but haven’t been diagnosed. This progressive disorder, which includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and a handful of other lung diseases, trails only cardiovascular disease and cancer as our leading cause of death and kills more than 138,000 Americans every year.
COPD makes life miserable. If you want to know what it’s like, try breathing through a straw—and to get a feel for advanced disease, make that straw a coffee stirrer. Then imagine having to live with those feelings of breathlessness, anxiety, dizziness, and tiredness day in and day out.
Now that you know a little about the disease, let’s look at COPD treatments.
Short-Term COPD Treatments
In conventional medicine, the frontline COPD treatments are prescription drugs. Bronchodilator inhalers are prescribed to relax the muscles in the airways and make breathing easier. Inhaled and oral steroids are used to curb inflammation in the airways and the alveoli, the tiny air sacs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged. Antibiotics are often needed because COPD patients are particularly susceptible to infections, and oxygen therapy is commonly required as the condition progresses.
I don’t have a problem with COPD treatments that make life easier on these patients. But the reality is that the only conventional therapy ever scientifically shown to alter its long-term course and extend survival is supplemental oxygen. Meanwhile, other therapies that could provide help for COPD are rarely offered.
A Powerful COPD Treatment
One of these overlooked COPD treatments is a nutritional supplement called N-acetylcysteine (NAC). Derived from the amino acid L-cysteine, NAC improves COPD in three ways. First, it thins and helps break up the excessive mucus, or phlegm, produced by COPD patients, which is a significant cause of chronic cough and other symptoms. Second, NAC inhibits the adherence of bacteria in the lungs and has anti-viral activity, so it helps prevent the infections that are a major cause of COPD exacerbations.
Third, and perhaps most important, NAC is a precursor to glutathione, the most active antioxidant in the lungs. Oxidative stress runs rampant in COPD, and glutathione concentrations are routinely depleted in patients with pulmonary disease. By boosting levels of this “master antioxidant,” NAC helps put the brakes on a key underlying disease process.
In a recent clinical trial, COPD patients ages 50–80 took 600 mg of NAC or a placebo twice a day for a year. Compared to those in the placebo group, the study participants who had taken NAC had half as many exacerbations, shorter stays when hospitalized, fewer hospital readmissions, and improvements in forced expiratory flow.
Direct Delivery = Help for COPD
Patients often ask why we don’t just use glutathione supplements. It’s because oral glutathione is very poorly absorbed. Some of the newer supplements claim to increase tissue levels, but I’ve yet to see any evidence that they improve concentrations in the lungs.
At Whitaker Wellness, we sidestep any potential absorption problems by delivering this antioxidant right where it’s needed. Special preparations of glutathione are placed in a nebulizer, which breaks liquids into tiny aerosol drops that are then inhaled through a mouthpiece directly into the lungs. We’ve been using this therapy for well over a decade with predictably positive results.
Reba arrived at Whitaker Wellness confined to a wheelchair, tethered to an oxygen tank, and in obvious respiratory distress. After her first treatment with inhaled glutathione, her breathing and coloring improved, and with two weeks of daily treatments, her oxygen saturation was in the normal range. She continued treatments after returning home, and at last report she felt “simply marvelous” with more energy and endurance and less anxiety.
Stem Cells and the Lungs
Another COPD treatment that has helped many of our patients is adult stem cell therapy. Stem cells, which are isolated from a patient’s own fat through a minimal liposuction procedure, have the ability to differentiate into a number of cell types, reduce inflammation, and promote tissue repair throughout the body.
Since we adopted this therapy and treated hundreds of patients with a variety of health challenges, we’ve consistently observed that no matter what the condition—musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, neurological, etc.—patients often report improvements in lung function. This makes sense. Stems cells are typically administered intravenously, and all venous blood travels directly to the lungs, where it picks up oxygen. Therefore, no matter what area or organ system the stem cells are targeting, the first place they go to is the lungs.
James Norman from Corona, New Mexico, reports, “I was a smoker for 53 years. I finally managed to find a way to quit—then four months later, I found out I had COPD. It got to the point that I could not walk a block without feeling like I was running out of air, which was life changing because I’m a very active person.
“So my wife and I decided to go to the Whitaker Wellness Institute, and I was treated with stem cell therapy. I noticed results almost immediately. With the tremendous increase in the influx of oxygen into my lungs, my health has improved extensively. I can now actually run much further than I was able to walk a year ago.
“I also had a debilitating knee problem. I couldn’t climb stairs, and despite wearing a brace, the knee would go out on me a couple of times a week. With the improvements in my knee and COPD, I’m now able to do deep knee bends, run up and down steps, and walk several miles a day. I will sing the praises of the stem cell therapy I received at Whitaker Wellness to anyone who will listen. It has made a vast difference in my life.”
Recommended COPD Treatments
For COPD, the suggested dose of NAC is 600 mg twice a day, for a total of 1,200 mg. Other helpful supplements include fish oil 2,000–5,000 mg, magnesium 500–1,000 mg, vitamin C 1,000 mg, and vitamin D 5,000 IU or to optimal blood level, taken daily in divided doses.
Glutathione requires a prescription, but using a nebulizer is an easy process that can be done at home. To learn more and to find a physician, contact a compounding pharmacy, such as Wellness Pharmacy, 800-227-2627 or McGuff Compounding Pharmacy, 877-444-1133.
To learn more about stem cell therapy and glutathione at Whitaker Wellness, call 866-944-8253 or fill out this form for a consultation to see if you or a loved one is a good candidate.