Have a read at this???

Vitamin 'cure' for emphysema

A vitamin found in eggs and milk could hold the key to curing the potentially fatal lung disease emphysema, new research has revealed.

British scientists have found that retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A, can reverse damage caused to the lungs by the previously incurable disease.

Tests on mice have found that damaged lungs have been repaired to normal by the compound, which is already used to treat chronic acne.

Trials are now being carried out to see if it could have similar success if used on humans.

Emphysema is one of the most common respiratory diseases in Britain and causes progressive damage to the lungs, which can eventually kill. There is currently no cure.

Early symptoms include breathlessness but sufferers can be left gasping for breath and reliant on oxygen.

It usually affects older people and is generally the result of long-term damage to the lungs caused by smoking or exposure to other harmful substances.

Professor Malcolm Maden, of the Medical Research Centre for Developmental Neurobiology at King's College, London, said his team's research held out "great hope" for the development of a treatment for emphysema in humans.

He said the retinoic acid compound worked on tissue cells in the lungs, causing them to regenerate.

Emphysema begins with the destruction of tiny air sacs (alveoli), which creates permanent "holes" in the walls of the lungs.

As the air sacs are destroyed the lungs are able to transfer less and less oxygen to the bloodstream.

Prof Maden said that during the tests on mice his compound made the alveoli grow back again until they returned to normal levels.

He said: "We saw quite dramatic results. It is potentially hopeful for emphysema sufferers, and for premature babies who often suffer from loss of alveoli because of treatments given to stimulate lung growth."

Clinical trials have begun in America to see if the treatment could be used on humans.

A spokeswoman from the British Lung Foundation gave the research a cautious welcome.

She said: "The BLF welcomes any interesting developments in research which may offer new options to patients with COPD (an umbrella term for chronic bronchitis and emphysema), a severely debilitating condition.

"However, the BLF would like to examine this research to understand fully whether this might be a viable option in the future.

"Currently, COPD is the fifth biggest killer worldwide and is the only major cause of death increasing in the UK."

The research was based on a chemical compound of retinoic acid taken from Vitamin A, and not from a

Read more: dailymail.co.uk/health/arti...

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36 Replies

  • Hi I have read it and it does look interesting. I am not sure though that I believe anything written in the Daily Mail :O x

  • I have the same horror as you about the DM, Cough. But i think they are quite well regarded with their health reporting.

  • I haven't said anything which indicates i have closed mind my mind to this, so not happy to have that attributed to me. You can see from my replies below that my thoughts are fairly open on the subject.

    If you have a link i would very much like to read it. We all need information to give us hope of a possible cure - or even improvement.

    I'm picking up HU replies from my inbox one at a time, so sorry if I'm repeating stuff.

  • Agree with you there Cough. This type of post is becoming a regular sight. I suspect there is more than a whiff of commercial marketing behind this.

  • I have read that same information elsewhere as well but if I recall correctly it was dated in 2004 so am not sure why there has not been any further research or new results.

  • The update mentions the US study but again is from 2008 with seemingly no results of that study posted that I found anyway.

    I hope the Vitamin A is beneficial for COPD but just wonder why there has not been any further updates to this research which seemed promising.

    I am very happy that it has helped your wife and really hope it helps others just as much.

    Thanks for the info.

  • Hi

    i have tried to advise people earlier. This research only worked on mice not on rats and certainly not on humans. At the bottom of the article that you seem to have cut it also states that it was not given in supplement form. Vitamin A is dangerous to take as it is bad for the liver and also increases the risk of lung cancer, which people with copd like me have an increased risk from anyway. I know other people believe this to be a cure and working every piece of academic research i have read suggests otherwise. But like all things in life the choice is up to the individual.

    best wishes


  • Hi Justin, timely reminder. This research was going on (the FORTE trial) when i was first diagnosed in 2000. I agree that unsupervised use of Vit A is probably not a good idea. But, unconnected with the above, i recently upped my egg consumption to about 7 or 8 a week for breakfast and feel so much better, trapped air has gone down noticeably (c.f. 7 weeks pregnant down to about 5 months :) ), less fatigue, more energy and better walking ability.

    This could be a total coincidence, but its a nice fantasy that the eggs's Vitamin A has caused the improvement.

  • Totally agree, Vitamin A absorbed naturally is fine, Carrots, Eggs, Betroot, Sweet Potato, are great and the best way for the body to obtain Vitamin A, which is made in the liver. Taking a supplement in high doses is a different story. Like I say I am not here to preach, but one study I read around Vitamin A (NOT FOOD BASED) actually increased Emphysema in Rats.

