Report: Prenatal Vitamin C Cuts Wheeze in Infants of Smokers

(HealthDay News) – For women who smoke, vitamin C supplementation during pregnancy is associated with reduced incidence of wheezing in their offspring through the age of 1 year, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, held from May 4–7 in Washington, DC.

Cindy T. McEvoy, MD, from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues examined the impact of supplemental daily vitamin C during pregnancy on the incidence of wheezing within the first year of life. The infants of 76 smokers randomized to vitamin C, the infants of 83 smokers randomized to placebo, and the infants of 76 nonsmokers were assessed at delivery. 92% were followed through age 1.

The researchers found that significantly fewer infants of vitamin-C treated vs. placebo-treated smokers had at least one episode of wheezing (21% vs. 40%; adjusted P=0.019) and fewer infants received medication for wheezing (13% vs. 22%; adjusted P=0.14). The incidence of wheezing was significantly lower for those randomized to vitamin C vs. placebo for infants of pregnant smokers homozygous or heterozygous for the rs16969968 risk allele (14% vs. 48%; P=0.01).

“Vitamin C is a simple, safe, and inexpensive treatment that may decrease the impact of smoking during pregnancy on childhood respiratory health,” McEvoy said in a statement. “Though the lung function of all babies born to smokers in our study was improved by supplemental vitamin C, our preliminary data suggest that vitamin C appeared to help those babies at the greatest risk of harm during their development from their mother’s smoking in pregnancy.”

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