4 Nutrients that Help You Breathe Easy

Short Read

  • There are internal and external factors that cause inflammation and constriction of airways
  • Inflammation and constriction of airways makes it hard to breathe and contribute to conditions like asthma and COPD
  • Pharmaceutical agents are designed to reduce inflammation and dilate the airways to allow more airflow through the lungs.
  • There are natural compounds that can also help reduce inflammation and constriction in the airways, making it easier to breathe
  • Studies show some natural compounds can protect against inhaled environmental toxins and even reduce exacerbations and complications of breathing disorders

Tell Me More!

Struggling to Breathe

Imagine the following – or even try it yourself: take a bundle of straws and put them in your mouth, sealing your lips around the outside. Now while continuing to breathe steadily through the straws, begin removing them one by one, being sure to keep your lips sealed around the edges, until you are down to only one straw.

Health and Inflamed Bronchiole ComparisonWith fewer and fewer straws, you should notice it becomes increasingly difficult to breathe. You feel your chest working harder to expand and contract your lungs to get a full breath.  You can’t inhale or exhale fast enough, no matter how much harder your body tries.  You may start feeling lightheaded or dizzy and as your body begins to feel the effects of suffocation, you may even start feeling a sense of panic.

Constriction and Inflammation

The bundle of straws represents the airways inside of your lungs, called bronchioles. Removing each straw simulates inflammation and constriction of bronchioles with the resulting restriction of airflow. This is essentially what a person experiences when they suffer from lung conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, and allergic reactions. In all of these conditions, people experience a decreased ability to breathe as a result of airways that are restricted by inflammation, constricting muscles, and/or loss of elasticity of the lung tissue. 

Exposure to the Elements

Your lungs are unique when compared to many of your other organs because they have direct contact with air from the environment that is rich in oxygen. The cells that line the lungs and airways are constantly in an oxidative environment as they work to transport oxygen into the blood stream, and carbon dioxide out.

The cells are also exposed to environmental pollutants, allergens, particulate matter, and disease-causing microorganisms that, in combination with oxidative stress, can lead to irritation, allergic reactions, inflammation, and immune responses that restrict airways.

Pharmaceutical Targets and Nutritional Approaches

Many pharmaceutical agents to treat these conditions are focused specifically on opening the airways by reducing inflammation or relaxing the muscles that constrict airways. These are effective treatments, especially in emergency situations, however researchers are now looking at how antioxidants and plant-based nutrients, like those found in Pinnaclife, might help address some aspects of respiratory disease.1,2

The hope is that these types of nutritional interventions could help prevent the emergency situations from happening as often. Research is confirming that several nutrients may be helpful in supporting respiratory health.

What the research shows:

  1. Dietary antioxidants including olive polyphenols, trans-resveratrol from grapevines, curcumin from turmeric, sulforaphane from broccoli, and N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) have all been shown to play a role in reducing oxidative stress and modulating inflammatory responses in the lungs.3,4 Studies of these compounds have shown a variety of positive effects including reductions in inflammatory markers, improved lung function, and fewer exacerbations of conditions like COPD, emphysema, and asthma.3

  2. Sulforaphane from broccoli has had some particularly exciting effects in the lungs. Research has indicated sulforaphane may help to protect the lungs from inhaled pollutants such as particulates from diesel fuel exhaust and other toxins, including arsenic.5 Sulforaphane protects the lungs from these compounds by promoting antioxidant and detoxifying pathways while reducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in lung tissues.6–10 Inhaled particulates and pollutants are linked to many diseases.11,12 

  3. Magnesium is an essential electrolyte that helps bronchioles relax (dilate). Adults and children with low magnesium levels have been shown to have decreased lung function including decreased flow and forced vital capacity, while restoring magnesium levels has been shown to improve air flow.13,14 

  4. Low Vitamin D levels have been linked to decreased lung function, increased incidence of respiratory infections like influenza, and even the occurrence of asthma.15 Studies have reported on a positive dose-response with Vitamin D in the general population, people with asthma, and with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).16 Evidence also suggests that maternal Vitamin D levels during pregnancy is linked to a child’s risk of developing asthma, with lower Vitamin D levels carrying higher risk of developing asthma. 

