If you’re having trouble breathing, especially if you are a smoker, researchers have found that there’s one vitamin that is crucial to keeping your lungs in good working order.
Your lungs suffer if you are deficient in vitamin D. The deficiency is associated with worse lung function and more rapid decline in lung function in smokers. Scientists believe that vitamin D may have a protective effect against some of the effects of smoking on breathing, according to research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“We examined the relationship between vitamin D deficiency, smoking, lung function, and the rate of lung function decline over a 20 year period in a cohort of 626 adult white men from the Normative Aging Study,” says researcher Nancy E. Lange. “We found that vitamin D sufficiency (defined as serum vitamin D levels of >20 ng/ml) had a protective effect on lung function and the rate of lung function decline in smokers.
“Our results suggest that vitamin D might modify the damaging effects of smoking on lung function,” Lange adds. “These effects might be due to vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.”
But don’t think that vitamin D can protect you against all the ravages of smoking.
“While these results are intriguing, the health hazards associated with smoking far outweigh any protective effect that vitamin D may have on lung function,” warns Alexander C. White, chairman of the American Thoracic Society’s Tobacco Action Committee. “First and foremost, patients who smoke should be fully informed about the health consequences of smoking and in addition be given all possible assistance to help them quit smoking.”