COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Most people who have COPD smoke or used to smoke. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust, also may contribute to COPD. In the United States, the term “COPD” includes two main conditions—emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD is a major cause of disability, and it’s the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. More than 12 million people are currently diagnosed with COPD. Many more people may have the disease and not even know it.

Although it was discovered and isolated in the 1930s, vitamin E’s function in the body has come to light relatively recently. Vitamin E is an extremely important fat-soluble antioxidant. It insures the stability and integrity of cellular tissues and membranes throughout the body by preventing free radical damage.

Researchers from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY performed a study to determine whether vitamin E supplementation could reduce the risk of chronic lung disease in women. Data from the Women’s Health Study (WHS), a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial, was analyzed. Of the 38,597 female health professionals enrolled in the study two groups were formed, one group received 600 IU of vitamin E every other day while the other group received placebo every other day. The results were a 10 percent reduction in the risk of chronic lung disease in the vitamin E group compared to the placebo group. From the evidence of this recent trial, vitamin E was found to reduce the risk of chronic lung disease in women.1

1 Agler AH, Kurth T, Gaziano JM, et al. Randomised vitamin E supplementation and risk of chronic lung disease in the Women’s Health Study. Thorax. 2011.