Vitamin C may help prevent the damage caused by second-hand tobacco smoke, offering a way for people to protect themselves from smokers in their lives.
A small American study of 67 nonsmokers exposed to environmental smoke showed those who took 500 milligrams of vitamin C daily had lower levels of a compound linked to the damage done by tobacco smoke.
The study did not last long enough to tell whether the vitamin takers were less likely to have cancer or heart disease, but researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study, found the results encouraging. They show that vitamin C may help protect nonsmokers from the oxidative damage caused by second-hand tobacco smoke.
Oxidative damage has been compared to rust damaging metal. It is caused by charged particles known as free radicals, and can be counteracted by antioxidants including vitamin C.
The message of the study is clearly not that taking vitamin C makes smoking or exposing others to smoke OK. But, if you are in a situation where you cannot escape frequent exposure to second-hand smoke, it may be worthwhile to take vitamin C supplements as a precautionary measure.
And, as always, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.