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Information on Cystic Fibrosis


Notes, Nutrients, Herbs/Supplements, and Advice

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Cystic Fibrosis


About

A genetic disease involving a sticky buildup of mucus in the lungs (which makes breathing difficult and leads to infections), as well as pancreatic insufficiency (which leads to digestive problems). It is a recessive disease, occurring only when a child inherits two mutated copies of the CF gene--one from each parent.

Notes


  • A study is being conducted on the drug amiloride (Midamor, Moduretic) to see whether it would be beneficial to use them along with treatment with some diuretic drugs. It is thought to make the lung secretions less thick by blocking sodium uptake by lung cells.
  • Cystic Fibrosis symptomology can be controlled with numerous drugs. Antibiotics can be used to fight the infections to which people with CF are prone, especially infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa which is a microbe that is drawn to the sticky mucus in the lungs. Pancrelipase (also sold under different brand names) is obtained through a prescription product that has a combination of digestive enzymes that is usually prescribed for people with CF and other pancreatic insufficiencies. Individuals may also take anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or prednisone.
  • DNAase (Dornase) is an enzyme that occurs naturally and breaks down DNA molecules. Some fo the mucus that clogs the airways of people with CF is extremely thick and sticky due to it containing large molecules of DNA released by white blood cells and they die fighting chronic bacterial infection. This makes the mucus even thicker. Breaking down DNA molecules assists in making the mucus less thick.
  • Gene therapy may prove to be the treatment of choice for people with CF. In laboratory testing normal CF genes have been given to people with CF with reported success. Rat experimentation indicated that changing the defective CF genes with normal ones in just 10 percent of the lung lining cells makes lung function better. Because the genes in the cells of the reproductive system are unaffected, however, offspring can still obtain CF. Along with gene therapy, work is proceeding with vector aerosols. A vector is similar to a shuttle that can give a good copy of the defective gene to the appropriate place in the body.
  • Levels of arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are both fatty acids are unbalanced in individuals that have CF. This imbalance is most evident in the lungs, pancreas, and intestine which are the most common areas affected by CF. Research in this area suggests promising results.
  • The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation can be contacted for support and information.
  • The Flutter, which is a small hand-held device, helps people with CF to loosen mucus from the airways and can replace conventional physiotherapy.
  • When levels of selenium and vitamin E are low, this seems to be linked to CF and cancer.
  • When the antibiotic tobramycin (nebcin) is given by aerosol spray instead of by traditional intravenous methods, it has been reported to be more effective in reaching infected lung tissue.
Helpful nutrients for this condition.


Pancreatin
Importance: High
Comments: Aids in protein digestion.

Proteolytic enzymes
Importance: High
Comments: Helps manage infection. Aids in digestion. Makes mucous secretions of the lungs thinner.

Vitamin B complex
Importance: High
Comments: Helps with digestion. Promotes healing. Helps with tissue reconstruction.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Importance: High
Comments: Helps with digestion. Promotes healing. Helps with tissue reconstruction.

Vitamin B12
Importance: High
Comments: Aids in proper digestion. Makes nutrients, including iron, easier for the body to use. Lozenge, sublingual, or spray forms are acceptable.

Vitamin C
Importance: High
Comments: Helps with tissue reconstruction. Enhances immune system.

Vitamin K
Importance: High
Comments: Lack of vitamin K is often found in those with cystic fibrosis. Helps with proper digestion.

Alfalfa
Importance: High
Comments: Provides vitamin K and needed minerals. Also provides chlorophyll.

Protein
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Promotes healing. Protein from a vegetable source or a free-form amino acid complex is recommended.

Essential fatty acids (primrose oil)
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Eases inflammation.

Vitamin A
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Helps with tissue reconstruction. Enhances immune system. When using high doses emulsion form is recommended.

Beta carotene
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Forerunner of Vitamin A.

Carotenoid complex (Betatene)
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Forerunner of Vitamin A.

Vitamin E
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Antioxidant. Helps with tissue reconstruction. Best to use emulsion form when using at high doses. Emulsion form also makes assimilation easier.

Vitamin E
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Antioxidant. Helps with tissue reconstruction.

Zinc
Importance: Moderate
Comments: Helps with immune function. Promotes tissue healing. Zinc gluconate lozenges or OptiZinc are recommended.


Helpful herbs and supplements for this condition.


Alfalfa Extract
Type: Internal
Purposes: Alfalfa has a high vitamin K and needed mineral content that is helpful in the treatment Cystic Fibrosis as the patient is usually deficient in Vitamin K. Good source of minerals that have a neutralizing effect on the intestinal tract easing digestive problems. Also is an excellent source of chlorophyll.

Boswella
Type: Internal
Purposes: Boswellia Serrata is believed to contain potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Bromelain
Type: Internal
Purposes: Along with it's anti-inflammatory properties it has a cough suppression effect and reduces thick mucus. Has been effective in treating respiratory tract diseases.

Cayenne, Ginger, and Peppermint
Type: Internal
Purposes: These herbs are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Cayenne, Elecampane, Garlic, Horehound, Hyssop, and Mullein
Type: Internal
Purposes: These six herbs all appear to have expectorant properties that help loosen and rid the respiratory tract of phlegm, breaking up congestion.

Eucalyptus, Garlic, Onion, Tea Tree Oil, and Thyme
Type: Internal
Purposes: These five herbs all contain natural antiseptic properties that help the body to fight off infections.

Echinacea, Licorice, and Siberian Ginseng
Type: Internal
Purposes: These three herbs contain immune boosting properties.
Cautions: Licorice is not to be used if you have high blood pressure. Not to be used on a daily basis for more than seven days at a time. If you have high blood pressure do not use American Ginseng. Do not use Siberian Ginseng if you have any of the following conditions: hypoglycemia, high blood pressure or any heart disorder.

Echinacea, Ginger, Goldenseal, and Yarrow Tea
Type: Internal
Purposes: Ginger Root and Yarrow Tea are soothing to the gastrointestinal tract. Herbal antibiotics which are effective in treating CysticFibrosis, used either alone or in combination are Echinacea and Goldenseal.

Advice


  • Avoid eating white flour, processed foods, animal products, sugar, and dairy products. These items will cause the mucus to build up and drains the body of energy.
  • Cystic Fibrosis requires more nutrients than regular people. You should take more enzymes vitamins and minerals.
  • Diet should be 75% raw vegetables and fruits along with seeds and nuts.
  • It is important to eat garlic, mushrooms (shiitake), and onions to receive the germanium.
  • Raise your salt intake and be sure to drink lots of fluids in hot weather.