The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Vitamin C for asthma?

     Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in the fluid that surrounds the lung. Low vitamin C intake is associated with lung dysfunction.

    This Cochrane review looks at the evidence for vitamin C (ascorbic acid) as treatment for asthma.

    First, the details.

    • Studies were included if they dealt with the treatment of asthma using vitamin C supplementation.
    • 9 studies in 330 participants met this review criteria.
    • 5 studies actually had data the reviewers could use.

    And, the results.

    • Study design varied and the reporting was generally poor.
    • One small study showed a significant difference in percent drop in FEV1 after exercise.
      • FEV1 is the amount of air that can be forcibly exhaled from the lungs in the first second of a forced exhalation. It’s an important measure of lung function.

    The bottom line?
    As you might guess, the authors concluded, “At present, evidence… is insufficient to recommend a specific role for vitamin C in the treatment of asthma.”

    The positive study referred to above included 8 patients who took vitamin C 1500 mg per day for 2 weeks and then placebo or vice versa — crossover design. In addition to the positive effect on FEV1, asthma symptoms scores significantly improved with ascorbic acid compared to the placebo.

    3/20/09 21:20 JR

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