If you live in a metropolis, you are probably all-to-familiar
with the brown cloud of pollution that envelops you. An estimated
130 million Americans reside in areas where atmospheric ozone
- a major component of photochemical smog - consistently exceeds
that people should not be exposed to even three days per year.
Ozone gas exposure is an ever-present public health problem
because it damages cells in the human body. Besides moving
to the country, how can you reduce your risk for ozone-induced
The authors of a recent study in the American Journal
of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine determined the
effects of dietary antioxidants on lung function and inflammation
resulting from ozone exposure. Thirty-one men and women, ages
18-35, were divided into a group given antioxidant supplements
or a control group. The first group was given vitamin C supplements
and blended carrot and tomato juices for two weeks. Controls
received a placebo pill (e.g. sugar) and placebo drink that
did not contain antioxidants. All individuals were then exposed
to ozone gas, and lung function and tissue inflammation were
Although antioxidants appeared to have no effect on the severity
of lung inflammation, lung function was significantly better
in the supplementation group than in the control group after
ozone inhalation. Also, concentrations of vitamins in the
blood remained significantly higher in the supplementation
group during the experiment.
If you live in a polluted city, eat plenty of antioxidant-rich
produce, such as strawberries, tomatoes, carrots, and winter
squash. The vitamins in these foods provide numerous health
benefits beyond their potential impact on lung function -
from reducing risk of cancer to preventing sickness by boosting
the immune system.
Samet JM, Hatch GE, Horstman D, et al. Effect of antioxidant
supplementation on ozone-induced lung injury in human subjects.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
2001:164(5), pp. 819-825.
To learn more about the benefits of vitamins and minerals,
go to http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/nutrients.html.