Cystic Fibrosis Home Remedies

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is one of the most common autosomal recessive genetic disorders in Caucasians of northern European descent. It’s characterized by deteriorating lung function and pancreatic abnormalities. People with CF experience thick mucus in the bronchi and numerous infections of the airways, leading to a decline in respiratory function. Approximately 75 percent of CF patients now use complementary medicine to treat symptoms.

What is Cystic Fibrosis?

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs in the body.

Cystic fibrosis affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices. These secreted fluids are normally thin and slippery. But in people with CF, a defective gene causes the secretions to become sticky and thick. Instead of acting as lubricants, the secretions plug up tubes, ducts and passageways, especially in the lungs and pancreas.

Although cystic fibrosis is progressive and requires daily care, people with CF are usually able to attend school and work. They often have a better quality of life than people with CF had in previous decades. Improvements in screening and treatments mean that people with CF now may live into their mid-to late 30s or 40s, and some are living into their 50s.

Cystic Fibrosis Home Remedies

1. NAC (N-acetylcysteine)

NAC acts as a precursor to raise glutathione (an antioxidant) levels in different body tissues, meaning it helps the body fight off free radicals and other toxins. It can also help thin out mucus, which is why it’s called a mucolytic. Doses of 700 to 3,000 milligrams per day have been preliminarily tested and appear to be safe over several weeks (testing of long-term use hasn’t been completed).

2. Magnesium

In one study, 300 milligrams per day of magnesium supplement (in the form of an amino acid chelate, which may improve utilization of magnesium throughout the body) for 8 weeks improved respiratory muscle strength and possibly reduced disease severity when used with conventional CF treatments. The median weight of kids and adolescents (7 to 19 years old) in the study was 40 kilograms, and 7.5 milligrams of magnesium per kilogram was given.

3. Whey protein powder

Whey protein is getting a lot of attention for CF right now because it may improve muscle development and function and quality of life (see the Athletic Enhancement section).

4. L-arginine and L-citrulline

Theoretically, L-arginine can improve nitric oxide amounts in lung tissue, which helps expand the airways and improve breathing, but in reality it has had mixed results in studies. First of all, much of L-arginine gets degraded by the liver and intestines (see the Erectile Dysfunction section), so patients need to take 3 grams or more, based on a German university study, to see any potential benefit. However, L-citrulline solves this problem because it bypasses liver metabolism and is converted into L-arginine by the kidneys and then into nitric oxide. Plus, you can use half or less of the L-arginine dosage. More research with L-citrulline needs to be done, though.

5. Zinc

People with CF who have low zinc levels may reduce the number of days antibiotics are needed with 30 milligrams of zinc per day.

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