Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma cost the United states over $30 billion in direct healthcare expenditures and $20 billion in indirect expenditure. It’s the leading cause of disability and one of the leading causes of death in America.
COPD can be divided into two categories: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Structural damage or changes to the bronchioles is given the name emphysema whereas inflammation to the lining of the bronchioles is called chronic bronchitis. Of course, smoking is one of the greatest risks for both, along with obesity, exposure to pollution, a sedentary lifestyle and more. Could nutrient and vitamin deficiencies, however, contribute to the issue? More importantly, could supplementation of certain vitamins provide greater positive outcomes to improve lung health?
Some studies are indeed indicating that nutrition plays a role in preventing lung diseases. Being that inflammation is a key contributor to COPD, vitamins and nutrients with proven efficacy of reducing inflammation may be vital to support lung health.
According to the National Institute of Health, vitamin A may play a critical role in the development and maintenance of cells in vital organs such as the kidneys, lungs and heart. If vitamin A is instrumental in the repair of lung tissue, it may point to a connection between optimal vitamin A levels and the prevention and improvement of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other lung-related illnesses.
It’s compelling that the lungs continue their development until the age of 30. With smoking cigarettes being the number one cause of chronic lung disease due to oxidative stress placed on the lungs, it’s not surprising to understand the ramifications of teen smoking to future health. It is even believed that cigarette smoking depletes the body of vital nutrients, such as vitamin A, that are necessary to protect the lung tissue from free radicals. For this reason, adequate vitamin A levels beginning at the developmental stage and continuing throughout adulthood may help counter the effects of free radicals on lung tissue and help maintain healthy lungs. This is information supported by the National Health, Lung and Blood Institute, based on their findings.
A 2003 study published in Molecular Aspects of Medicine supports this, as well. The study shows that vitamin A deficiency may increase the risk of respiratory illnesses and repeat infections, which can be managed with vitamin A supplementation.
A Georgetown University School of Medicine study published in 1997 showed that vitamin A can actually reverse emphysema in lab rats. Retinoic acid, which is a derivative of vitamin A, was able to normalize the size and number of the air sacs in the lungs, assisting them in moving more oxygen throughout the bloodstream as well as removing carbon dioxide more effectively. In other words, vitamin A assisted with optimal respiration.
Supporting the evidence that vitamin A supplementation is important to lung development and function in children is a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showing the importance of vitamin A supplementation during pregnancy. Infants had greater lung health in the arm of the study of women who supplemented with vitamin A throughout their pregnancy. These positive lung health outcomes were followed in these children for 13 years, showing consistently better respiratory function and reduced respiratory infection outcomes for the children whose mothers supplemented with vitamin A during their pregnancies.
Measles is a well-known, highly infectious respiratory infection. When it comes to managing the symptoms of measles, the World Health Organization (WHO) and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend administering 200,000 IU of vitamin A immediately to children older than one years if diagnosed with measles and a second dose of 100,000 IU the next day: “Vitamin A deficiency may be a large factor in determining the outcome of measles. . . .When a child with marginal stores of vitamin A gets measles, the available vitamin A is quickly depleted, presumably reducing the ability to resist secondary infections or other consequences. This would exacerbate the already reduced immunocompetence thought to be associated with measles infection.”
Evidence does appear to support vitamin A’s ability to reduce inflammation, influence pulmonary health outcomes and support immune function. A systematic literature search performed from 1989 until June 2010, in fact, revealed that individuals with the highest intake of vitamin A had a 52% lower risk of COPD. This meta-analysis emphasized the link between low levels of vitamin A and vitamin C and their relationship with increased risk of having respiratory issues, such as asthma and wheezing. Additional studies showed that these nutrients also helped manage symptoms associated with respiratory issues, such as reducing respiratory infections and exacerbation of symptoms.
Our Vegan ADK contains “micellized" Vitamin A in both forms (Palmitate and Beta-carotene). Micellized means it is delivered in extremely small droplets that are easily absorbed into the bloodstream.
Each serving (5 drops) supplies 1,507 mcg RAE of vitamin A (that's approximately 1,000 IU per drop).
Vitamin A also plays an essential role in healthy immune function and vision, normal growth and development, and the health of skin and mucous membranes.