    Keep up the eggs :)

    All the best


  • Hi again Justin, that's scary that rats got worse on Vit A. Maybe there's an optimum level and going over this is what is dangerous. All early days.

    Im not sure we can automatically absorb sufficient nutrients from our food - older people and those with compromised immune systems can have difficulty. I don't know for instance if Vitamin A absorption is affected by taking ppis for reflux, but certainly calcium and magnesium intake are compromised by this medication, and with the risk of osteoporosis from steroid use, I do take magnesium supplements which help with calcium absorption, and have a beneficial effect on soft muscle tissue functioning in the lungs.

    I am actually considering whether to start taking a moderate amount of Vit A, always with food of course. Perhaps 5000iu daily. I know my liver is normal due to tests I've had not so long ago, though our livers have to work extra hard processing all the "hard drugs" we have to take :) And simultaneously i shall continue to treat my food as medicine too.

  • I was not necessarily saying we shouldn't take supplements, but i always tell my healthcare team what i take, as you have seem to have done too.

    As I've replied to Jayspurs, absorption from food can be problematic for older people and those with compromised immune systems so that needs to be borne in mind when deciding whether or not to take supplements.

    I did see that post from stilltrucking which was useful.

    Good news your wife is likely to make a full recovery. But as i don't know what stage she was at when treatment started, i don't know what a full recovery means in her case or how to apply this to thinking about this research in general. Is her consultant saying that her lung damage has reversed - which is what the trial achieved with mice/rats? A CT scan would show that. Or maybe it means that her functionality is returning to normal.

    I'd be interested to hear more about this if you felt able to give more details. :)

  • I guess you had nothing to lose Graham and Im glad Pat is making such good progress. Thanks for telling us about it in more detail.

    All the best to both of you :)

  • i read your letter regarding vit A sent for them from the onsite chemist you mentioned i started taking 2 daily 2 weeks ago dont feel much improvement yet but i just recovering from a bad cough & cold keeping my fingers crossed i see some improvement we can only try thanks again your info was very interesting iv got copd diagnosed 2 years ago im also on oxygen 16hrs daily at i litre

  • thanks yes i was rushd into hospital 3yrs ago with pneumonia hadnt been well for a while always tired no energy had lots of tests couldnt find anything wrong since then my feet were swollen & face puffy had tests told my blood was too thick so i was put on oxygen 16hrs a day how life can change so quick im 60 yrs & have been a heavy smoker especially the last 3/4 yrs still having stress giving up completly but really trying cos im scared i watched my dad die with it 2yrs ago glad your wife is doing ok & keeps on the up lets look forard to thr spring

  • thankyou

  • Thanks for this justin :)

  • How does a person know how much trapped air they have?

  • Air trapping is a feature of copd. There are lung function tests which would indicate this i think, but i can easily tell the differences from day to day, or more likely week to week with seeing my abdomen being swollen up with the appearance of being pregnant, and uncomfortable pressure on the diaphragm. Its always much larger when i have a flare-up for instance.

    And of course whether i am able to take a full breath or not as trapped air takes up space in the lungs and keeps them inflated when they should be largely deflated when you breathe out. (Never fully deflated though even in someone who has normal lungs.)

  • I am familiar with air trapping but just wondered how you could tell when there was less air trapped.

    Thanks for the reply and explanation.

  • Well its a very "lay" explanation and sorry if i was preaching to the choir. Im sure there is a test which indicates the degree of air trapping - it might be the TLC - total lung capacity test?

    Anyone know for sure?

  • I have had a few PFTs but was more interested how you could tell on your own from day to day. The PFT is a "snapshot in time" so to speak. I don't know how much air trapping actually varies over time but believe there is more air trapping when exercising or breathing heavily and it normalizes after resting but the normalizing is what may be normal for you and not that of a normal person, or at least a person with normal lung function. I am just not sure how much variation there is on a daily basis.

    Thanks again

  • Definitely right about variation on exercise as that makes us hyperventilate.

    No idea really about daily basis, just that its worse when exacerbating which you might imagine as its harder to breathe. Im going to ask my consultant about it when i see him in April.

    Keep well jackdaw :)

  • Everybody

    I am not here to say it does not work for you if it does it does. but a follow up study clearly states it does not.


    The daily mail article also states

    The research was based on a chemical compound of retinoic acid taken from Vitamin A, and not from a dietary intake of the substance.

    Read more: dailymail.co.uk/health/arti...

    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    I am only expressing an opinion if it works for you, I am not here to argue

    Good Luck


  • No problem Justin, I think we need as much information as possible from both sides to get the fullest picture. Its great that one forum member has shown great improvement and i would like the link to find that write-up.

