Can you detox your lungs?
In recent years, natural remedies and "detoxification" diets have gained popularity as a quick and trendy way to eliminate toxins from your body. While some products are marketed to aid in overnight weight loss, improved digestion or enhanced energy levels, others claim to reverse years of damage to organs such as your lungs.
With a quick internet search you can find countless products that allegedly cleanse your lungs in a matter of days or less. A variety of pills, vitamins, teas, oils, salt inhalers and masks are just a few types of items marketed as a cure-all for lung damage such as that caused by smoking. But do these products really work?
When it comes to lung health the best general rule to follow is: don't trust quick fixes.
While detox remedies seem like a great concept, unfortunately, many claims made by companies selling dangerous and unproven treatments are exaggerated and can even be harmful, particularly products that can be inhaled.
"There are some aerosolized products (or vapes) that contain ‘essential oils' which are promoted as being healthy but inhaling any kind of oil or other lipid [oils] can be dangerous," said Dr. Norman Edelman, Senior Scientific Advisor to the American Lung Association.
Some common ingredients in supplement-based cleanses have been shown to have positive results, such as Vitamin D, which plays an important role in boosting immune system responses and helps to reduce airway inflammation. But most of these detox products are not FDA approved and do not have adequate scientific data to recommend the routine use of natural remedies for prevention.
Can you safely "cleanse" your lungs?
Here's the good news: there is a way to improve your lung health without pills and concoctions. Lungs are self-cleaning organs that will begin to heal themselves once they are no longer exposed to pollutants. The best way to ensure your lungs are healthy is by avoiding harmful toxins like cigarette smoke and air pollution, as well as getting regular exercise and eating well.
Here are a few tips to follow for optimal lung health:
- Quitting smoking is the most effective thing you can do to minimize and heal lung damage. Whether you've been smoking for three days or 30 years, quitting is the first step to healthier lungs.
- Adjusting your diet can also help benefit your lung health, especially if you're living with a chronic condition. Adding antioxidant-rich foods and diet with a variety of vitamins and nutrients will keep your mind and body healthy.
- Regular exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle, even if you have chronic lung disease. The right amount and type of activity has many benefits, including natural and healthy restoration of your lungs. Be sure to ask your doctor before you make changes to your exercise routine.
- The quality of the air that we breathe is a huge factor in our lung health. To keep your lungs healthy, it is important to be aware of harmful pollutants and avoid them, if possible. You can check your local air quality index (AQI) using an online tool from airnow.gov. If the AQI value is higher, there is more pollution in the air and more concern for people's health and wellbeing.
- Indoor air is also important to keep clean. Vacuum often and invest in a good-quality vacuum cleaner. Use natural cleaning products, fragrance-free products and avoid aerosol sprays.
Related Topic: Health & Wellness
Sign up for the latest lung health news delivered right to your inbox.
Join more than 500,000 people who receive research updates, inspiring stories, health information and more.