Recent study findings from the University of Medicine Bichat in Paris report that an increased intake of beta-carotene may reduce the loss of lung function due to aging.
As part of the natural aging process, lung function declines with age. The decline is even more pronounced in smokers, since tobacco increases the oxidative stress on the lungs. It has been suggested that by increasing the intake of antioxidants, found naturally in carrots, broccoli and tomatoes, that this decline could be slowed.
The study followed over 500 participants from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS). Researchers measured antioxidant levels with beta-carotene blood levels and lung function with how much air could be forcibly blown out in one second, known as the forced expiratory volume (FEV1).
Study participants with the highest blood levels of beta-carotene reduced their decline in FEV1 by 8 milliliters each year. Heavy smokers with low blood levels of beta-carotene increased their loss of lung function by 50 ml per year.
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