Higher blood concentrations of lycopene and vitamin C appear to be associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality in adult patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, suggests a new US study.
The observational study measured the blood concentrations of carotenoids and vitamin C in 1492 adults aged 20–79 years with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and documented death cases over an average follow-up period of 14 years (1). The study results showed that patients with higher concentrations of lycopene and vitamin C had a significantly reduced risk of all-cause mortality. About 44% of the participants reported being current smokers.
The researchers commented that these results indicate antioxidant nutrients may exert beneficial effects on those with COPD. Ongoing oxidative stress is thought to be a critical factor in the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of COPD. Furthermore, vitamin C and lycopene may represent risk markers for other factors that are responsible for the observed associations between the two antioxidants and mortality. Earlier prospective studies have reported that elevated carotenoid concentrations are associated with lower mortality rates, but not all studies have done so. Because smoking is a prime source of oxidative stress, bolstering antioxidant defenses through supplementation with antioxidants could potentially mitigate some of the ravages from smoking-induced oxidative damage to the lungs.