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Vitamin C Supplementation Improves Lung Function in Infants of Pregnant Smokers

June 10, 2014

Vitamin C Supplementation Improves Lung Function in Infants of Pregnant Smokers

  1. F. Bruder Stapleton, MD

Vitamin C supplementation was associated with improved lung function at birth and reduced risk for wheezing at 1 year.

  1. F. Bruder Stapleton, MD

Smoking during pregnancy adversely affects lung development in infants. In a U.S. multicenter, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial, investigators examined whether vitamin C supplementation (500 mg/day) in pregnant smokers (≥1 cigarette/day) improves lung function and reduces risk for wheezing in infants. Researchers randomized 179 pregnant smokers who declined smoking cessation to receive vitamin C supplementation or placebo beginning at 22 weeks' gestation.

Infant pulmonary function tests (PFTs; ratio of time to peak tidal expiratory flow to expiratory time and passive respiratory system compliance per kg) measured within 72 hours of birth were significantly improved in the vitamin C group. Pulmonary function in newborns of mothers who received vitamin C supplementation was similar to that of infants of nonsmoking mothers. Average newborn respiratory rates were similar in the vitamin C and placebo groups. During the first year of life, infants of mothers who received vitamin C supplementation had significantly less wheezing than infants of mothers who received placebo (21% vs. 40%; relative risk, 0.56), but no significant difference in PFTs. Among a small subgroup of genotyped mothers, one risk allele was associated with the biggest decrease in lung function and the best response to vitamin C. Vitamin C supplementation was not associated with any serious adverse events.

Comment

All efforts should be made to induce pregnant women to cease smoking. Vitamin C supplementation is an inexpensive and safe way to protect newborn lungs from the damage of nicotine in pregnant women who continue smoking.

  • Disclosures for F. Bruder Stapleton, MD at time of publication Grant / research support NIH-NCI Editorial boards UpToDate

Citation(s):

Reader Comments (1)

Juan J Santana Physician, Pediatric Subspecialty, Puerto Rico USA (Caribbean)

By 1983 I used high dose of vit. C in control of chronic asthma mixed with cromolyn with excelent results. Only two pts. As I recall these was taken by study done in Nigeria ,Africa in 1983.

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