British Lung Foundation
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Essential Vitamins for Emphysema

Hi All,

I am 35 years old and have been diagnosed with moderate emphysema (FEV1 of 60%). I am curious to know what vitamins people take and what you regard as essential and what the benefits of these vitamins are?

I currently take Vitamin D3 every morning and that is all. But have read posts that mention so many other vitamins are important too. Want to take some more but dont know which ones to take.

Many thanks,

George

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Have to disagree hypercat, that a balanced diet is enough for everyone with emphysema - many chronic conditions need a nutrient boost.

BUT so many with copd also have reflux whether diagnosed or not, and reflux, or the medication taken to control it, absolutely hinders absorption of B12, magnesium, calcium and possibly others I can't right now recall.

Also people don't absorb nutrients as well when they become older. Noting this for older members who may be reading, not obviously for George since he is just 35 :)

But you're right to suggest getting checks from the GP. Can you tell me where you learnt about overdosing on Vit D resulting in liver damage? Ive often read that Vit D3 can be taken in large doses with few known side effects.

Edit: Another point I just thought of is that people with copd tend to lose their appetite over time so may well not be getting the essential nutrients and careful use of supplements can help with this.

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Just commenting on the vitamin D. I was deficient in it, and the main concern was that it affects your calcium levels and mine were really low. After taking the course of vitamin D prescribed supplement for 3 months, I had to go back to check my calcium levels had improved (which they had). TOO much vitamin D can overproduce calcium which can be just as bad as too little (kidney stones for one?) that’s my limited knowledge, not sure of other side effects.

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Yes, you're right Thommo90 - I forgot to say that's why its essential to take Vit K2 (Mk 7) alongside the Vit D3 as it directs the calcium to your bones. Otherwise it can go all over the place and cause damage like you say. It seems that very many of us are deficient in Vit D but I only learnt of the importance of K more recently.

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I’m now on a daily supplement as advised by my consultant for Asthma, so there are definite benefits. Ironically, I’ve since discovered recently that the cause of my eczema was the milky lattes I drink daily, so therefore I’m now off the milk.. there goes my calcium levels!

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Have you thought of trying goat's milk? It's easier for many to tolerate than cows'. It has been recommended for exzema which is closely related to asthma for yonks, and the reason it's meant to be good is that the fat molecules are smaller than in cow's milk and easier to digest. Similar sized molecules to human breast milk apparently.

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I havnt actually but I will give it a go! My exzema really isn’t the worst by any means, I just have this patch and i stopped drinking coffee for s few weeks and it went, and I notice it comes back when I do have one. Still drink milk in my tea so small amounts doesn’t seem to bother it

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Hi, I'm a great believer in taking extra vitamins, minerals & probiotics, especially if challenged with disease of any kind &/or over 55. Most of us don't eat fresh vegetables grown in healthy life forming soil. The soil in the UK is depleted, full of chemical fertilisers - unless we can afford to grow or buy organic.

All of these things deplete the immune system: smoking, alcohol, infections and antibiotics. You need to do a little research to see what's best for you to keep your immune system strong to avoid chest infections.

If it helps, I use a little book by nutritionist Angela Dowden, The Pocket Guide To Vitamins. I find it brilliant for checking the maximum & minimum amounts and what's good for what. It's an accessible guide to vitamins, minerals, herbs & other supplements. Peege 😃

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Thanks for The Pocket Guide tip Peege - I didn't know of this. x

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Good to know Peege thank you 😊

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You can get an electronic copy via Amazon as well for when you're out n about. I mislaid the little book after 'the move' West and have recently found it. It lives on the sofa! It's a 2013 edition so perhaps time for a new one with updates. This is what I read the other day:

" Is Pelargonium The New Echinacea?.........also being hailed for its potential to ward off respiratory troubles is the herb pelargonium. The herb has already shown promise in asthma, acute bronchitis, coughs, and colds, but more recently it has given hope to sufferers of the more debilitating condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). More work needs to be done , but in a high-quality study, COPD sufferers who took the herb had a longer time between flare-ups, took fewer antibiotics and a better quality of life compared with those given a placebo. " Page 82, The Pocket Guide to Vitamins, Angela Dowden

I should add for new members reading that you should always check taking any supplements with your GP. Personally, I know I wouldn't be as well as I am now without them. Costs me about £10 a month & I'm definitely worth it! Peege xxx (I don't have copd).