    But there needs to be a proper randomised trial with a large number of humans to be sure if it works, and maybe the scientists feel its too early for that and could be dangerous.

    From the WebMD link that stilltruckin posted it seems that smokers should beware of taking large doses Vit A. Maybe 10,000 a day wouldn't be enough to cause damage.

    Do you have a medical or scientific background?

  • This topic has been discussed in depth in this forum over the past couple of weeks. Just in reply to jayspur..stilltruckin gave the figures on how much Vit A is too much for we humans and from memory it was something huge like 100,000 units per day for 6 months for toxicity. Therefore the suggested dose of two 5000 units per day is a long way from being toxic to anyone. I to went in search of trials and research data on this subject and was disappointed that since it first came under the spotlight some 15 years ago it is still really in no mans land considering what a breakthrough/possibilites it was thought to have been. BUT I have also read positive articles on the use of this vitamin for copd including one that states much less cases of flu and colds. I have not found any and would be interested in knowing where to look for the proven relationship between lung cancer and Vit A? As traditional medicine doesn't offer much for emphysema I'm all for trying "safe" doses of well known alternatives that just "might" be helpful. What do we have to lose? More importantly what might we gain? Personally I'm trying Vit A, CoQ10 and half a cup of beetroot juice per day. That along with lots of exercise and good diet just might help. Its worth a try it can do no harm. Suz x

  • The lung cancer thing was to do with smokers taking very high doses of beta carotene - a vitamin A precursor with its own biological activity:


  • Thank you stilltruckin! I'll come back and read this again later in the day. They seem to note the connection with current smokers and not ex smokers. Suz x

  • Everybody

    I am not here to say it does not work for you if it does it does. but a follow up study clearly states it does not.


    The daily mail article also states

    The research was based on a chemical compound of retinoic acid taken from Vitamin A, and not from a dietary intake of the substance.

    Read more: dailymail.co.uk/health/...

    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    I am only expressing an opinion if it works for you, I am not here to argue

    Good Luck


  • Hi Graham I'll go back and read again. As I have said I'm all for trying but I also noted for all the promise and all the years since the mice study we still have not a lot to go on from trial results. Didn't one result in 2006/2007 say there was no improvement? Indeed to my "lay" interpretation it gets more complicated eg: emphysema induced in mice is different and therefore possibly a different response to the Vit A because the pathogens associated with smoking causing emphysema in humans could be different to that clincally induced in the mice. etc etc. BUT Im trying the Vit with a positive attitude. Suz x

  • Hi 1968, I found out about vitamin A when I was looking into it for eyesight improvement, I vaguely recall that it helps make new air sacs in the lungs, so would be good for both Hubby (Asthma) and myself (eyesight,) if it is true.

  • Many thanks helenann12, so much we are learning about how good vitamins are, my motto is I will try anything once :) and Hubby will be too. ;) :)

    Here's my vitamin story you might be interested in helenann12 -

    My Doctor told me my painful tailbone pain could not be cured and I would have to live with it.

    Due to skin cancer I was told to cover up all over and stay out of the sun which probably led to me being vitamin D deficient. (I was very lucky my excellent Doctor tested my bloods for it.)

    I later realized a good dose of D3, (but far more than my Doctor gave me,) cured not only my tailbone pain, but my sciatica pains, restless legs, hip pain and stiffness when getting up out of chairs or bed, I can now leap out of bed in the mornings instead of in stiffness and pain, if I forget to take my daily good dose of D3 all pains come back quickly, so I do know it works. Many friends and family are now on the D3 too.

    I expect you have heard of the - www.vitamindcouncil if not, certainly worth a read, even for up to date dose amounts needed and other conditions vitanin D l links to.

    I am not surprised vitamin D deficiency is also linked with COPD. (I have just looked it up.)

    I do know it is good for Asthmatics, because it reduces inflammation.

    (Hubby has Asthma, but now says he feels far better.)

    Thanks again helenann12, I will pass this important 'Vitamin A' information on to others. :)

  • 1968 Thanks. I already take Vit C, vit D3 and I take this in cod liver oil which contains a lot of Vit A.

    I also go to the gym which has saved me from deterioration and play the flute which will improve my lung, my posture, my muscle tone... and perhaps my enjoyment too! Mic

  • Good for you mate, good to hear you are doing OK. Keep up the good work.

    All the best David

  • Mike 71.

    I earnestly & sincerely hope & pray that this works, I don't wish to seem negative , but I have seen so many of these so called miracle cures but I am still gasping for breath,if it turned out to be a great success the NHS would say they cannot afford to fund it like they did with my lung valve op.

    Best wishes to all, Mike

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