May 30, 2002
A new study presented in the scientific magazine of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine shows that antioxidants like Vitamin C and E may protect the lungs of asthmatic children so that they are not harmed by ozone air pollution in the big cities.
158 asthmatic children from the very polluted Mexico City either got a supplement of antioxidants or a control supplement without active substances.
Nobody knew who got what before the code was broken at the end of the study one and a half year later.
The daily supplement given to the children was 50mg Vitamin E and 250mg Vitamin C. In the antioxidant group the children’s lung function was not reduced in those periods of time, where the city was heavily ozone polluted. On the contrary, the lung function of the children who got control tablets was worsened.
The scientists said, that the antioxidants especially seemed to help children with moderate or severe asthma. This points towards that children with advanced asthma are especially vulnerable to ozone, because thay have a weak antioxidant defence i their lungs.
Some asthmatics get severe symptoms, when they breathe in the air borne irritants like ozone found in big cities, coming from cars, power plants and industries.
Also studies made with healthy bikers have shown that antioxidants may reduce the harmfull effects of ozone pollution on lung function.
The scientists behind this study conclude, that asthmatic children in areas with air pollution should have more Vitamin C and E to protect their lungs.
The Vitality Council agrees with this conclusion.
Per Tork Larsen, DSOM
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2002;166: 703-70