Increased intake of vitamin E from foods is associated with a reduced incidence of asthma. In addition, combinations of antioxidant supplements that contain vitamin E have been effective in reducing bronchoconstriction induced by ozone.
This knowledge prompted the UK research team to examine the effect of 500 mg/day natural vitamin E versus placebo (sugar pill) on asthma symptoms in 72 adults with mild to moderate asthma. The subjects continued to receive at least one dose of inhaled corticosteroid per day.
The main outcome measures were changes in respiratory capacity, symptom scores, bronchodilator use, and serum immunoglobulin E levels.
No significant differences were observed between the vitamin E and placebo groups after 6 weeks. The team had previously found a similar outcome for vitamin C and magnesium supplements in asthma � their trials indicate that these single nutrients are not effective.
Future studies of antioxidants should consider using combinations of antioxidants, whether in a synthetic preparation or in the form of whole food such as fruits, say the researchers.
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