COPD – E

Word on Health was interested to note that regular use of vitamin E in women over 45 may help decrease the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to researchers at Cornell University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Long-term, the risk falls by approximately 10% in both smokers and non-smokers.

As lung disease develops, damage occurs to sensitive tissues through several proposed processes, including inflammation and damage from free radicals,” commented Anne Hermetet Agler, of  Cornell University’s Division of Nutritional Sciences. “Vitamin E may protect the lung against such damage.”

Previous research had found that higher intake of vitamin E was associated with a lower risk of COPD, but this is the first time it has been shown that increasing vitamin E intake can prevent COPD.

In this study, nearly 40,000 women aged 45 years and older were randomized to receive either 600 mg of vitamin E or a placebo every other day.  Although fewer women taking vitamin E developed COPD, the supplement appeared to have no effect on asthma.

If results of this study are borne out by further research, clinicians may recommend that women take vitamin E supplements to prevent COPD.

While this may be good news for some, Word on Health reminds its readers that vitamin E supplements are known to have detrimental effects in some people. For example it can cause increased risk of congestive heart failure in cardiovascular disease patients. As such, any future recommendations would need to balance both benefits and risks.

Do you have COPD, or tips for those who are living with the disease?  If so, SRxA’s Word on Health is waiting to hear from you.