A study has found that vitamin C may prevent symptoms associated with airway diseases such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The findings were published in the March 2,2004, issue of the Proceedings of the [U.S.] National Academy of Sciences.
In the two-year study, researchers discovered that vitamin C supports the normal hydration of airway surfaces, while vitamin C deficiency may lead to dry, sticky mucus membranes lining the airway. Thus, low levels of vitamin C may play a role in the progression of common inflammatory airway diseases by making the airways susceptible to infections. Vitamin C was tested on the function of a cell protein called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR).
A cystic fibrosis model was also used to examine the role of vitamin C on abnormal CFTR. The findings of cellular testing were confirmed by instilling vitamin C into the nasal passages of healthy human subjects. The results suggest that supplemental vitamin C may improve airway symptoms. A survey by the U.S. Department of Healthy and Human services revealed a link between fruit consumption, vitamin C intake and the risk of asthma. Deficiencies of vitamin C have been reported in the airways of asthmatic patients.
Vitamin C may prove to be an effective, safe, and low-cost treatment to improve current therapies, including bronchodialtors, anti-inflammatory medications, and antibiotics, noted lead researcher Beate Lilek, Ph.D., of the Childrenâ€™s Hospital & Research Center (Oakland, CA, USA).