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Vitamin Supplements May Help People With Cystic Fibrosis

MONDAY, Oct. 3, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- More than 160,000 people around the world have cystic fibrosis, and supplementing with vitamins C and E could help reduce the damaging inflammation in their lungs, according to new research.

"Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that is associated with increased inflammation, and like many inflammatory diseases, it comes with a large amount of oxidative stress," said Maret Traber, a professor at Oregon State College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

This new study looked at whether supplementing with high-dose vitamin C would help patients better absorb vitamin E.

People with cystic fibrosis also have trouble with fat absorption. This can limit uptake of vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble antioxidant, said Traber.

"Low vitamin E levels plus high oxidative stress is a recipe for more inflammation, which can contribute to a range of negative health outcomes," Traber said in a university news release.

Having difficulty with fat absorption means that patients need to consume more vitamin E, at least 400 milligrams daily to achieve normal blood concentrations, she added.

Vitamin C can recycle oxidized forms of vitamin E, and it is also helpful at tamping down the oxidative stress aspects of inflammation, Traber said.

Cystic fibrosis patients in this study were given 3 1/2 weeks of daily 1,000-milligram doses of vitamin C.

In the study they showed a trend in lower blood concentrations of a key oxidative stress biomarker, malondialdehyde or MDA, and a slowdown in vitamin E elimination from the bloodstream.

"Since vitamin E is hanging around longer, it might be able to get into tissues better, and better protect cell membranes from oxidative stress," Traber said.

People with cystic fibrosis experience lung inflammation and mucous buildup that blocks airways. Their median life expectancy is age 40.

Smokers also have problems associated with oxidative stress and may also benefit from extra vitamin C and possibly extra vitamin E, Traber said.

Patients with metabolic syndrome may benefit, too, she noted.

"This study used vitamin C far in excess of what someone can easily obtain from the diet,” Traber said. “One thousand milligrams is the equivalent of 15 oranges or four or five medium bell peppers. But the research does suggest a high dosage may be beneficial in inflammatory conditions.”

The journal Nutrients published the findings.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on cystic fibrosis.

SOURCE: Oregon State University, news release, Sept. 28, 2022

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