New research by British scientists at the Division of Respiratory Medicine, University of Nottingham, shows that vitamin C protects the lungs, and may lower the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The researchers found that people with a high dietary intake of vitamin C and magnesium have healthier lungs, and with sustained levels of dietary vitamin C, lung health will deteriorate at a slower rate over time. This in turn prevents the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), reports Reuters Health.
There is a growing body of evidence linking vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals to improved health in respiratory conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis. It is thought that the health benefits derive from the antioxidants' effect on free radicals, the compounds that lead to aging and can also cause disease.
Reuters Health cites a previous study by Tricia M. McKeever and colleagues at the University of Nottingham of more than 2,600 adults. High levels of vitamin C and magnesium both corresponded with healthier lungs based on a measure of lung function called forced expiratory volume 1, or FEV1. A follow-up of around half of the participants confirmed the study findings.
"High vitamin C and magnesium intake are associated with higher levels of lung function," McKeever told Reuters Health. She added that over a period of nine years, those with a higher intake of vitamin C experienced less severe decline in lung function than those with a lower intake.
McKeever advised that a diet rich in food supplying vitamin C and other antioxidants appears to benefit lung health.