CHEST 2007: Antioxidants May Benefit Smokers

Smokers' lung function improves with supplemental vitamins A, C and E

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Smokers who take supplemental antioxidant vitamins A, C or E -- either separately or together -- may experience improved lung function, according to research presented this week at CHEST 2007, the 73rd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians in Chicago.

Kazi S. Bennoor, M.D., of the National Institute of Diseases of Chest and Hospital in Bangladesh, and colleagues studied lung function in 200 apparently healthy male smokers aged 30 to 50 with at least 11 pack-years. The investigators randomly assigned subjects to take either 10,000 IU of vitamin A, 500 mg of vitamin C, or 200 IU of vitamin E per day for two months or to take the same dosages of all three vitamins for two months. They then had the subjects cease supplementation. After another six months, the subjects' lung function was reassessed.

The researchers found that all three vitamins -- especially when all three were taken together -- were associated with better scores on lung function tests. But the smokers' scores still did not match those of non-smoking controls. At the end of the study, Bennoor's team found that the smokers' lung function had declined from levels observed after two months of supplementation, suggesting that antioxidant vitamins should be consistently taken to have a beneficial effect.

"Clinicians may prescribe antioxidant supplementation for smokers to improve their lung function," the authors conclude.


Physician's Briefing