Top Vitamins That Support Lung Health

Updated on September 3rd, 2020
Vitamins for lung health

What we eat daily impacts each system in our body, including our lungs. Leafy greens, Citrus fruits, walnuts, fatty fish,  and other whole foods offer the nutrients required for optimal lung health. Some may lower your risk of respiratory diseases. Others keep your airways clean and improve your breathing.

A balanced diet must include vitamins for lung health, particularly during the cold winter seasons.

Vitamin C Boosts Lung Function

Vitamin C is best renowned for its ability to promote collagen formation in the skin and boost immune function. According to a  review in the journal Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology 2014 issue, this nutrient can also reduce respiratory symptoms by half during and after exercise and improve lung function.

These health benefits are attributed to its antioxidant power [1].

Highly strenuous exercise, such as running on the treadmill at higher speeds, increases the free radical levels in our body. Vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant, keeps your lungs functioning optimally and scavenges oxidative stress.

Eat chili peppers, citrus fruits, kiwi, guava, kale, broccoli, and berries to get adequate  of this nutrient in your diet.

[Also Read: Best Vitamin C Supplements]

Load Up on Vitamin E

Another effective antioxidant is vitamin E. According to a  study published in 2017 issue The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, this fat-soluble nutrient minimizes inflammation. To reap its benefits, consume more seeds and nuts, olive oil, wheat germ oil, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, butternut squash, mango, and spinach [2].

Get More Vitamin D

You’ve possibly heard that vitamin D keeps your bones and teeth healthy by regulating calcium levels. You may not be aware that this nutrient may lower the risk of COPD flare-ups and protects against respiratory infection, according to a  study published in  The Lancet Respiratory Medicine 2014 issue.

A study involving over 5,000 subjects conducted by the Busselton Healthy Ageing Study concluded that vitamin D deficiency could increase the risk of bronchitis, wheezing, asthma, and other respiratory issues. Adequate levels of this nutrient were linked with better lung function.

Our human body produces this fat-soluble vitamin on its own when exposed to sun rays. Some foods, such as mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines, oysters, herring,  and egg yolks, are naturally rich in vitamin D [3].

[Also Read: Vitamin D Deficiency]

Fish Oil for Lungs

Fish oil has omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce mucus production and aid in the transfer of oxygen,  and are excellent, anti-inflammatory agents. Omega-3s are critical to the proper functioning of every single cell in our bodies, but many are deficient in omega-3s.

The role of omega-3s in minimizing inflammation is equally essential. If you have inflammation, it’s going to block breathing [4]

It’s ideal for getting omega-3 fatty acids from your diet if you can. Foods that have omega-3s include fatty fish such as tuna, salmon,  and walnuts, mackerel, and pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds. You also can get fish oil in supplemental form.

The quantity of fish oil you should consume varies from 1,000 mg to as much as 4,000 milligrams a day. Check with your physician about the proper dosage for you and whether fish oil will affect other medicines you may be taking. 

[Also Read: Benefits of Fish Oil]

Turmeric for Lungs 

Turmeric or its active ingredient, curcumin, is also on this list of vitamins for lungs because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric, a regular spice in Indian cuisine, is believed to block the production of nuclear factor NFkB (kappa B), which manages the production of inflammatory proteins.

Turmeric comes only after fish oil in terms of anti-inflammatory effects [5]

Research a few years ago in mice proved that curcumin inhibited inflammation of the airways common in COPD. More high-quality trials are needed, but turmeric shows optimism. 

[Also Read: Benefits of Turmeric]

NAC for Lungs

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is believed to help clear mucus and has been looked at as a COPD supplement. It’s an antioxidant available as a dietary supplement and as a prescription drug.

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According to a study on its usage, one demonstrated that taking 600 mg two times a day for 60 days lessened exacerbations and secretions, but overall results have been more mixed. More research is required, but  NAC can help by thinning mucus.

NAC is much more than just an antioxidant; it also stimulates the body’s antioxidants production. 

Talk to your doctor about taking an N-acetylcysteine supplement, including the appropriate dose, to see if it’s useful for you. 

Ginseng for Lungs 

Some nutritionists put the Chinese herb ginseng on their list of COPD supplements. Ginseng is believed to improve lung function.  Though ginseng is not recommended because ginseng can cause high blood pressure, and many COPD patients already have elevated blood pressure. 

Improve Your Lung Function Naturally

Lung function is one of the most critical yet overlooked aspects of health. Many people struggle to lose weight, bring their cholesterol levels down, or keep their skin glowing, but they still skip exercise or smoke cigarettes.

A sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and air pollution can weaken your lungs in the long term. According to an article in the 2014 issue of journal Frontiers in Medicine, this may lead to lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), for instance, is often due to exposure to outdoor air pollutants and cigarette smoking.  This inflammatory disorder occurs in 20 to 30 percent of chain smokers. Its main symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, low energy, persistent cough, and recurring respiratory infections.

The great news is that you can improve lung function naturally through lifestyle alterations. Diaphragmatic breathing, regular exercise, good nutrition, and proper hydration can lead to better lung health.

[Also Read: Natural Tips To Strengthen Your Lungs]

Bottom Line

Discuss all vitamins and supplements for lungs with your medical practitioners before using any. That way, your medical care team can anticipate any interactions with your medicines. 

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