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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a collective term for a group of chronic lung conditions including chronic bronchitis, refractory asthma, and emphysema. However, there are a number of supplements and remedies available that may help ease the symptoms of COPD.
People with COPD find it increasingly difficult to breathe. Among other symptoms, they may experience coughing, wheezing, and a feeling of tightness in the chest.
According to the COPD Foundation, people with COPD may need 430–720 more calories per day than other people, due to the effort they need to exert while breathing. In fact, 25–40% of people with COPD are also dealing with malnutrition, which interferes with their long-term prognosis.
There are also many different supplements and remedies that people with COPD can try to support their medical treatment and help them manage their condition. Keep reading to learn more.
Researchers have identified the following vitamins for COPD treatment and support:
1. Vitamin D
Taking vitamin D-3 supplements for COPD can also protect against moderate or severe flare-ups.
2. Vitamin C
Researchers have linked low levels of vitamin C to increases in shortness of breath, mucus, and wheezing.
3. Vitamin E
Studies suggest that people experiencing a flare-up of COPD symptoms tend to have lower levels of vitamin E than people whose COPD is stable.
Other studies suggest that long-term use of vitamin E supplements may help prevent COPD.
4. Vitamin A
According to one study, individuals with the highest intake of vitamin A had a 52% lower risk of COPD.
Researchers have identified the following minerals for COPD treatment and support:
Magnesium supports lung function, but some COPD medications may interfere with the body's ability to absorb it.
People should also exercise caution when taking magnesium supplements for COPD, because it can interfere with some drugs and cause side effects.
Calcium can help the lungs function, but some COPD medications may cause people to lose calcium. This makes it even more important for people with COPD to consider increasing calcium-rich foods in their diet.
If a person is not able to reach their calcium needs through the diet, it may be necessary to take a calcium supplement.
Researchers have identified the following additional supplements for COPD treatment and support:
7. Omega-3 fatty acids
Increasing the intake of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce inflammation for people with COPD. Although they occur in fish, seeds, and nuts, some people take fish oil supplements to make sure that they get enough of this nutrient.
8. Dietary fiber
Eating more dietary fiber may lead to a lower risk of COPD.
9. Herbal teas
In some parts of the world, many people with COPD use the following teas to reduce the symptoms:
- green tea
- chamomile tea
- lemon balm tea
- lime tea
- linseed tea
- sage tea
- thyme tea
- mallow tea
- rosehip tea
- mint tea
In fact, some research has shown that drinking green tea at least twice per day may reduce the risk of developing COPD.
Present in turmeric, some people call curcumin a natural anti-inflammatory.
Some traditional and alternative health advocates recommend ginseng supplements for COPD, to help build up lung strength.
When to see a doctor
COPD is chronic and progressive, which means that it does not go away and tends to get worse with time. People with COPD need to see their doctor regularly to monitor and manage their condition.
Even though prescription drugs cannot reverse the gradual decline in breathing capacity, they can help people with COPD manage their symptoms.
Also, getting regular flu shots can help people with COPD prevent illnesses that could cause serious complications. For these reasons, people with COPD need regular medical care.
Although taking supplements for COPD can be helpful, people with this condition should speak to a doctor or other healthcare provider about all the supplements they are taking or planning to take.
Vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other products may interact and interfere with COPD medications. They can also cause side effects.
COPD is a serious and chronic health condition.
Although there is currently no cure for this condition, medical treatment can help people manage their symptoms. Using herbal and nutritional supplements for COPD can also help with symptom management.
Before taking any supplements, however, a person should discuss their use with a doctor or other healthcare provider.
SHOP FOR VITAMINS AND SUPPLEMENTS
Some of the supplements listed in this article are available for purchase in stores and online.