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Vitamin C and Lung Health
By Dr. Jen Morganti, NEEDS Education Director

It's always a challenge to take a single, isolated nutrient and try to prove a health benefit within a research study. Unlike drugs, which have a clear mode of action on their own, nutrients usually work best in synergy with other nutrients and lifestyle factors. So when a metaanalysis (review of multiple studies) of one vitamin all show a similar clinical outcome, it is a significant finding.

A recent meta-analysis of nine studies on vitamin C for lung health (specifically exercise-induced bronchoconstriction or EIB) showed a positive correlation between vitamin C and lung health. The studies focused on EIB, a condition when the airways narrow during vigorous exercise, especially in cold air. It's very common in people with asthma and endurance athletes.

The test to determine exerciseinduced bronchoconstriction evaluates "forced expiratory volume" (FEV1), measuring the amount of air the lungs are able to exhale. When the FEV1 is decreased by 10% or more, it is considered bronchoconstriction. In this review of nine studies, it was found that vitamin C doses as small as 200 mg daily (and up to 1,500 mg) consistently reduced the decline of FEV1 and supported healthy breathing. The scientists reviewing the studies concluded that vitamin C is worth trying for physically-active people to support healthy lung function.

Hemila H. The effect of vitamin C on bronchoconstriction and respiratory symptoms caused by exercise: a review and statistical analysis. Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology 2014, 10:58

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