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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vitamin E shown to reduce risk of COPD

Of all the patients we RTs care for in the hospital setting, a majority are COPD patients. That's not a coincidence, as in the year 2000 it was responsible for the deaths of 2.74 million people, and by the year 2020 the World Health Organization predicts COPD to be the leading cause of death in the World.

While smoking is a leading cause of COPD, many are being diagnosed with this disease, or asthma, due to the high amounts of air pollution, both man made and natural occurring. So while the number of people who smoke is declining, the number of those being diagnosed with some type of COPD is still increasing.

Yet new research shows that "supplementing" your diet with Vitamin E may reduce your risk of developing COPD or of your COPD worsening with time. In fact, a recent randomly controlled study showed this reduction was as much as 10%.

This article from, notes that it's not easy to get enough Vitamin E from our normal diet, so taking a Vitamin E supplement is essential. Likewise, the post notes you can get Vitamin E from the following food sources:
  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Kiwi
  • Peanuts
  • Spinach
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Vegetable and Seed/Nut Oils (sunflower oil, almond oil, olive oil, palm oil, peanut oil, etc.)
Vitamin E is essential to our bodies because free radicals get into our bodies via cigarette smoke and pollution in the air, such as "burning fuels in smokestacks, car exhaust pipes or house chimneys or from the formation of ground level ozone during hot weather," according to fellow asthma expert. Kathi MacNaughton in her post, "Are We at Risk From Free Radicals in Our Air?"

A free radical is any electron that has a single unpaired electron in its outer shell, and when it gets into our body it does whatever it needs to do to get what it needs. This can often result in disease formation in the human body, such as asthma or COPD.

Kathi notes our bodies don't have a defense mechanism against free radicals. Although antioxidents are known to interact safely with free radicals and "stop their action before vital cells are damaged." And, she notes a major source of antioxidents is vitamin E, C and beta carotene.

So while this new wisdom is still in the study phase, if you have a family history of lung disease, you may want to think about supplementing your diet with vitamin E.

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