The Effects of Dietary Supplements on Asthma and Lung Cancer Risk in Smokers and Non-Smokers: A Review of the Literature

Nutrients. 2019 Mar 28;11(4):725. doi: 10.3390/nu11040725.


Smoking is one of the major global causes of death. Cigarette smoke and secondhand (passive) smoke have been causally related to asthma and lung cancer. Asthma is a potential risk factor for developing lung cancer in both smokers and non-smokers. Prospective studies and randomized control trials (RCTs) of dietary supplements and lung cancer risk in adult smokers and non-smokers have yielded inconsistent results. A few prospective studies have shown that long-term use of high doses of some supplements, such as retinol, β-carotene, B vitamins, and vitamin E, increase lung cancer risk in current and former smokers. Limited evidence from RCTs suggests that vitamin D supplementation is effective in improving lung function and reducing asthma risk in current/former smokers. The relationship between dietary supplements and lung cancer risk has never before been examined in asthmatic smokers and non-smokers. This short review aims to examine the evidence from existing studies for the effects of dietary supplements on asthma/lung cancer risk and mortality in smokers and non-smokers.

Keywords: asthma; current smokers; dietary supplements; former smokers; lung cancer; non-smokers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthma*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Non-Smokers*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smokers*