A Breath of Fresh Air for COPD

A Breath of Fresh Air for COPD

Julian Whitaker, MD

When Reba first came to the Whitaker Wellness Institute, she was breathing like a fish out of water. Wheelchair-bound, with ashen skin and a tube in her nose hooked up to a tank of oxygen, it was obvious that she was in respiratory distress.

Patients like Reba are a challenge. Although we have an excellent track record treating heart diseasediabeteshigh blood pressurearthritis, and other degenerative diseases at the clinic, in the past I avoided taking on patients with Reba’s condition, which is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). I just didn’t know of any treatments—natural or conventional—that were very effective.

That’s changed. We now use a therapy that, for the first time ever, may bring hope to the millions of Americans suffering with COPD. Conventional medicine says flat out that there is no cure for this disease. Yet this safe, inexpensive approach shows great promise in relieving an enormous amount of suffering.

Our Fourth Leading Cause of Death

COPD is a collective term for several diseases of the lungs. The most significant is emphysema, which affects the alveoli, the small, grape-like air sacs in the lungs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged. When these structures are damaged, less oxygen is extracted with each breath. To compensate, the lungs eventually enlarge, filling the entire chest cavity and interfering with normal breathing. This results in shortness of breath and obstructed breathing.

Emphysema is almost always caused by smoking, although other lung diseases—which are also usually caused by smoking—may be a factor. These include inflammatory conditions of the bronchi (airways in the lungs) such as chronic obstructive bronchitis and asthmatic bronchitis, which further impede breathing by narrowing the airways and filling them with mucus.

COPD is no small problem. It is our fourth leading cause of death, killing 119,000 Americans and hospitalizing 726,000 every year. And it is an insidious disease. Most patients are unaware they have it until they’ve lost more than half of their functional lung tissue. At that point, their physicians tell them they can be managed with drugs, oxygen, or surgery, but there is no hope for a cure.

Their physicians are wrong.

Glutathione to the Rescue

The therapy that helped Reba is glutathione, the most efficient free radical scavenger in the airways. Dozens of studies have confirmed that free radical damage is a primary player in COPD. Patients with chronic lung diseases have decreased levels of glutathione and other antioxidants, and administration of antioxidants has been shown to protect against, and in some cases actually reverse, lung tissue damage.

Potent as it may be, glutathione is not particularly well absorbed when taken orally. However, when it is given intravenously or, for COPD, inhaled, its effects are remarkable. After Reba’s first treatment, she could breathe a little better and her coloring improved. The next day she reported that she had the best sleep she’d had in years. Her clinical course over the intervening months was nothing short of remarkable.

Off Drugs and Oxygen

She came in on 10 prescription drugs. Now she’s only taking a thyroid medication (her thyroid was removed years ago) and a much-reduced dose of one blood pressure medication. Her initial pulse oximetry, which measures the percentage of hemoglobin in the blood that is saturated with oxygen, was 89 percent (it should never be below 95 percent). After two weeks of treatment it was 97 percent. Initially she couldn’t exhale with enough force to even register on tests of lung function. Today, she has only moderate obstruction.

Both Reba and her husband feel that her progress has been “simply marvelous.” She’s much more alert than before, and the anxiety that understandably affects many patients with COPD (imagine having to fight for every breath) has dramatically improved. She’s gradually spending more and more time out of her wheelchair. And all this without the drugs that her conventional doctors told her were “keeping her alive.”


  • If you’d like to speak to someone about receiving inhaled glutathione therapy at the Whitaker Wellness Institute, call (866) 944-8253 or click here.


  • Lamson DW et al. The use of nebulized glutathione in the treatment of emphysema: a case report. Altern Med Rev. 2000;5(5):429-31.
  • Mannino DM et al. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease surveillance—United States, 1971-2000. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2002;51:1-16.

Modified from Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. Copyright 2006. Photocopying, reproduction, or quotation strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. To subscribe to Health & Healingclick here.

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