Vitamin C Helps Reduce Respiratory Workout Symptoms

First Posted: Dec 08, 2014 10:34 AM EST

Physical activity can increase oxidative stress levels. That's when vitamin C should come in to work as a bit of a helpful ally. It's involvement in the metabolism of histamine, prostaglandins, and cysteinyl leukotrienes, can help cure forms of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.

For the study, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of three studies that showed how vitamin C halved post-exercise FEV1 decline in participants who suffered from exercise-induced bronchonostriction. Five other examined studies also showed how it helped stop respiratory sysmptoms associated with oxidative stress from exercise.

A second analysis was also carried out on 12 participants who had asthma and were an average of 26, suffering from exercise-induced bronchoconostriction. The FEV1 and FEF60 levels before and after exercise were reported on vitamin C and placebo days, but the data was not thoroughly analyzed originally.

Findings revealed that in five out of the 12 participants, exercise caused a decline greater than 60 percent in FEF60 with a dramatic FEF60 decline. Fortunately, vitamin C helped increase post-exercise FEF60 in five of the participants by 50 to 150 percent. However, no mean difference between the vitamin C and placebo days was detected in the other 7 participants.

Study author Harri Hemila, MD, PhD, of the University of Helsinki, Finland, concluded that "given the safety and low cost of vitamin C, and the consistency of positive findings in the nine randomized trials on vitamin C against exercise-induced bronchoconstriction and respiratory symptoms, it seems reasonable for physically active people to test whether vitamin C is beneficial on an individual basis, if they have documented exercise-induced bronchoconstriction or suffer from respiratory symptoms such as cough or sore throat after taking vigorous exercise."

More information regarding the findings can be seen via the journal Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology.

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