Vitamins could help asthmatics, research finds

Simply taking antioxidant vitamins could help asthmatics exposed to polluted air breathe easier, says UW graduate student Carol Trenga, who conducted a lung study while completing doctoral research at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

Preliminary results indicate that adults with asthma who took daily supplements of both vitamins E and C showed improved pulmonary function, compared to when they took a placebo, after being exposed to two common air pollutants, ozone and sulfur dioxide.

The study monitored pulmonary function in 17 asthmatic volunteers, who took a daily course of vitamins E and C (400 LU. and 500 mg., respectively) and a daily course of placebo for separate five-week periods.

People with asthma may not be the only ones who could benefit. Increases in daily vitamin intake may also benefit others exposed to chronic oxidative stress such as smokers or industrial workers, Trenga says.