Vitamin E may reduce risk of lung disease

June 20, 2011

According to a new US study, daily supplementation with vitamin E may reduce the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by about 10%.

In a randomized controlled trial (Women’s Health Study) that ended in 2004, data from 38,597 women,
45 years and older, receiving either vitamin E supplements at a dose of 600 IU every other day plus aspirin at a dose of 100 mg every other day, or a placebo were analyzed. Over the course of the ten-year study, 760 new cases of chronic lung disease in the recipients of vitamin E were documented – compared with 846 cases in the recipients of the placebo (1). This was equivalent to a 10% decrease in the risk of developing chronic lung disease, which was not affected by the smoking status of the individuals.

The researchers noted that the oxidant/ antioxidant balance in lung tissue is hypothesized to contribute to the occurrence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); furthermore, they pointed out that observational studies consistently showed that a high status of antioxidants, such as vitamin E, associated with lower risk of COPD and asthma. COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest and other symptoms; cigarette smoking is the leading cause.


  1. Agler A. H. et al. Randomised vitamin E supplementation and risk of chronic lung disease in the Women's Health Study. Thorax. 2011; 66(4):320–325.