Smoking Moms & Vitamin C

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - If an expectant mother can't quit cigarettes, she might counter some of the bad effects by taking extra vitamin C if an animal experiment is anything to go by.

The findings from a monkey study suggest that vitamin C supplementation may help limit the damaging effects that exposing pregnant animals to nicotine has on the lung development of their fetuses.

Previously, Dr. Eliot R. Spindel, from the Oregon Health & Science University in Beaverton, and colleagues had shown that nicotine can cause fetal lung damage.

To see if vitamin C might be protective, the researchers evaluated the lung function of newborn monkeys born to nicotine-exposed mothers that were give vitamin C during pregnancy and those that were not.

Vitamin C did indeed prevent the significant decrease in lung function seen with nicotine exposure, the investigators report in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"These findings suggest that vitamin C supplementation may potentially be clinically useful to limit the deleterious effects of maternal smoking during pregnancy on offspring's lung function," Spindel's team concludes.

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