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Asthma Sufferers Could Benefit From Eating Their Greens

Posted Apr 16 2009 11:54pm

So it seems there could be another reason to encourage kids to get the greens in their diet - studies now reveal that they - along with liver - have asthma fighting effects.

Scientists discovered that those with a lack of vitamin A or C in their diet had lower defenses against developing the respiratory condition.

Great sources of vitamin A in food are dark green and yellow vegetables like broccoli, spinach and turnip greens, as well as carrots, squash and sweet potatoes. Outside the vegetable group, it occurs in liver, butter, cheese, eggs and milk. Vitamin C is present in similar vegetables as well as citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, pineapple and strawberries.

In the studies, a link was find between decreased amounts of vitamin C in the blood with a 12 per cent increase in likeness of the disease. Tests also revealed that asthmatics were likely to consume on average between and third and a quarter less vitamin A than the recommended daily amount.

In addition, analytical statistics showed people with severe asthma had the most decreased amounts of vitamin A. There was no link established with vitamin E.

The results come from one of the biggest studies into the association between vitamins and asthma. Researchers at the University of Nottingham discovered 40 important studies were carried out around the globe between 1980 and 2007 on the subject.

Jo Leonardi-Bee, from the university’s Department of Public Health, who led the study published in the journal Thorax, said, “It does appear that there is a link between diet and respiratory disease. It is unclear what the link is but it is probably to do with the anti-inflammatory properties of vitamins.”

Around five million people suffer from asthma in the UK, which is defined as a respiratory disease whereby the lungs overreact to irritants like pollution and tobacco smoke.

When someone is having an asthma attack, the bronchioles (little air pockets) constrict and let out histamine, which results in inflammation and thus it is more difficult to breathe. Vitamins are thought to play their part by couteracting the inflammatory stage.

The researchers added that their results were not succint enough to prove cause and effect and that other experiments where asthma sufferers had been given vitamin supplements were not positive.

“It is hard to know what dose to give, which vitamin and whether you are giving it for long enough,” Dr Leonardi-Bee said.

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