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Avocado and other foods rich in vitamin E may help protect lungs from air pollution

Scientists are probing the link between vitamin E and lung function

Heather Saul
Friday 15 May 2015 16:16 BST
The avocado has grown into a world-girdling culinary colossus
The avocado has grown into a world-girdling culinary colossus (Getty Images)

Avocado, spinach and other foods rich in vitamin E could help protect lungs from the damage caused by air pollution, a new study has suggested.

Research conducted by King’s College London and the University of Nottingham found a link between the amount of vitamin E in the body and lung function after being exposed to particle pollution.

Particle matter is one of the main air pollutants believed to be harmful to health.

Their tests highlighted an association between higher exposure to fine particle matter and a lower concentration of vitamin E in the blood.

Dr Ana Valdes, Reader at the University of Nottingham and co-author of the study, said: “Our work builds on a number studies exploring whether some vitamins can counteract the negative effect on lungs caused by air pollution."

However, she stressed that more research is needed to determine whether antioxidant supplements protect human lungs.

Professor Frank Kelly, Head of the Environmental Research Group at King’s College London and co-author of the study, added: "These new findings are consistent with previous reports which observed lower levels of vitamin E in people with lung conditions such as asthma.

“However, we do not yet fully understand which types of particulate pollution specifically damage the lungs or which vitamins best interfere with this pathway to reduce the level of damage.”

The study is published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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