Saturday, August 24, 2019

Potential of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to help treat tracheobronchomalacia

I just found out the beautiful young wife of a long-time acquaintance died one year ago, apparently from an illness called tracheobronchomalacia. She was treated with a breathing tube per the pictures I saw of her. I'd never heard of the illness before today. This is what I found on it:

The cause of tracheobronchomalacia (TBM) varies depending on whether a person has primary TBM (also called congenital TBM) or acquired TBM (also called secondary TBM). Most cases of primary TBM are caused by underlying genetic conditions that weaken the walls of the airway (the trachea and bronchi). For example, primary TBM has been reported in people with mucopolysaccharidoses (such as Hunter syndrome and Hurler syndrome), Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and a variety of chromosome abnormalities. Primary TBM can also be idiopathic (unknown cause) or associated with prematurity and certain birth defects (such as a tracheoesophageal fistula).[3][1][5] A small proportion of adults with TBM have the primary form but are not diagnosed until adulthood.[4]
Acquired TBM is generally caused by the degeneration (break down) of cartilage that typically supports the airways. In most adults with acquired TBM, the underlying cause of this cannot be identified.[4] Many adults diagnosed with acquired TBM have common respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.[4] Acquired TBM may be associated with inflammatory conditions (such as relapsing polychondritis), exposure to toxins (e.g. mustard gas), enlargement of structures near the airway (such as goiter or a tumor), and complications from medical procedures (such as endotracheal intubation).

Excerted from

The weakened airway walls--the trachea and the bronchi--are the ones that have the hyaline cartilage that I was researching in the winter of 2018 when I looked into why influenza often brings on pneumonia, usually bacterial pneumonia that is caused by bacteria that normally populate the upper respiratory tract without causing problems. Tracheobronchomalacia appears to be a slow-motion pneumonia.

Because of my research on pneumonia and cartilage, I now keep a combination glucosamine-chondrotitin sulfate supplement in my home and regularly use it whenever someone in my family has a sore throat or a cough. The purpose of the glucosamine is to protect the hyaline cartilage in the upper respiratory tract, and that of the chondroitin sulfate is to help provide the hyaline cartilage with what it needs to rebuild itself well. We suck on the tablets like lozenges so as to get the cartilage-supporting compounds partially aerosolized within the upper respiratory tract and thus deliver them to the surfaces that most need them.

I haven't had that many opportunities to use the glucosamine-chondroitin sulfate supplement recently because it has been summer here, but when we have used it, it seems to stop the progression of the soreness and/or cough and put us on the road to recovery. I hope someone has seen my video (at or my blog post (see about the potential of glucosamine to help support the structural integrity of the upper respiratory tract and begun to investigate it for themselves. Perhaps such an effort will lead to better, more effective treatments for tracheobronchomalacia in the future.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Learning about Equatorial Guinea

During the second half of July, our family learned about the little country of Equatorial Guinea, a Spanish-speaking country on the western coast of Africa which is sort-of on the equator. I say "sort of" because its land mass on the African continent and islands don't actually have the equator running through any of them, but it does possess islands on both the north and the south sides of the equator. The current capital, Malabo, is on one of those islands, but they are using much of their oil revenue to build a new capital city on the African continent that looks like it will have a much better infrastructure and allow for many people to live a good middle class existence there eventually.

Right now, there are slums where most of the Equatoguineans live and then some nice places for the few rich elites who run the country. But it looks like they're trying to create a more equal future for their society. The schools function, and they have a literacy rate of 95% (I'm sure the regular spelling of the Spanish language has helped them reach such a high rate). The new capital city, while definitely a work in progress right now, looks like one the whole country will be proud of. It's nice to see people use the money from their natural resources to work towards a good future for an entire country.

We ate a lot of West African cooking. Fufus made of cassava, plantains, and cocoyams; corn mush; fish stew; goat meat; many dishes with boiled peanuts and peanut butter; papaya; spinach and other greens; red palm oil; and snails. Yes, we ate snails for dinner one night. The snails were canned and sitting right in the "canned meat" section at Walmart. How could I resist? Any meat tastes good with garlicky butter and parsley on it! I teased the children that we would also do the North American version of "bushmeat" and hunt the squirrels and bunny rabbits in our neighborhood, but they knew I wasn't serious.

We didn't find much in the way of music or movies/shows from Equatorial Guinea, but I did discover a great aunt/niece singing duo called Hijas del Sol; they come from Equatorial Guinea, although they had to move to Spain. This is my favorite song by them:

Friday, August 2, 2019

Learning about Denmark

For the first half of July, we learned about Denmark. We visited a Lego store and played with Lego for hours. We taste-tested various "Danish" pastries (did you know they're called Viennese pastries in Denmark?). We read and watched fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen. And we listened over and over to the wonderful Eurovision Song Contest entry from Denmark's Leonora this year (see video below).