(NaturalNews) Simple iron supplementation eliminated chronic cough in all 16 women tested in a recent study, the results of which were presented at the meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians in Chicago.
Chronic unexplained coughs in otherwise apparently healthy non-smokers are more common in women than in men. This led Dr. Caterina Bucca of the University of Turin in Italy and her colleagues to wonder if there might be a connection between the cough and a nutrient deficiency that is also more common in women.
"We put the two together," Bucca said. "Cough is much more frequent in women and iron deficiency is very frequent in women due to pregnancy and menses."
The researchers studied 16 women with chronic cough but who had no sign of asthma, other respiratory disease, or acid stomach reflux. All 16 women had red, inflamed mucous membranes, swelling the back of the mouth and sensitive vocal chords. They were given a daily iron supplement for two months, and then given another health exam. After this time period, all signs of chronic cough had disappeared.
"I found the hypersensitivity was nearly gone or vastly improved in all of the women," Bucca said.
Because iron deficiency has previously been shown to adversely affect the immune system, Bucca speculated that the deficiency may decrease the immune system's ability to produce proteins that regulate inflammation. Increased inflammation in the mouth and throat may lead to chronic cough.
Iron is an essential nutrient found in high quantities in legumes such as lentils and beans; potato skins; whole grains; molasses; and tofu and meat products. Iron absorption can be promoted by eating broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, oranges, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes. It is inhibited by certain foods such as coffee, red wine, tea, beet greens, chard, spinach and sweet potatoes.
Using cast iron cookware can also increase the iron content of food.