Asthma Research

Serum vitamin A concentrations in asthmatic children in Japan.

June 2006

Citation: Pediatr Int. 2006 Jun;48(3):261-4.
Authors: Mizuno Y, Furusho T, Yoshida A, Nakamura H, Matsuura T, Eto Y.
Institution Department of Pediatrics, Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.
DOI Full Text ID 10.1111/j.1442-200X.2006.02200.x
PubMed® ID 16732791


BACKGROUND: Vitamin A is an essential micronutrient with important roles in immunity and maintenance of normal epithelial cell differentiation. Little information is available regarding the relationship between vitamin A concentrations and asthma despite the repair of epithelial and other structural changes being of utmost importance for the relief of symptoms and control of the disease. The authors evaluated vitamin A and vitamin E concentrations in well-nourished children with asthma.

METHODS: The serum vitamin A and vitamin E concentrations were measured by high performance liquid chromatography methods. Statistical analysis was performed using the Mann-Whitney U-test and Peason's correlation coefficient test.

RESULTS: According to these methods, the mean serum vitamin A concentrations were significantly lower (19.41+/-7.45 microg/dL, mean+/-SD) in asthmatic children than controls (29.52+/-11.34 microg/dL, P=0.0001). To compare the correlation of C-reactive protein and serum vitamin A concentrations, there was also significant difference between the two groups.

CONCLUSION: The data suggest that there is a correlation between vitamin A deficiency and the mechanism of asthmatic response. These data support that the mechanism of hypovitaminosis A in asthmatic children may involve not only the acute phase response but also the various degrees of chronic epithelial damage of airways.


Antioxidant vitamin supplementation in asthma

February 2, 2007

The influence of nutrition on chronic bronchial asthma has an important place in the management of this disease. Evidence suggests that specific inflammatory abnormalities exist in the airways of subjects suffering from mild-to-moderate persistent asthma, in whom an inflammatory state is often associated with increased generation of reactive oxygen species and the damaging effects of free radicals. For this reason oxidant stress may be an important pathogenic factor in the progress of the disease. The role of nutrition in bronchial asthma is related to antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E. By counteracting oxidants and reducing external attacks (bacteria, virus, toxins, xenobiotics) in the lung, antioxidant vitamins modulate the development of asthma and the impairment of pulmonary function. Dietary studies suggest relations between oxidative stress, bronchial inflammation, development of asthmatic symptoms, and reduction of cellular functions. Dietary interventions may reduce oxidant stress and prevent or minimize asthmatic symptoms. Such interventions may provide a cost-effective approach to asthma management that may supplement current pharmacological strategies, although this conclusion is not supported by many randomized, placebo-controlled studies. The aim of this short review is to summarize current knowledge regarding the relations between antioxidant vitamins and the treatment of bronchial asthma.



Asthma Caused by Deficiency in Vitamins

October 10, 2009

Low vitamin intake may increase the risk and severity of asthma, according to a study conducted by researchers from Nottingham University and published in the journal Thorax. "Our findings indicate that low levels of vitamin C intake and to a lesser extent vitamin A are consistently associated with asthma risk to a degree that, if causal, would be sufficient to be clinically relevant," said lead researcher Jo Leonardi-Bee. Bee said that further research was needed to determine whether insufficient vitamin levels might actually be a cause of asthma. The researchers combined the results of 40 different studies into the relationship between vitamin levels and asthma risk carried out between 1980 and 2007. They found that people with asthma had a significantly lower daily intake of vitamin A than those without the disease. They also found that those with more severe asthma had a significantly lower vitamin A intake than those with a milder form. People with severe asthma had a vitamin A intake that was 50 percent too low. Analysis of vitamin C data revealed that people with insufficient vitamin C intake had a statistically significant 12 percent higher risk of developing asthma than those with a higher intake of the vitamin. Vitamin C is common in fresh fruit and vegetables. Vitamin A is found in yellow or orange vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, as well as in certain animal foods. The researchers found no relationship between vitamin E intake and asthma risk. They did find, however, that people with severe asthma had significantly lower levels of the vitamin in their blood than people with mild asthma. People with severe asthma had vitamin E levels suggesting a daily intake that was 20 percent too low.



24 April 2008

It was news when it was first revealed three years ago - and it was news again last week: antioxidant vitamins can speed up the development of cancer. But the researcher who first published the study has now admitted that she got it wrong.The original study - which made headlines around the world - found that cancer patients who took either vitamin A (beta-carotene) or E (alpha tocopherol) supplements were 40 per cent more likely to suffer a recurrence of their cancer than those who didn't take any supplements. Ever since, nutritionists and alternative therapists have been on the back foot, and have tried to defend the antioxidants. Their task was made even tougher last week when the prestigious Cochrane Collaborative released a meta-analysis that suggested that antioxidants may even shorten our life. But the research, led by Isabelle Bairati from the Quebec Research Centre, who published the 2005 study, have re-analysed their original data, and have discovered they got it wrong. The only people in the study who were seeing their cancer return were smokers who refused to kick the habit while they were receiving radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Strangely, not a single newspaper has run with the story.

Source: International Journal of Cancer, 2008; 122: 1679-83.


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