The definition of lung disease is an inability for the lungs to function properly due to decreased functioning of either the airways, tissue, or circulation. Circulatory diseases decrease the ability of the lungs to take up oxygen and release carbon dioxide because blood vessels are subject to clotting, scarring and inflammation. Tissue diseases degrade the structural components of the lungs, leading to severe tissue damage that prevents the full expansion of the lungs. Airway diseases cause a narrowing or blockage of the airways, reducing oxygen intake and the release of gas within the body.
Cigarette smoking is the major etiological factor in lung conditions. An increased oxidant burden in smokers derives from the fact that cigarette smoke contains more than 1017 free radicals and oxidant molecules per puff.
In this study, the researchers show the ingestion of astaxanthin significantly decreased the number of inflammatory cells in the fluid of the lung (BALF) and emphysema was significantly suppressed. Astaxanthin reduces cigarette smoke-induced inflammatory cell infiltration in the lung and was shown to help prevent pulmonary fibrosis.
In conclusion, astaxanthin protects against oxidative stress and improves cigarette smoke-induced emphysema. Therapy with astaxanthin directed toward activating the Nrf2 pathway has the potential to be a novel preventive and therapeutic strategy for COPD.Click to read the study: Astaxanthin Suppresses Cigarette Smoke-Induced Emphysema through Nrf2 Activation in Mice