Everyone knows that vitamin C helps to support the immune system. It’s also a potent antioxidant that promotes wound healing and plays many other roles in human health. Vitamin C helps to detoxify the body on a cellular level and protects the body against damaging free radicals and toxins and boasts many health benefits beyond the immune system. New research has demonstrated that one of these benefits may lie in the prevention of chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder, which is commonly referred to simply as “COPD.”
COPD is a disease that effects the lungs and is known for making breathing difficult. The condition is characterized by obstructions caused by inflamed and thickened airways in the lungs. COPD is known for its progressive symptoms including a persistent cough and shortness of breath. Cigarette smoking is heavily associated with the development of COPD.
Vitamin C could be a path to prevention
New evidence from a Korean research team has demonstrated that vitamin C could be essential to preventing the development of COPD, especially in current smokers. To begin their research, the team analyzed data that was collected from the Korea 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Information from 3,283 adults that were over the age of 40 was used for their analysis. These adults had undergone a pulmonary function test and had responded to questionnaires on smoking habits, vitamin C intake and weight.
Of all the participants, 512 had been diagnosed with COPD based on their pulmonary function testing. Many different variables were associated with having COPD, such as smoking, living in a rural area, low household income, low education level and occupation in agriculture or fishing. Nutritionally speaking, diets low in vitamin C, carotene, and potassium were also associated with COPD incidence.
By using multivariate analysis, the researchers found that male gender, old age, heavy smoking, and a low intake of vitamin C were all significant independent risk factors for having COPD. The team discovered that heavy smokers seemed to benefit most from vitamin C consumption when it comes to reducing COPD risk. Heavy smokers who consumed higher amounts of vitamin C had a 76.7 percent reduction in COPD risk. Overall, vitamin C seemed to offer substantial protective benefits against the condition. The researchers stated in their abstract’s conclusion, “This large-scale national study suggests that dietary vitamin C provides protection against COPD, independent of smoking history, in the general Korean population.”
Previous research on vitamin C and COPD
Other studies have also indicated that vitamin C could be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of COPD. In 2012, another group of Korean researchers also found that vitamin C and dietary antioxidants could help reduce the risk of COPD. The team used data from the Korean Genome Epidemiology Study (KoGES) to conduct their research. That data revealed that both vitamin C and vitamin E reduced the risk of COPD significantly, especially in men.
In 2013, Matthew J. Rossman of the George E. Whalen VA Medical Center and the University of Utah led a research team that examined what benefits intravenous vitamin C could provide to COPD patients, compared to placebo. Previous research had shown that reducing the load of oxidative stress put on the body can help improve the skeletal muscle function in COPD patients.
After the groups of COPD patients were given their vitamin C or saline placebo, the researchers asked the participants to perform knee extension exercises. The study subjects were also asked to undergo neuromuscular function tests. Their findings demonstrated that vitamin C helped to improve muscle function and reduce fatigue in COPD patients. The finding also highlighted the role oxidative stress plays in the skeletal muscle problems that also often go along with COPD.
Overall, it seems that vitamin C could play an important role not just in the prevention of COPD, but treating some of the symptoms associated with it as well. [RELATED: Learn more about disease prevention at Prevention.news]