Vitamins play a vital role in sustaining a healthy respiratory system and reducing your risk of diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, bronchitis, tuberculosis, pneumonia and asthma. Chronic lower respiratory diseases are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. If you are considering taking vitamins that can help your respiratory system, talk with your doctor first to determine the best course of action.
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that plays an essential role in stimulating your immune system and fighting infections.A vitamin A deficiency can increase your risk of respiratory infections. Research by scientists at Laval University Medical Center in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada and published in the March/April issue of the "Canadian Journal of Public Health” in 2008 revealed that the lower the vitamin A concentrations in umbilical cord blood at the time of birth, the higher the risk of lower respiratory tract infections in preschool children between under 1 month to 5 years of age.
Folate is a water soluble B vitamin that stimulates DNA production and cell reproduction. A folate deficiency can lead to an increase in risk of respiratory diseases and infections. Research by scientists at the University of Bergen in Norway and published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in July 2007 found that folate deficiency in young children is an independent risk factor for lower respiratory tract infections. The scientists also discovered that children who are breastfed have a lower risk of folate deficiency and respiratory tract infections.
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that stimulates your immune system and protects your cells from harmful substances. Increasing your dietary intake of vitamin C can reduce your risk of respiratory infections. Research by scientists at the University of Helsinki in Finland and published in "Military Medicine" in November 2004 reports that vitamin C supplementation can reduce the incidence of common cold infections by between 45 and 91 percent, and can lower the incidence of pneumonia by between 80 and 100 percent.
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin that protects your cell membranes from harmful chemicals and stimulates your immune response to infections. Vitamin E supplements may reduce the risk of respiratory infections. Research by scientists at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts and published in the "Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences" in December 2004 discovered that elderly nursing home residents taking vitamin E supplements for one year experienced a significantly reduced rate of common colds and respiratory infections.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Leading Causes of Death; 2009
- Linus Pauling Institute; Vitamin A; Victoria Drake; November 2007
- "Canadian Journal of Public Health"; Neonatal Vitamin a Deficiency and Its Impact on Acute Respiratory Infections Among Preschool Inuit Children; Cynthia Cameron, et al.; March/April 2008
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements; Folate; 2010
- "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Folate, but Not Vitamin B-12 Status, Predicts Respiratory Morbidity in North Indian Children; T.A. Strand, et al.; July 2007
- Linus Pauling Institute; Vitamin C; Balz Frei; November 2009