How Antioxidant-Enriched Multivitamins Help Cystic Fibrosis
According to a new study, cystic fibrosis is characterized by dietary antioxidant deficiencies, which may contribute to an imbalance among oxidants and antioxidants, oxidative stress, as well as other adverse health effects. By consuming antioxidant-enriched multivitamins, the incidence of pulmonary exacerbations experienced among patients with CF may be decreased.
What are antioxidants, anyway?
Antioxidants are natural or man-made molecules that help to suspend or prevent some types of cell damage caused by oxidants. Oxidants are free radicals found in the environment, but they are also produced naturally in the body. Although they can help to ward off viruses and bacteria, too many oxidants in the body can lead to chain reactions that may damage cells. Therefore, the function of antioxidants is not to remove oxidants completely, but rather to keep them at an optimal level.
Antioxidants are found in many different foods, including fruits and vegetables; however, they are also available as dietary supplements. Examples of antioxidants include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Growing evidence suggests that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of certain diseases due to their rich sources of antioxidants.
The impact of antioxidants on CF
Researchers at Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine have found that a special formulation of an antioxidant-enriched multivitamin may help to alleviate worsening of symptoms in individuals with CF.
The study, which was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, involved the combination of several antioxidants and their effects on inflammation and other health-related outcomes among patients with CF. Since inflammation is a vital contributor to lung damage in CF, lowering its effects contributes to hindering the progressive decline in lung function. “Single oral antioxidant formulations have been tested previously in CF with mixed results. However, there had not been a well-designed, randomized controlled trial of an antioxidant ‘cocktail’ that included multiple antioxidants in a single formulation,” said Scott Sagel, first author of the study and a pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
The study was conducted over the course of 16 weeks, from September 2013 to October 2015. It involved the participation of 73 CF patients with pancreatic insufficiency, all of whom were 10 years old and older (with an average age of 22) and who were unable to effectively absorb antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin E, selenium, and coenzyme Q10 – necessary for alleviating inflammation within the body.
Read on to learn more about this exciting study and what it could mean for the future of cystic fibrosis management.