And another study supports vitamins for respiratory health
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- When it comes to your lungs, a couple of drinks a day may help keep the doctor away, researchers report.
Though considerable evidence has mounted that a daily dose of alcohol helps the heart, this study suggests the same may be true for lung function -- even for smokers.
"This is the biggest study that's ever looked at the possible protective effect of alcohol involving the lung," noted study author Dr. Stanton T. Siu, chief of pulmonary medicine at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Oakland, Calif.
"We found that that if you drank less than two glasses of alcohol per day of wine, beer, or hard liquor that you had much less likelihood of developing obstructive airways disease, which includes asthma and emphysema," he said.
"You do seem to get some benefit if you drink three to five drinks per day," added Siu. "But it wasn't as good if you drank just a little. And if you drank six or more, it actually had a bad effect. It made your lung function worse."
Siu was to present his findings Oct. 24 at the American College of Chest Physicians annual meeting, in Chicago.
Previous studies have indicated that other dietary interventions -- such as consuming vitamin D supplements -- might offer some measure of protection against developing lung health problems.
For the current study, Siu and his colleagues analyzed the health records of almost 178,000 patients living in northern California. All had undergone exams between 1964 and 1973 as members of the same local health plan.
Exam questionnaires completed at the time recorded their smoking and drinking habits, as well as their lung function histories.
According to the surveys, 61 percent said they had already experienced some kind of cardio-respiratory illness.
An almost identical percentage said they drank less tha
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