Asthmatic Children Lack Vitamin C

Children with low levels of vitamin C may be more likely to develop asthma, researchers report. In a nationwide study, children with asthma tended to have lower blood levels of the vitamin than children with healthy lungs. Despite this association, however, it is too soon to say that a lack of adequate vitamin C causes asthma, the study's lead author told.

"These results, along with results from other studies, support the hypothesis that certain vitamins may prevent or ameliorate asthma," Dr. Robert A. Wise of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore told. But Wise cautioned that the findings do not prove that vitamin supplements can prevent or treat asthma. "Vitamin C may only be a marker for other unmeasured micronutrients or exposures," he said. Clinical trials will be necessary to determine whether vitamin C can prevent or treat asthma. Vitamin C and other antioxidants target a process called oxidation in which cell-damaging substances called free radicals accumulate.

Results of the study appear in the American Journal of Epidemiology. All children in the study underwent testing to measure blood levels of vitamins A, C and E. Levels of antioxidants called carotenoids, a group of compounds that produce the red, yellow and orange colors found in many fruits and vegetables, were also measured, informs &to=' target=_blank>

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