Researchers Report that Antioxidant Vitamins Reduce COPD Risk

Patricia Inácio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inácio, PhD |

Share this article:

Share article via email

In a new study entitled “The effect of dietary antioxidant on the COPD risk: the community-based KoGES (Ansan–Anseong) cohort”, the authors report that antioxidant vitamins have a beneficial effect on the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung function. The study was published in the open access platform Dove Press.

COPD is an obstructive lung disease characterized by airways that become thick and inflamed, leading to progressive symptoms of shortness of breath and cough. The disease is highly associated with cigarette smoking due to the increase of harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the lungs. While in the Asia–Pacific region the incidence of COPD has decreased, the opposite is observed in South Korea.

Dietary consumption of antioxidants was previously shown to exert an antioxidant effect in the lungs and prevent the damage induced by ROS. Accordingly, a recent study actually suggested that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a potential strategy to decrease the risk for COPD. However, there is still the need for further studies to investigate the relationship between a diet rich in antioxidant vitamins with the risk of COPD and lung function.

To this end, here the authors collected data from a community-based Korean Genome Epidemiology Study (KoGES) cohort, including subjects from both urban and rural areas. 6,781 COPD risk subjects entered the analysis and were followed up for 2 years. Lung function and the amount of antioxidant vitamin intake was measured and estimated, respectively, during each visit.

Interestingly, the authors observed a greater risk for the development of COPD in individuals with low education, low household income, lower body mass index and with cigarette smoking habits. Remarkably, such risk decreased with an increase in the amount of antioxidant vitamin intake. In addition, the team observed an improvement in lung function in patients with an antioxidant vitamin rich-diet. Researchers were unable to find any statistical significance between the cigarette smoking group of individuals and their vitamin intake in relation to the risk of COPD development.

In conclusion, the authors suggest a beneficial effect of the dietary consumption of antioxidants, particularly vitamins C and E, associated with the risk of COPD development as well as lung function.