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Nutrition & Wellness Channel
Reported May 13, 2002

Vitamin C Beneficial for Lung Health

A new study finds a diet rich in vitamin C could reduce the risk of lung problems.

More and more studies are finding dietary factors play a key role in lung function. In particular, there is evidence that individuals with a high intake of vitamin C, A, and E tend to have higher levels of lung function. Other studies have also suggested an association between higher magnesium intake with higher lung function and a reduced risk of asthma.

Nine years ago researchers from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom investigated the relationship between lung function and dietary intakes of magnesium, vitamin C and other antioxidant vitamins. Now, the researchers have repeated the study with half of the same individuals who were part of the first study. Participants answered questions about their diet, and smoking and had their breathing levels tested again.

The study finds, after adjusting for smoking, higher intakes of vitamin C and magnesium, but not vitamin A and E were associated with higher levels of lung function. Plus, the decline in lung function over the nine years was lowest among those who had the highest levels of vitamin C. The loss of function had no relationship between intake of magnesium, vitamin A or E.

Researchers conclude a high dietary intake of vitamin C or of foods rich in this vitamin may reduce the rate of loss of lung function in adults. This in turn may help to prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

SOURCE: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2002;165:1299-1303

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