Friday, 21 November 2008
Take Orange Juice And Beat Cigarette Smoke-related Health Problems
November 21, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 20: A glass of lemon or orange juice four times a day will help prevent life-threatening lung disease, emphysema, in cigarette smokers and victims of second hand smoke.
A group of scientists from Dr BC Guha Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology has found that daily intake of vitamin C will help prevent emphysema, an irreversible disease characterised by destruction of the
lung alveolar cells causing enlargement of airspace. There's no effective
treatment and it will ultimately lead to morbidity and death. About 15 per cent of smokers suffer from the problem.
The team conducted work on guinea pigs, which are close to human beings in anatomical and physiological functions in certain aspects.
"Guinea pig lung has anatomical similarity with human lung and also the guinea pig lung shows cigarette smoke-induce pathophysiological response similar to that of human lung. If the results obtained with guinea pigs are extrapolated to humans, then 2 grams of vitamin C per day, preferably in divided doses 500 mg, 4 times a day, should prevent emphysematous lung damage in smokers," Dr Indu B Chatterjee, one of the researchers, told this correspondent.
At present doctors try to manage the problems caused by emphysema by giving bronchodilators and oxygen therapy. Globally, including India, one out of 75 persons suffers from this disease. About 95 of emphysema cases are caused by cigarette smoking. However, only 15 per cent of the smokers are afflicted by this disease.
"The mechanism of cigarette smoke-induced emphysema is not clear. Cigarette smoke contains about 4000 compounds and it is a conjecture how many of these are responsible for causing emphysema. We have isolated and characterised one single compound, p-benzosemiquinone, from cigarette smoke, which appears to be the major cause of cigarette smoke-induced emphysema in a guinea pig model," Dr Chatterjee said.
The team has also patented a special filter, which traps p-benzosemiquinone from the mainstream cigarette smoke. The smoke coming out of this filtered cigarette does not produce emphysema in a guinea pig model.
"We have delineated the mechanism of action of cigarette smoke and also p-benzosemiquinone and prevention of emphysema. Vitamin C, at a moderately high dosage, almost completely prevents cigarette smoke or p-benzosemiquinone-induced emphysema," Dr Chatterjee added.
Vitamin C, abundantly present in lemon, orange and other citrus fruits, is a strong antioxidant. The team has also determined the modulatory effect of vitamin C in preventing pathophysiological events.
The researchers exposed vitamin C-restricted guinea pigs to cigarette smoke (five cigarettes daily; two puffs per cigarette) for 21 days with and without supplementation of 15 mg vitamin C per guinea pig per day.
Damage to lung including lung injury was evaluated. "Exposure of guinea pigs to cigarette smoke resulted in progressive protein damage, inflammation, apoptosis and lung injury up to 21 days of the experimental period.
Administration of 15 mg of vitamin C/guinea pig/day prevented all these pathophysiological effects," Dr Chatterjee pointed out.
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