OHSU researchers find vitamin C improves health of children of pregnant smokers

Bottom, second from right, Cindy McEvoy, MD, professor of pediatrics at the OHSU School of Medicine, is lead author of a study on the effects of vitamin C supplementation for pregnant smokers on their babies. McEvoy and his team: Calvin McDonald, MD, specializes in the care of children with breathing disorders; Mitzi Go, MD, MCR, FAAP, associate professor of pediatrics; Diane Schilling, Respite Care; Matt Olson, Researcher; Kristin Milner, Research Project Manager; Julie Brownsberger, Clinical Research Associate; Julia Harris, Research Assistant; Brittany Vuylsteke, Senior Clinical Research Assistant; Katy Rabe, Clinical Research Assistant; Alec Martin, clinical research assistant; Anna Petrie, Clinical Research Assistant; and Juliana Mazzotti, clinical research assistant. (OHSU/Christine Torres Hicks)

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University found that giving vitamin C supplementation to pregnant women who were unable to quit smoking significantly improved airway function and respiratory health in their offspring at 5 years of age.

While previous studies have shown that vitamin C improves airway function in infants, this is the first study to demonstrate whether improvements in airway function can be maintained through preschool age.

Study published this week JAMA Pediatrics,

Despite anti-smoking efforts and a steady decrease in smoking among the adult population over the past decade, the addictive properties of tobacco products can make quitting smoking incredibly challenging for many individuals. Roughly 10% of American women continue to smoke into pregnancy, resulting in approximately 400,000 infants being exposed to smoke in utero or in utero each year.

Cindy McEvoy, MD, outside Mackenzie Hall.

Cindy McAvoy, MD (OHSU)

“We know by now how addictive tobacco products can be. For many individuals, it may take several attempts over a long period of time to quit smoking, if they are successful. Cindy McAvoy, MDprofessor of pediatrics at the OHSU School of Medicine and the study’s lead researcher. “It is critical that we have a way to protect a baby’s developing lungs, even when their parents are struggling to quit smoking. These findings identify an accessible, effective way to protect the uterus and baby.” to ensure optimal respiratory health outcomes in the young lives of

In utero smoke exposure from maternal smoking during pregnancy can be dangerous to a developing baby and is associated with poor health outcomes, including impaired fetal lung development, decreased airway function, and an increased risk for wheezing and asthma. Risk is involved. Additionally, reduced airway growth early in life increases the risk for serious lifelong conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is now the third leading cause of death worldwide.

For this study, researchers recruited pregnant women from three sites: OHSU, PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center and Indiana University. Participating women were enrolled in a double-blind, randomized controlled trial to receive either vitamin C (500 mg/day) or a placebo.

Statistical analyzes showed that the effect of vitamin C supplementation to pregnant smokers before 23 weeks of pregnancy resulted in significantly better airway function in their offspring at 5 years of age.

While the findings may improve the health of many children who face in utero smoke exposure, these findings may have even wider implications: The results potentially lead to a better understanding and treatment of the health effects of other smoke exposures. can lead, including indoor and outdoor air pollution, vaping, and wildfires.

McEvoy also notes that further investigation is needed to understand the mechanisms of improvement, as well as to determine whether the improved respiratory outcomes will persist throughout a child’s lifetime. Researchers are interested in learning more about the optimal timing of vitamin C treatment and the steps needed to make this therapy part of standard medical treatment.

This work was supported by the following grants: NHLBI (R01 HL105447 and 406 R01 HL 105460) with co-funding from the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) and by 407 P51 OD011092565 and NIH UH3 OD023288. Additional support from the Oregon 408 Clinical Translational Research Institute funded by the National Center for Advancing 409 Translational Sciences (UL1TR000128).

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