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CYSTIC FIBROSIS

Also known as CF or mucoviscidosis, cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease of the glands, including mucus and sweat glands. It mostly affects the lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, sinuses and sex organs but it doesn't affect the brain. There are around 9,000 people with cystic fibrosis in the UK although around one in 25 people carries the faulty gene which causes the condition.

In cystic fibrosis sufferers, the mucus becomes thick and sticky and builds up in the lungs blocking the airways. This leads to repeated, serious lung infections that can damage the lungs. Lung function often starts to decline in early childhood in people and, over time, cause permanent damage to the lungs and severe breathing problems. The thick, sticky mucus can also block tubes, or ducts, in the pancreas. As a result, the digestive enzymes that the pancreas makes can't reach the small intestine. Without these enzymes, the body can't absorb fats and proteins. This can cause vitamin deficiency and malnutrition.

Cystic fibrosis also causes the sweat to become very salty. As a result, the body loses large amounts of salt during perspiration. This can upset the balance of minerals and cause a number of health problems. Examples include dehydration, increased heart rate, tiredness, weakness, decreased blood pressure, heat stroke and, rarely, death.

A defect in the CFTR gene causes cystic fibrosis. This gene makes a protein that controls the movement of salt and water in and out of the body's cells. Every person inherits two CFTR genes; one from each parent. Children who inherit a faulty gene from both parents will have cystic fibrosis. Children who inherit one faulty gene and one normal gene will be "cystic fibrosis carriers". Carriers usually have no symptoms but they can pass the faulty gene on to their children.

Around 3-10% of cystic fibrosis sufferers become infected by the mycobacterium abscessus bacteria, (which is distantly related to the bacteria that causes tuberculosis) It is not known why it is more likely to infect people with cystic fibrosis but it could be related to problems with the immune system.

 

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It was thought that this bacteria could only be caught from water and soil but has now been discovered to be able to infect person to person. It is believed that it becomes aerosolised when people cough and because this bacteria is tough it hangs around in the air. It causes lung damage and can be incredibly hard to treat with infected patients needing months of treatment with toxic drugs.

NATURAL REMEDIES AND PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

Betulinic acid is a tumour fighting, antifungal, anti inflammatory and antibacterial compound found in the bark of white birch trees, chaga mushrooms and winged beans which can treat mycobacterium abscessus bacteria infections.

Consume plenty of citrus fruits and pineapple juice.

Add unrefined sea salt, spices and herbs to meals and drink bottled mineral water.

Green vegetables and plenty of fibre daily will help to readdress any intestinal bacteria imbalance and boost the immune system.

See also the Respiratory disorders page.

NATURAL FOODS TO CONSUME

Try to include a wide selection of the foods below in the daily diet to benefit from their powerful properties. Eating plenty of different coloured fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices per day will set the body on the path to full health and vitality very quickly.

Try steaming a wide selection of the vegetables listed with the herbs and spices listed and a tablespoon of water (fastest in the in the microwave 8 minutes approx.) then place in a blender for a deliciously healthy potage soup and eat a small bowl before each meal.

 

Similarly blend a wide selection of the fruits together with nutmeg, cinnamon and honey to provide a tasty nutritious 'smoothie'. Add low fat live probiotic organic yoghurt to make the 'smoothie' or soup creamy.

Meat and eggs (3 times a week)

Calf's liver, organ meats, poultry, rabbit, venison

Fish (4 times a week)

Halibut, octopus, squid, shellfish, oily fish: such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards, kipper, eel, whitebait, anchovies, swordfish, carp, bloater fish, hilsa fish, sprats, tuna (fresh only)

Dairy (yoghurt and kefir milk daily, cheese 3 or 4 times a week)

Cheese, kefir milk, yoghurt (plain with live cultures)

Vegetables (a selection of at least 4 different colours, See Nature colour codes)

Alfalfa, aubergine, bell peppers (all colours), broccoli, carrots, celery, chicory, collard greens, cress, dandelion greens, garlic, ginger, legumes, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, onion, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radish, soybeans, spinach, Swede, tomatoes and watercress.

Whole grains and pseudo-grains (at least one everyday)

Amaranth, barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa, rye, spelt, teff

Fruit (a selection of 2 or 3 per day)

Apples, apricots, avocados, blackberries, blueberries, bananas, cherries, coconut, lemons, mango, melon, papaya, pears, pineapple, rosehips, soursop, strawberries. tangerines and watermelon.

Juices (only pure unsweetened additive free to be drunk as often as possible)

Blueberry, cranberry, grape, pineapple and pomegranate.

Dried fruit (as snacks or added to meals)

Apricots, berries, dates, figs, goji berries, raisins and sultanas.

Nuts, seed and oils (Choose a selection of nuts and seeds daily and add oils to all vegetable and salad dishes)

Almonds, Brazil nuts (two per day), flaxseed, hemp, nasturtium, peanuts, poppy, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, walnuts (five halves eaten before bedtime can aid restful sleep) andwatermelon seeds.

Common and spices (A varied selection to be used as often as possible daily)
Basil, cardamom, chilli pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, cumin, dill, Himalayan pink salt crystals, lemongrass, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, peppercorns, rosemary, safflower, sage, tarragon, thyme and turmeric.

Medicinal herbs (consume as teas or add to meals as required)

Miscellaneous

Algae and seaweed (once per day)

Apple cider vinegar (one tablespoon per day)

Brewer's yeast

Brine pickles

Honey

Miso

Tea (especially green tea, three cups a day).

Drink plenty of bottled or filtered water to avoid the impurities of chorine and fluoride added to tap water.

WHAT TO AVOID

  • Cabbage and kale if suffering from thyroid gland problems, kidney or gallstones.

  • Cumin, ginger, Japanese knotweed, motherwort and turmeric if taking anticoagulants (blood thinning medication) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as aspirin and ibuprofen, have heart problems and during the first trimester of pregnancy. Note: motherwort may be habit forming.

  • Plums and prunes if suffering with kidney or gall stones, joint problems, or osteoporosis.

  • Rosemary if pregnant or breastfeeding or suffering from high blood pressure.

  • Seeds and nuts (unless finely ground to a powder) if suffering from diverticulitis.

ELIMINATE FROM THE DIET

Processed and refined foods, white flour, white rice, coffee, table salt (only use refined sea salt) animal fats (use olive or rapeseed oil or live natural yoghurt instead) and sugar (use honey instead).

Only eat fruit and vegetables if they are organic because of the risk of pesticides.

Associated articles

"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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