Vitamin C prevents the acute atherogenic effects of passive smoking

Vitamin C prevents the acute atherogenic effects of passive smoking

During passive smoking the body is attacked by an excess of free radicals inducing oxidative stress. In nonsmoking subjects even a short period of passive smoking breaks down serum antioxidant defense (TRAP) and accelerates lipid peroxidation leading to accumulation of their low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in cultured human macrophages. We now studied whether these acute proatherogenic effects of secondhand smoke could be prevented by an effective free radical scavenger, vitamin C. Blood samples were collected from nonsmoking subjects (n = 10) as they were consecutively exposed to normal air or cigarette smoke during four separate days. During the last 2 d, a single dose of vitamin C (3 g) was given, which doubled its plasma concentration. Vitamin C did not influence the plasma antioxidant defense or the resistance of LDL to oxidation in normal air, but prevented the smoke-induced decrease in plasma TRAP (p [is less than] .001), the decrease in the resistance of LDL to oxidation (p [is less than] .05), and the accelerated formation of serum thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) (p [is less than] .05) otherwise observed 1.5 h after the beginning of passive smoking. Vitamin C protected nonsmoking subjects against the harmful effects of free radicals during exposure to secondhand smoke.

Valkonen MM, Kuusi T. Free Radic Biol Med 2000;28:428-436.

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