Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a medical condition which affects the normal functioning of the epithelial cells within our organs, particularly the lungs, respiratory system, liver, kidneys and reproductive system. It is caused by an inherited defective gene causing excessive mucus development. Symptoms include lung damage, chronic coughs, coughing up phlegm, breathing problems, repeated sinus and lung infections and nutrient deficiencies as the absorption of nutrients is decreased. This can lead to weight loss, developmental issues, diarrhoea, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, digestive problems, chronic fatigue, diabetes and many other life-threatening issues, shortening the lifespan of anyone with CF.
If you inherit one CF gene, you are a carrier, but you will not develop symptoms. If you inherit two CF genes, you will develop CF; two parents who are carriers of the CF gene have a one in four chance of having a child with CF.
Treatment consists of digestive enzymes, feeding tubes, clinical trials, gene therapy, CFTR modulators, vest therapy, chest physical therapy, mucus thinners, bronchodilators, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, pulmonary rehabilitation and surgery. This is on top of dietary interventions, supplements and lifestyle changes. Doctors may recommend changes such as exercise, no smoking, extra hand washing, keeping up to date with vaccinations, extra fibre, salt and water in the diet. CF individuals need foods high in fat and calories. Anti-inflammatory, monounsaturated fats and unrefined carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index are best (e.g. nuts, seeds and grains, coconut oil, beef and lamb, vegetables and fruits)
A recent study showed that administration of fat-soluble vitamins could increase the effectiveness of antibiotics within CF individuals. This was thought to be because lipocalins which latch onto antibiotics latch onto the fat-soluble vitamins instead allowing the antibiotics to reach the target bacteria. Another study showed that 53% of CF individuals being treated with antioxidants experienced less exacerbations than those who were not treated with antioxidants. At 4 weeks, those being treated with antioxidants had increased concentrations of beta-carotene, coenzyme Q10, gamma-tocopherol, lutein and decreased inflammation.
- Vitamin A contributes to normal iron absorption, maintenance of normal mucous membranes, skin and vision
- Vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system and muscle function, has a role in the process of cell division, the maintenance of normal bones and the absorption/utilisation of phosphorous and calcium
- Vitamin E contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress
- Vitamin K contributes to maintenance of normal bones and normal blood clotting
- Antioxidants such as Vitamin A, C, Selenium, Zinc, Manganese, Bee Propolis, Bioflavonoids to help manage and minimise the oxidative damage in the body and superfoods such as Spirulina and Chlorella to fight damage caused by oxidative stress in the lungs
- Omega-3 which manages receptor compatibility and signal molecules, helping to reduce inflammation
- Probiotics to help stimulate the absorption of nutrients, improve immunity and digestion and balance the good and bad bacteria within the gut
- Multivitamins (high strength) to support metabolism, development, nervous system, strengthen immunity, brain function, digestion, raise energy levels and promote strong bones and healthy teeth
Any information or product suggested on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Consult your primary healthcare physician before using any supplements or making any changes to your regime.
- Cystic Fibrosis Treatment Options (webmd.com)
- 4 Natural Treatments for Cystic Fibrosis - Dr. Axe (draxe.com)
- Adherence to Nutritional Supplementation in Cystic Fibrosis - PMC (nih.gov)
- Vitamins could help treat cystic fibrosis, research finds -- ScienceDaily
- Supplemental antioxidants may reduce exacerbations in cystic fibrosis -- ScienceDaily
- Cystic fibrosis - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
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