A systematic review of the role of vitamin insufficiencies and supplementation in COPD

Respir Res. 2010 Dec 6;11(1):171. doi: 10.1186/1465-9921-11-171.


Background: Pulmonary inflammation, oxidants-antioxidants imbalance, as well as innate and adaptive immunity have been proposed as playing a key role in the development of COPD. The role of vitamins, as assessed either by food frequency questionnaires or measured in serum levels, have been reported to improve pulmonary function, reduce exacerbations and improve symptoms. Vitamin supplements have therefore been proposed to be a potentially useful additive to COPD therapy.

Methods: A systematic literature review was performed on the association of vitamins and COPD. The role of vitamin supplements in COPD was then evaluated.

Conclusions: The results of this review showed that various vitamins (vitamin C, D, E, A, beta and alpha carotene) are associated with improvement in features of COPD such as symptoms, exacerbations and pulmonary function. High vitamin intake would probably reduce the annual decline of FEV1. There were no studies that showed benefit from vitamin supplementation in improved symptoms, decreased hospitalization or pulmonary function.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Avitaminosis / drug therapy*
  • Avitaminosis / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Dietary Supplements / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*


  • Vitamins