The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Vitamin C for asthma?

     Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in the fluid that surrounds the lung. Low vitamin C intake is associated with lung dysfunction.

    This Cochrane review looks at the evidence for vitamin C (ascorbic acid) as treatment for asthma.

    First, the details.

    • Studies were included if they dealt with the treatment of asthma using vitamin C supplementation.
    • 9 studies in 330 participants met this review criteria.
    • 5 studies actually had data the reviewers could use.

    And, the results.

    • Study design varied and the reporting was generally poor.
    • One small study showed a significant difference in percent drop in FEV1 after exercise.
      • FEV1 is the amount of air that can be forcibly exhaled from the lungs in the first second of a forced exhalation. It’s an important measure of lung function.

    The bottom line?
    As you might guess, the authors concluded, “At present, evidence… is insufficient to recommend a specific role for vitamin C in the treatment of asthma.”

    The positive study referred to above included 8 patients who took vitamin C 1500 mg per day for 2 weeks and then placebo or vice versa — crossover design. In addition to the positive effect on FEV1, asthma symptoms scores significantly improved with ascorbic acid compared to the placebo.

    3/20/09 21:20 JR

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