Wednesday, December 29, 2010

5 HTP for COPD Alternative Treatment Part 1

There are natural alternative treatments for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD. COPD is a serious lung disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD is the fourth cause of death in the United States and is greatest among women. Thought to be the result of cigarette smoking it is now known that it can affect nonsmokers as well as older adults and persons living in urban areas due to pollution irritants. COPD usually starts with a cough and phlegm that comes and goes until it becomes chronic. A chronic condition worsens over the years with increase shortness of breath, wheezing and mucus. If you have a chest infection your phlegm will be yellow or green. If a person with COPD also suffers from depression they are known to have a shorter lifespan. Some doctors recommend taking 5-HTP or St. John’s wort along with an antidepressant to improve their condition.

[caption id="attachment_766" align="alignright" width="300" caption="5-HTP for COPD Alternative Treatment Part 1 - Lung with Mucus"][/caption]

5-HTP is a metabolic precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin helps control moods, hunger and helps you to sleep easy. More information regarding COPD sleep tips: Lack of Sleep and COPD. Tryptophan an amino acid that metabolizes 5-HTP that in turn converts into serotonin. SSRI’s drugs are said to increase serotonin therefore for some individuals 5-HTP may serve as an alternative to prescription drugs depending on the severity of their COPD. Taking a tryptophan or 5-HTP supplement increase serotonin levels by supplying the building blocks needed to make serotonin. A serotonin deficiency is associated with depression, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, altered mood swings, PMS and headaches. Both supplements help with these conditions, but 5-HTP is roughly five times more potent than tryptophan. Some medical journals state that 5-HTP improves depression and reduces panic attacks, but continued research is needed.

Along with 5-HTP other antioxidants and herbs have been recommended to help with COPD symptoms. Creatine, Ginseng, Omega-3 fatty acids, GABA and BCAA supplements, to name a few. BCAAs include the three vital amino acids valine, leucine and isoleucine, which make up one-third of muscle protein. They are said to be abundant in muscle tissue and consuming them may reduce the chance of muscle tissue breakdown that is similar to glutamine supplements (GABA). BCAA in converted into two amino acids, glutamine and alanine when released into the body and is a source of fuel when muscle glycogen levels are low.

With the risk of getting too clinical, BCAA can reduce the chance of breathlessness associated with COPD patients, especially when they are eating. Chronic COPD patients find eating difficult therefore they do not get an adequate number of calories that are essential for proper working of the lungs, normal beating of the heart and prompt functioning of the brain. The number of calories required to maintain health, may vary from person to person, owing to various factors, such as age, sex, weight and muscle mass. But in general, it can be estimated that an adult body requires at least 1000 to 1400 calories to have sufficient energy for the proper functioning of important organs like the brain, heart, and lungs at a resting metabolic rate (RMR). For day to day activities, you need more calories than your resting metabolic rate (RMR). This extra energy required can be about 400 to 600 additional calories per day. These numbers are general averages and a dietitian can help you determine exactly how many calories your body needs.

For more information about 5-HTP for COPD see 5-HTP for COPD Alternative Treatment Part 2.

The content in 5 HTP for COPD Alternative Treatment Part 1 is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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