Stressor Spotlight: Lungs
Similar to the heart, our lungs are constantly working to keep us alive and functioning. These vital organs are responsible for not only bringing oxygen into the body, but also eliminating large amounts of waste. The structure of the lungs helps to make the breathing process extremely efficient, along with helping make other key lung functions possible.
The lungs are a set of large, roughly cone-shaped organs that are situated in the chest behind the rib cage. Each lung has a different shape and size. The right lung is wider, shorter, and larger in volume than the left. The right lung is further divided into 3 lobes, whereas the left lung has only 2 lobes. To accommodate the heart, the smaller left lung has an indentation on the surface called the cardiac notch.
Below the lungs is the diaphragm, the primary muscle used for respiration. Separating the abdomen from the chest, this muscle contracts when we inhale, and relaxes when we exhale to push air out of our lungs. The trachea, also known as the windpipe, connects the lungs to the larynx, allowing air to enter the lungs.
On the outside, the lungs are covered by pleura. This thin layer of tissue lubricates the lungs so they can expand and contract smoothly. Inside, the lungs are spongy and, not surprisingly, full of air. Two branches called bronchi extend from the trachea into the lungs. The bronchi then divide into smaller branches called bronchioles, and then end in microscopic air sacs called alveoli.
The lungs are the major organ of the respiratory system. Together, they are responsible for exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide with air from the atmosphere. As we breathe in, the lungs expand and oxygen is taken in from the air. Carbon dioxide is then pushed back out when we exhale as the lungs compress.
During this process, the lungs exchange respiratory gasses across their large gas-permeable surface. A blood supply is required for the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange to take place:
- First, the heart sends deoxygenated blood (carbon dioxide) to the lungs.
- The blood is then oxygenated by the tiny alveoli in the lungs.
- Next, the oxygenated blood is transported throughout the body.
- The carbon dioxide that remains in the lungs is then expelled through the mouth and nose.
Another important function of the alveoli is producing pulmonary surfactant, a compound made up of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. This compound improves breathing efficiency and keeps the structure of the alveoli intact.1
In addition to respiration, the lungs perform other vital functions in the body, including:
- Filtering small blood clots
- Removing dust particles and bacteria
- Increasing blood supply during exercise
- Maintaining pH balance
- Making speech possible
The lungs are energetically connected to the 4 premolars of the top teeth, as well as the 4 molars of the bottom teeth. They are also connected to the following cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae:
- C1, C5, C7
- TH1, TH2, TH3, TH4
Issues with these teeth and vertebrae may indicate that the lungs may not be functioning properly. And conversely, a breathing problem may impact these teeth and vertebrae in a negative way.
The lungs are also energetically connected to the Lung TCM meridian. In traditional Chinese medicine, the Lung Meridian controls breath and energy flow, as well as helping maintain immune defenses. It is also believed to form a bridge between the body and the mind, which is why it is a central focus of many meditation exercises.2
Furthermore, the lungs are strongly connected with the emotions of grief and sadness. These emotions can both influence and be influenced by the health of the lungs.
Common lung diseases
Unfortunately, death rates from lung diseases have increased significantly in the past few decades. From 1980 through 2014, death rates for these diseases rose more than 30%.3 Most of the deaths were due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Let’s take a closer look at COPD and other common respiratory diseases.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) encompasses a variety of disorders that cause airway obstructions and breathing problems. In addition to the 16 million people in the United States who have COPD, there are millions more who suffer from this disease but have not been diagnosed.4 Symptoms of this disease include:
- Tightness in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic coughing or wheezing
- Excess mucus or phlegm
- Lack of energy
- Unintended weight loss
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are two of the most common types of COPD. Smoking is the most common cause of emphysema, while chronic bronchitis may be caused by bacteria, viruses, or other particles that enter the lungs.
Approximately 1 in 13 Americans suffer from asthma.5 Similar to COPD, this disease is characterized by shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and coughing or wheezing. These symptoms may lead to death if the asthma is not treated properly.
Asthma ranges in severity and is often triggered by exposure to an allergen such as pet dander, dust mites, or pollen. Children with asthma usually display symptoms before they turn 5. So if you notice these symptoms frequently, make sure to see your doctor as soon as possible.
Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer behind melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. However, it is responsible for more deaths than any other type of cancer. The most common culprit of this type of cancer is cigarette smoking. Lung cancer can develop in any part of the lungs, and can be difficult to detect. In addition to smoking, factors that may increase the risk of lung cancer include:
- Exposure to cancer-causing chemicals
- Exposure to high levels of air pollution
- Exposure to high arsenic levels in drinking water
- Exposure to asbestos or radon gas
- A family history of lung cancer
Caused by bacteria, tuberculosis is an infection that mainly affects the lungs. This disease is transmitted through the air via coughing and sneezing. It is also a leading killer of HIV-positive people. Your immune system can usually prevent a tuberculosis infection even if it harbors the bacteria that causes it.
In 2018, 10 million people contracted active tuberculosis, and 1.5 million died from the disease.6 A cough that lasts several weeks, coughing up blood, and chest pain are common signs of TB. Other signs include chills, fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Tuberculosis is treatable, and rates have been gradually falling worldwide.
