Vitamin C and Magnesium may promote healthy lung function.




American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Magnesium Vitamin C
Professional Data: Magnesium Vitamin C


Vitamin C corrects the world's oldest known nutritional deficiency, the disease scurvy. Albert Szent Gyorgyi first isolated it in 1928. Today, scientists know that humans are one of the few species that cannot manufacture vitamin C in the body. Humans must depend on diet or nutritional supplements as the source of this vitamin.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is stored in many tissues throughout the body, but the adrenal glands contain the highest concentration. The best sources of vitamin C are fresh fruits, especially citrus fruits, strawberries, cantaloupe and currants. Fresh vegetables, especially Brussels sprouts, collard greens, lettuce, cabbage, peas, and asparagus are also good sources. Because of its acid content, physicians recommend taking a buffered form of vitamin C if you are taking it in higher doses.

Vitamin C has been heavily researched for its role in a long list of functions in the body. First, it is involved with the production of collagen and elastin, which are necessary for the health of skin, tendons, joints, bones, teeth and blood vessels. Second, vitamin C functions as an antioxidant, thus helping to limit damage to the body from free radicals. It also enhances the antioxidant activity of vitamin E. A recent study investigated the potential role of vitamin C as well as magnesium in the decline of healthy lungs.

Conducted in The United Kingdom in 1991, this cohort study measured the dietary intake of vitamin C and magnesium and respiratory symptoms by means of questionnaires. Participants in this study included 2,633 adults between the ages of 18 and 70 years. Nine years later, a follow-up was conducted on 1,346 of the original participants. The results illustrated that higher intakes of vitamin C and magnesium were associated with a lower rate of lung function decline. After adjustments for smoking and others, the results remained the same. The authors of this study concluded that, "this study suggests that a high dietary intake of vitamin C, or of foods rich in this vitamin, may reduce the rate of loss of lung function in adults and thereby help to prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease."1


1. McKeever TM, et al. Prospective Study of Diet and Decline in Lung Function in a General Population. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. May 2002;165:1299-1303.