There is no shortage of natural remedies on the market today to treat, heal and cure our many ailments—chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) included. However, people living with COPD and other lung-related illnesses should be cautious when using these supplements to treat or manage their condition. That is according to a recent article published by Everyday Health.
Unlike prescription drugs, natural remedies are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and have not undergone the extensive research and scrutiny that prescription drugs receive before entering the marketplace. Therefore, many doctors and researchers are still uncertain about the effectiveness of these supplements, as well as their side effects.
Following are several natural supplements that have been said to remedy symptoms associated with COPD, as well as comments from experts on their effectiveness—or lack thereof.
- Bromelain: A supplement created from the enzymes found in a pineapple’s stem and juice, bromelain is said to reduce inflammation associated with COPD. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, scientific evidence to support this claim is lacking.
- Coenzyme Q10: An antioxidant that is naturally produced by the body, coenzyme Q10 has been said to increase cell activity and ease inflammation in people with COPD. Researchers have found that people living with COPD have especially low levels of coenzyme Q10; however, studies have not proven that taking the supplement improves conditions.
- L-Carnitine: Typically produced by the body, L-carnitineis used to burn fat and boost energy. In COPD patients, this supplement appears to help strengthen muscles and improve endurance when exercising. Further, research has proven that those people who take L-carnitine supplements do significantly better during walking exercise programs.
- N-acetylcysteine: An antioxidant available as an over-the-counter dietary supplement, N-acetylcysteine has been researched for its role in breaking down the mucus that can clog the lungs of people living with COPD. To date, research has showed mixed results on the supplement’s effectiveness.
- Antioxidant vitamins: With properties of antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E have been said toimprove the lung function in people with COPD. Studies have shown that people living with COPD have low levels of these antioxidant-rich vitamins, and this deficiency can result in decreased pulmonary function. Further, studies have proven that COPD patients whose diets are rich in fruits and vegetables—a good source of vitamins A, C and E—saw improved lung function.
Note that natural remedies cannot serve as the sole source of COPD treatment. Consult with your physician before adding these supplements to your diet to ensure they do not interfere with current treatment methods.