In the United States, about 1 million people are hospitalized by pneumonia each year. Approximately 50,000 of those people die from this disease, which equates to roughly a 5% death rate.7 Pneumonia shares many of the symptoms of COPD and asthma such as shortness of breath and coughing that produces phlegm, but may also include nausea, vomiting, fever, shaking, and chills.
Vaccines may help lower the risk of pneumonia, as this disease can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Good hygiene, a healthy diet, and other behaviors that promote a strong immune system can lower the risk of pneumonia as well.
Lifestyle tips for healthy lungs
If you want healthy lungs, the number one thing you should do is avoid smoking. Smoking is responsible for more than 80% of COPD and lung cancer deaths in addition to being a major cause of pneumonia.8 Even occasional smoking can cause serious damage to the lungs, and this includes smoke inhaled from e-cigarettes.
Along these same lines, you should try to avoid exposure to other airborne pollutants as well. Common sources of air pollution include vehicle exhaust, industrial facilities and factories, fires, and wind-blown dust. Unfortunately, indoor air pollution is typically much worse than outdoor pollution. To protect your lungs from these pollutants, avoid using chemical-based cleaners and pesticides. You should also make sure that your home and workplace are free of radon, carbon monoxide, and asbestos. If you are worried about indoor pollution from other common sources, get yourself a good-quality air purifier.
Another tip for healthy lungs is to exercise regularly. Your lungs need exercise just like your muscles do, so it’s important to get your heart and breathing rate up on a regular basis. Exercise increases the efficiency of your lungs, which helps your body fight disease and aging. In addition to regular exercises, you may want to also add some of these deep breathing exercises to your daily routine to improve the health of your lungs.
Diet & nutrition for lung health
Avoiding certain foods and replacing them with others can do wonders for the health of your lungs. Foods that can affect lung function negatively include carbonated drinks, acidic foods and drinks, dairy products, and fried foods. Consider healthier substitutes to these foods that are particularly good for the lungs, such as the following:
- Fatty fish
In addition to eating lung-healthy foods such as these, water is extremely important to the health of the lungs. So make sure that you are not only getting the recommended amount of water each day, but are also filtering it or getting it from an otherwise pure source.
It can be difficult to get your nutrition from food alone, and this is where supplements can be a great addition for your lungs. Vitamin D, C, and E are all beneficial for lung health. N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is an antioxidant supplement that is also good for the lungs, particularly if you suffer from COPD.9
Lastly, certain herbs are known to protect and support the lungs. These include astralagus, osha root, oregano, and eucalyptus. You can learn about these and other herbs in our Best Herbs for Lung Health article.
Lung stressor Virtual Item
A digital signature representing the lungs is available to scan in the ZYTO software. This Virtual Item is automatically scanned in the Compass 5.0 and Balance biosurveys. In the Balance Biosurvey, the Lung Virtual Item is scanned as part of the detoxification system, and will show up under this core system on the Wellness Report if it is out of range.
The Lung Virtual Item is also available to scan in the Select and Elite software. There are also many items related to the lungs that can be scanned, including:
- EAV Lung Meridian
- Lung – left
- Lung – right
- Lung Candida
- Lung Fungus
- Lung Tissue
- Lung Weakness
- Lung: Grief
- TCM – Lung Meridian
Lung balancer Virtual Items
Digital signatures representing balancing items are typically run at the end of a ZYTO scan. These items bring the out-of-range biomarkers, such as the Lung if it is out of range, back into range. Balancer Virtual Items may include supplements, essential oils, wellness services, or lifestyle options.
You can observe the body’s response to the Lung Virtual Item in various reports in the Balance, Select, and Elite software. In the Advanced Report, you can also see which balancer Virtual Item brought the Lungs back into energetic balance.
As mentioned, the lungs are strongly connected to the emotions of grief and sadness. Using EVOX perception reframing, you can address these emotions that may influence or be influenced by the health of the lung. In particular, the EVOX allows you to work through any imbalances in Zone 3 of the Perception Index: Sadness vs. Inner Peace.
1. Veldhuizen, E.J.A., & H.P. Haagsman. “Role of pulmonary surfactant components in surface film formation and dynamics.” Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Biomembranes 1467, no. 2 (2000): 255-270.
2. “The Lung Meridian.” Natural Health Zone. Natural-health-zone.com.
3. Mozes, Alan. “Respiratory Disease Death Rates Have Soared.” WebMD LLC. Webmd.com.
4. “What is COPD?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. US Department of Health & Human Services. Cdc.gov.
5. “Asthma Facts and Figures.” Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Aafa.org.
6. “7 million people receive record levels of lifesaving TB treatment but 3 million still miss out.” World Health Organization. Who.int.
7. “Pneumonia Can Be Prevented – Vaccines Can Help.” US Department of Health and Human Services. Cdc.gov.
8. “How smoking affects your body.” National Health Service. Nhs.uk.
9. McMillen, Matt. “Supplements and Herbal Medicine for COPD.” WebMD LLC.