Environmental Toxins

While not all of us suffer from a respiratory condition, we are all breathing air that is full of pollutants and particles that can contribute to some level of stress and inflammation within the lungs. A lifetime of exposure to those elements can increase your risk of infections, cancer, inflammation, and other diseases.

Proactive Protection

Being proactive by incorporating Pinnaclife supplements could help maintain your respiratory health and allow you to breathe easy.  The Pinnaclife Supplements may also provide benefits in p eople with ongoing respiratory problems, helping them to breathe more easily with fewer or less severe exacerbations of their conditions.

    1. Moreno-Macias H, Romieu I. Effects of antioxidant supplements and nutrients on patients with asthma and allergies. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014;133(5):1237–44; quiz 1245.
    2. Grieger J a, Wood LG, Clifton VL. Improving asthma during pregnancy with dietary antioxidants: the current evidence. Nutrients. 2013;5(8):3212–34.
    3. Biswas S, Hwang JW, Kirkham PA, Rahman I. Pharmacological and Dietary Antioxidant Therapies for Chronic Obstruc- tive Pulmonary Disease. 2013:1496–1530.
    4. Zaslaver M, Offer S, Kerem Z, et al. Natural Compounds Derived from Foods Modulate Nitric Oxide Production and Oxidative Status in Epithelial Lung Cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2005;53:9934–9939.
    5. Zheng Y, Tao S, Lian F, et al. Sulforaphane Prevents Pulmonary Damage in Response to Inhaled Arsenic by Activating the Nrf2-defense Response. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2012;265(3):292–299.
    6. Ritz S a, Wan J, Diaz-Sanchez D. Sulforaphane-stimulated phase II enzyme induction inhibits cytokine production by airway epithelial cells stimulated with diesel extract. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2007;292(1):L33–9.
    7. Riedl M a, Saxon A, Diaz-Sanchez D. Oral sulforaphane increases Phase II antioxidant enzymes in the human upper airway. Clin Immunol. 2009;130(3):244–51.
    8. Kensler TW, Ng D, Carmella SG, et al. Modulation of the metabolism of airborne pollutants by glucoraphanin-rich and sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout beverages in Qidong, China. Carcinogenesis. 2012;33(1):101–7.
    9. Egner P a, Chen J-G, Zarth AT, et al. Rapid and sustainable detoxication of airborne pollutants by broccoli sprout beverage: results of a randomized clinical trial in China. Cancer Prev Res. 2014;7:813–23.
    10. Houghton C a, Fassett RG, Coombes JS. Sulforaphane: translational research from laboratory bench to clinic. Nutr Rev. 2013;71(11):709–26.
    11. Ren C, Park SK, Vokonas PS, et al. Air pollution and homocysteine: more evidence that oxidative stress-related genes modify effects of particulate air pollution. Epidemiology. 2010;21(2):198–206.
    12. Kalkbrenner AE, Windham GC, Serre ML, et al. Particulate Matter Exposure, Prenatal and Postnatal Windows of Susceptibility, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Epidemiology. 2014:1–13.
    13. Gilliland FD, Berhane KT, Li Y, Kim DH, Margolis HG. Dietary Magnesium , Potassium , Sodium , and Children ’ s Lung Function. Am J Epidemiol. 2002;155(2).
    14. Johnson S. The multifaceted and widespread pathology of magnesium deficiency. Med Hypotheses. 2001;56(2):163–70.
    15. Litonjua A a, Weiss ST. Is vitamin D deficiency to blame for the asthma epidemic? J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007;120(5):1031–5.
    16. Berry DJ, Hesketh K, Power C, Hyppönen E. Vitamin D status has a linear association with seasonal infections and lung function in British adults. Br J Nutr. 2011;106(9):1433–40.
  • Pinnaclife-science-based-nutrition-kyle-hilsabeck

    Kyle Hilsabeck, PharmD., is the Vice President of Pharmaceutical Affairs at McCord Holdings and licensed by the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.  He completed bachelors degrees in biology and biochemistry at Wartburg College before earning his Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. Upon graduation, he completed a community pharmacy practice residency through the University of Iowa where he focused primarily on nutritional aspects of care including the use of vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements.  He has taught courses for the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy on vitamins, minerals, herbs, and nutritional supplements and given many presentations on the subject as well.  He has a passion for improving patient care specifically with regards to the safety and quality of the nutritional supplements and health information people use.

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