Written by Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS. Study finds that women consuming 28.4 grams of fiber per day had a 33% reduced risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is defined as “a slowly progressive disease of the airways that is characterized by a gradual loss of lung function”. It is the fifth-leading cause of death worldwide (1). While 12.1 million adults ages 25 and older were diagnosed with COPD in 2001, it’s estimated that another 24 million adults have evidence of impaired lung function. In 2001 alone, COPD cost our healthcare system over $32 billion (2).

Fortunately, a number of natural ways, including omega-3 fatty acids (3), creatine (4), N-Acetyl Cysteine (5), soy (6), and trace elements (7), can help maintain lung health. A 2007 study showed that 25 grams of fiber per day benefits lung health (7). Building on these findings, a new study (8) has again found that fiber benefits lung health.

The study involved 111,580 U.S. women and men from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study (9). They provided information on their total fiber intake as well as fiber intake from specific sources (cereal, fruit, and vegetables) via food frequency questionnaires. The researchers found that those with the highest 20% of total dietary fiber intake (28.4 grams per day) had a 33% reduced risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compared to those with the lowest 20% of total fiber intake (11.2 grams per day) (p-trend =0.03).

When the researchers looked at specific fiber sources, they found only cereal fiber to help lung health, with the highest 20% of intake (9 g per day) producing a 23% reduced risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, compared to those with the lowest 20% intake (2.2 g per day) (p-trend =0.07).

For the researchers, “These data suggest that a diet high in fiber, and possibly specifically cereal fiber, may reduce risk of developing [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease].”

Source: Varraso, Raphaëlle, Walter C. Willett, and Carlos A. Camargo. “Prospective study of dietary fiber and risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among US women and men.” American journal of epidemiology 171.7 (2010): 776-784.

Copyright © 2017 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Posted April 3, 2014.

Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Danville, CA.  You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at mail to:PitchingDoc@msn.com or visiting his web site at www.PitchingDoc.com

References:

  1. Pauwels RA, Rabe KF. Burden and clinical features of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Lancet 2004; 364:613-620
  2. “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease” posted on the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Website www.nhlbi.nih.gov
  3. Wataru M.  Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Inflammatory Markers in COPD.  Chest 128(6): 3817-3827
  4. Fuld JP.  Creatine supplementation during pulmonary rehabilitation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Thorax 2006; 60(7): 531-537
  5. Shan CAI.  Oral N-acetylcysteine attenuates pulmonary emphysema and alveolar septal cell apoptosis in smoking-induced COPD in rats.  Respirology 2009;14(3): 354-359
  6. Hirayama F.  Soy consumption and risk of COPD and respiratory symptoms: a case-control study in Japan.  Res 2009; 10:56-63
  7. El-Attar M.  Serum trace element levels in COPD patient: The relation between trace element supplementation and period of mechanical ventilation in a randomized controlled trial.  Respirology 2009.  Published Online: Sep 16 2009 8:45AM DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2009.01622.x
  8. Kan H.  Dietary Fiber, Lung Function, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.  American Journal of Epidemiology Advance Access published on December 5, 2007. doi:10.1093/aje/kwm343
  9. Colditz GA, Martin P, Stampfer MJ, et al. Validation of questionnaire information on risk factors and disease outcomes in a prospective cohort study of women. Am J Epidemiol (1986) 123(5):894–900.