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Sadly, my GP would look at me as if I had two heads and tell me supps were a total waste of money Peege - I just do my own research and take more supplements which leads to far fewer of his pills being needed. I will be getting Angela Dowden's book and thank you for the heads-up. I take H&B's over 50's vits. plus Bcomplex, VitC and VitD. and this has worked for years. Most of us have additional conditions like osteo/rheum arthritis which need a different lot of supps, and heart conditions, also different. I find trial and error is the only real yardstick - as with pharma meds we all respond differently to different supps.

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PS you're quite young to have moderate copd. If I were you I'd ask for the Alpha 1 Deficiency test. It's a simple test showing whether or not you have this genetic deficiency.

Wishing you all the best George. Peege

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Thank you for your comments peege. I will certainly look into that book.

I have had the alpha 1 test and I am awaiting the results. I got a FEV1 rating of 60% a few weeks ago at the hospital on a basic spirometry test and doctor says that puts me in the moderate category. I am scheduled to go for advanced lung function test in a few weeks.

I don't really feel breathless at the moment which is good. And do daily running on treadmill. I hope I do well in next lung function test.

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I’m 61% Fev1 and the respiratory consultant has classed my condition as “MILD airflow obstruction” despite the COPD nurse telling me I was moderate COPD!??

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You may want to consider turmeric, probiotics, NAC, and a multivitamin, but do your own research and discuss it with you doctor.

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VitaminC, personally I take a lot of supplements simply because I can’t consume enough nutrients. I’m outta breath by my 2nd or 3rd Vite- ask your doc or herbalist

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I take B, C and D. Double dose of B&C every morning and triple dose of D morning and evening. I’m fit and training in the gym 3x a week. I’ve had COPD for over 10 yrs and have managed to hold it back during that time. I’m also 71 yrs old and I ride a 1000cc sports bike all the time. I reckon I’m doing ok! But exercise is the key.

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My GP prescribed vitamin D and folic acid, and also recommended a multivitamin, CQ10 and osteocare. I do feel better in myself, even though the lung/ heart conditions remain the same.

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After reading all the above i see there is obviously no consensus on what works for emphysema. It could be the research just isn't there for anything definite, or it could also be just a load of crap. Especially if any blood work you have does not show any deficiency....why bother swallowing and buying pills. Unless of course you have a placebo effect and it just makes you "feel" better. So...I think I'll just take everything I can get my hands on. Or, maybe just make sure I eat a balanced healthy diet.

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I don't think the point is whether it works for emphysema as indeed there is no consensus that I know of, except maybe that it's well established that so many of us with copd are deficient in Vit D.

The point is more that our general wellbeing is worn down with a condition like copd, and for those of us who are older our absorption of nutrients from our diet isn't so good as before, so using judicious supplements to build ourselves up seems to help a lot of people. One should be careful about not getting sucked in to buying stuff without doing proper research, but on the other hand too much cynicism can work against you too :)

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My daughters a nutritionist and she has sorted my supplements and diet...i don't do any dairy just almond milk and take a probiotic, vitamin c, vit d spray, curcumin and serrapeptase and my himalayan salt pipe

, this works for me and for my moderate copd plus i try and walk everyday for at least 10 minutes and do yoga for an hour...of course everyone's different

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I take so many different medications for various conditions, it has made me nervous about adding in supplements because some things are contra-indicated. I've tried to research the subject but it can be very confusing. However I recognise that supplements are often useful in supporting the immune system and fighting inflammation, as well as providing the essential nutrients which can be missing from our diet.

I've decided to use some of my savings for a two-hour consultation with a private dietician (one who is knowledgeable about drugs) who can advise me what supplements to take and in what form (this is apparently important, eg powder, capsule, tisane.) If I learn anything of general interest to people with lung problems, I'll be straight on the forum to let you know!

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Have you discovered anything of interest yet?

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After reading all I can I decided best for me is omega 3 fish oil, vitamin d3, and magnesium citrate. I am currently researching pro biotics. Don’t want to take anything for the sake of it or the wrong thing/ fad.

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