Proponents may claim that supplements and vitamins, such as vitamin D, may help promote lung health. However, medical evidence is yet to verify these claims.

People with conditions affecting the lungs may experience coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing up mucus or blood, and chest pain. Some vitamins may help to support lung health. However, more research is necessary to confirm if they are beneficial.

This article looks at how supplements may help the lungs, when this could benefit someone, how to choose, and when to contact a doctor.

Healthy lungs are an essential part of the respiratory system. They allow fresh oxygen to enter the body and remove waste gases, such as carbon dioxide.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) states that a person can keep their lungs healthy by:

  • not smoking
  • maintaining a moderate weight
  • being physically active
  • being mindful of air pollution
  • taking cold and flu precautions

There has been very little research into how supplements can help with lung health. However, one 2017 paper suggests that vitamin D helps promote respiratory health and prevent infections.


A 2017 review explains that doctors may recommend N-acetylcysteine (NAC) to treat some conditions caused by unstable atoms.

As a dietary supplement, NAC is a safe and powerful antioxidant that may support lung health and help with conditions such as asthma and chronic bronchitis.

However, to establish the full effects of NAC on the respiratory system, further research is necessary.

A person with the following health conditions may wish to consider taking complementary supplements for their lung health:

One 2019 review looked at the effects of supplements on the lungs of people with asthma who either did or did not smoke. The author concludes that there were generally no positive effects, and, in some cases, disease rates increased.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirms that it does not have the same oversight with supplements as it does with prescription drugs.

The FDA’s involvement in the safety and efficacy of supplements before marketing is limited. However, it does stipulate that manufacturers of supplements must not market their products by making health claims. This means that supplement manufacturers must not claim that their product can cure, treat, prevent, or diagnose illness.

If a supplement manufacturer makes a product that contains a new ingredient, they must inform the FDA, who will then review it for safety only. The agency still will not approve the supplement or test its effectiveness.

Some supplements may benefit a person by topping up important vitamins and minerals in the body. However, a person should consider consulting a doctor before taking lung supplements, particularly if they have a confirmed condition. This is because some supplements may interact with prescribed medications.

The FDA advises that even if a supplement manufacturer claims to have included natural ingredients, it does not make the product safe. For this reason, discussing vitamins and supplements with a doctor could benefit a person’s overall health.

A person should consider contacting a doctor if they have any concerns about their breathing or lung health.

According to the American Lung Association, symptoms of a lung condition may include:

Certain supplements may benefit people with lung conditions if they replenish the body’s natural stores of vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients. Additionally, they may provide temporary relief from the symptoms of cold or flu.

However, a person should consider discussing supplements with a doctor before taking them, particularly if they already use prescribed medications. This is due to the possibility of drug interactions.