Researchers have found that vitamin C plays an important role in normal airway function, may prevent symptoms associated with airway diseases such as cystic fibrosis and asthma, and may even help alleviate the dry cough suffered by smokers. The findings are a first step toward the evaluation of vitamin C as a therapeutic agent in the complementary treatment of asthma, cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive lung disease.
Researchers found that low levels of vitamin C may contribute to a progression of common inflammatory airway diseases. Inflammatory airway diseases obstruct breathing and can literally leave patients gasping for breath.
Lead researcher Beate Illek, PhD, and her team 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. “When the airway is not sufficiently hydrated, it becomes susceptible to infections, which may eventually cause asthma attacks in asthmatics,” said Illek. “Increased intake of vitamin C may loosen those sticky airway secretions and improve clearance in the respiratory tract. Vitamin C may prove to be an effective, safe and low-cost treatment to improve current therapies, including bronchodilators, anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics.”
Children’s Hospital & Research Center at Oakland, Mar 18, 2004