Study Finds Vitamin C May Help Reduce Air Pollution-Related Hospitalization

Something that may be of interest to those who have had trouble breathing on some of Louisville’s unhealthy air days this summer: increase your vitamin C intake.

A study published in the journal Epidemiology last month found that people with low levels of vitamin C (and asthma or COPD) had trouble breathing on bad air days. They were 1.2 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital than their similarly ill and vitamin C-infused counterparts, as Lindsey Konkel reports for My Health News Daily.

Study researcher Cristina Canova said, “the protective effect of vitamin C was still present after excluding smokers and elderly subjects, implying that the effect of this antioxidant was not explained by smoking or age.” However, the study noted that smokers and older people tend to have lower levels of many nutrients than nonsmokers.

Because the study participants had either asthma or COPD, it’s not clear whether vitamin C would benefit people without these ailments.

Most people get enough vitamin C in their daily diet, said Dr. Fernando Holguin, a pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and taking high doses of the vitamin has never been shown to improve asthma.

It’s important to note that most of Louisville’s air pollution problems have been caused by ozone this summer. This study looked at the problems associated with particulate matter. But if you have chronic lung problems, or even if you don’t, it still probably wouldn’t hurt to eat some citrus and broccoli.

Erica Peterson

Erica Peterson reports on energy and the environment for WFPL.

@ericampeterson

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