When a person inhales, their lungs absorb oxygen from the air to carry through to their bloodstream. The lungs release carbon dioxide when an individual exhales. Some manufacturers of vitamins claim products can reduce the symptoms of respiratory conditions and improve breathing patterns, but there is little medical evidence to support this.
This article explores lung health and vitamins, some features people can consider, and when an individual should contact a doctor.
Several factors can increase a person’s risk of developing lung disease, including:
- older age
- exposure to harmful substances, such as asbestos and radon gas
- chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes
The American Lung Association (ALA) provides tips that can help individuals keep their lungs healthy. These include:
- Avoiding smoking: Cigarette smoking increases the risk of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. People who smoke may have difficulty breathing, as the cigarette smoke narrows their airways.
- Limiting exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants: Chemicals a person may use at home or work, and outdoor environmental air pollution can damage the lungs. The ALA suggests people exercise indoors when there are high pollution levels outdoors.
- Preventing infections: A person should wash their hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based cleansers to avoid infections. It is best to avoid crowds during the cold and flu season.
- Getting regular checkups: Individuals should speak with their healthcare professional regularly to ensure their lungs are healthy and evaluate their breathing patterns.
Some vitamins claim to benefit the lungs. The British Lung Foundation (BLF) notes that all adults, including individuals with COPD or bronchiectasis, can take vitamin D supplements to reduce their chance of developing chest infections. However, there is no strong evidence to support this. Additionally, doctors may advise against taking these supplements if a person has sarcoidosis.
Researchers of a 2017 review found that people can use vitamin D as a complementary therapy to manage their asthma. However, there is limited research on this aspect.
Before taking any supplement, a person should discuss their symptoms or medical condition with a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional to ensure the product is appropriate and safe to use.
When choosing a vitamin for lung health, a person may consider some of the following product features:
- Ingredients: Product labels list the ingredients the vitamins contain. A person can check if the product is suitable for their condition, such as COPD or asthma, and discuss any concerns with a doctor or healthcare professional.
- Reviews: Individuals can read product reviews as this can help inform a decision based on the experiences of others, including ingredients that may cause side effects.
- Warnings: Some products may be suitable for adults but not for children. Or a manufacturer may not recommend their supplements for those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a medical condition, or are already taking prescription medicines. If a person has any questions relating to a product, they should discuss them with a doctor.
A person who experiences symptoms of a lung condition should see a doctor to determine the cause and discuss treatment options.
According to the ALA, symptoms may include:
- shortness of breath
- difficulty breathing
- chest pain or tightness when breathing
- increased mucus production
- chronic cough
Also, the BLF affirms that a medical professional may do the following if a person has breathlessness:
- use a pulse oximeter to check blood oxygen levels
- check for swollen lymph glands
- measure heart rate and rhythm
- check breathing pattern
- measure blood pressure levels
It is possible that vitamins may play a role in a person’s lung health, but there is currently insufficient evidence to support this. The FDA does not regulate supplements in the same way as prescription medications, so individuals should proceed with caution.
There are various products available that a person can buy online, but most of the benefit claims do not have supporting medical data.
Those who experience any symptoms of lung disease, such as chest tightness and shortness of breath, should seek medical help from a qualified doctor or healthcare professional.