Vi­ta­min C may re­duce harm to in­fants’ lungs caused by smok­ing dur­ing preg­nancy

Iran Daily - - Health -

Vi­ta­min C may re­duce the harm done to lungs in in­fants born to moth­ers who smoke dur­ing their preg­nancy, ac­cord­ing to a ran­dom­ized, con­trolled trial pub­lished on­line in the Amer­i­can Tho­racic So­ci­ety’s Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Res­pi­ra­tory and Crit­i­cal Care Medicine.

In ‘Oral vi­ta­min C (500 mg/day) to preg­nant smok­ers im­proves in­fant air­way func­tion at three months: A ran­dom­ized trial,” Cindy T. Mcevoy, MD, MCR, and her coau­thors re­port that at three months of age, the in­fants whose moth­ers took 500 mg of vi­ta­min C in ad­di­tion to their pre­na­tal vi­ta­min had signi¿cantly bet­ter forced ex­pi­ra­tory Àows (FEFS). FEFS mea­sure how fast air can be ex­haled from the lung and are an im­por­tant mea­sure of lung func­tion be­cause they can de­tect air­way ob­struc­tion, eu­ wrote.

The re­searchers also dis­cov­ered an as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween the in­fant FEFS and a ge­netic vari­ant some of the moth­ers pos­sessed that ap­peared to am­plify the neg­a­tive im­pact of nico­tine on the ba­bies be­fore they were born. Other stud­ies have linked this ge­netic fac­tor, speci¿cally for the α5 nico­tinic acetyl­choline re­cep­tor, to in­creased risk of lung can­cer and ob­struc­tive lung dis­ease.

“Smok­ing dur­ing preg­nancy reàects the highly ad­dic­tive na­ture of nico­tine that dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fects the most vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions,” said Dr. Mcevoy, lead study au­thor and pro­fes­sor of pe­di­atrics at Ore­gon Health & Science Uni­ver­sity.

“Find­ing a way to help in­fants ex­posed to smok­ing and nico­tine in utero rec­og­nizes the unique dan­gers posed by a highly ad­ver­tised, ad­dic­tive prod­uct and the life­time ef­fects on off­spring who did not choose to be ex­posed.”

In a pre­vi­ous study, the au­thors had shown that 72 hours af­ter birth, ba­bies of moth­ers who smoked had bet­ter lung func­tion if their moth­ers were ran­dom­ized to vi­ta­min C (500 mg/day) dur­ing their preg­nan­cies com­pared to those born to moth­ers who smoked and were ran­dom­ized to placebo.

That study used pas­sive meth­ods to mea­sure lung func­tion, and the au­thors note that FEFS pro­vide a more di­rect assess­ment of air­way func­tion and are sim­i­lar to meth­ods used to di­ag­nose lung dis­ease in adults and older chil­dren.

In the cur­rent study, 251 preg­nant women who smoked were ran­domly as­signed at 13 to 23 weeks of ges­ta­tion to ei­ther re­ceive vi­ta­min C (125 women) or a placebo (126 women). Smok­ing was de¿ned as hav­ing had one or more cig­a­rettes in the last week. All par­tic­i­pants re­ceived smok­ing ces­sa­tion coun­sel­ing through­out the study, and about 10 per­cent of the women quit smok­ing dur­ing the study.

The re­searchers wrote that study re­sults sup­port the hy­poth­e­sis that ox­ida­tive stress caused by cig­a­rette smok­ing re­duces the amount of ascor­bic acid, a com­po­nent of vi­ta­min C, avail­able to the body. At the time they en­rolled in the study, the women had lower lev­els of ascor­bic acid than have been re­ported among women who do not smoke.

Those lev­els rose in study par­tic­i­pants who re­ceived vi­ta­min C to be­come com­pa­ra­ble to women who do not smoke.

In­fants in this study will con­tinue to be fol­lowed to track their lung func­tion and res­pi­ra­tory out­comes. The au­thors be­lieve that fu­ture tri­als of vi­ta­min C sup­ple­men­ta­tion in preg­nant smok­ers should de­ter­mine whether the bene¿ts are greater if the sup­ple­men­ta­tion starts ear­lier and con­tin­ues post­na­tally in the ba­bies them­selves.

Sum­ming up the ¿nd­ings of the cur­rent study, Dr. Mcevoy said that a rel­a­tively low dosage of vi­ta­min C may present “a safe and in­ex­pen­sive in­ter­ven­tion that has the po­ten­tial to help lung health of mil­lions of in­fants world­wide.”

How­ever, she added, help­ing moth­ers quit smok­ing should re­main the pri­mary goal for health pro­fes­sion­als and pub­lic health of¿cials.

“Although vi­ta­min C sup­ple­men­ta­tion may pro­tect to some ex­tent the lungs of ba­bies born to moth­ers who smoke dur­ing preg­nancy, those chil­dren will still be at greater risk for obe­sity, be­hav­ioral dis­or­ders and other se­ri­ous health is­sues,” she said.

Pub­lished by be­ingth­e­p­ar­

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