A special formulation of an antioxidant-enriched multivitamin helped decrease the frequency of pulmonary exacerbations in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), according to a new study.
The findings, by researchers at Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine, were published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine under the title “Effects of an Antioxidant-enriched Multivitamin in Cystic Fibrosis: Randomized, Controlled, Multicenter Trial.”
Inflammation is an important contributor to lung damage and to progressive lung function decline in CF. In the study, researchers looked at the effects of a “cocktail” of multiple antioxidants on inflammation and health outcomes in CF patients.
“Single oral antioxidant formulations have been tested previously in CF with mixed results. However, there had not been a well-designed, randomized controlled trial of an antioxidant ‘cocktail’ that included multiple antioxidants in a single formulation,” Scott Sagel, MD, PhD, said in a University of Colorado news story. Sagel is the study’s first author and a pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Colorado.
The study included 73 pancreatic-insufficient CF patients, 10 years and older (average age 22), who could not adequately absorb important dietary antioxidants such as beta-carotene, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), tocopherols (vitamin E), and selenium, which help neutralize inflammation in the body.
Participants received either capsules of antioxidant-enriched multivitamins, or control multivitamins without antioxidant enrichment. The capsules were designed specifically for people with difficulties in absorbing fats and proteins, like CF patients.
The investigational antioxidant-enriched multivitamin supplement, called AquADEKs-2, contains standard amounts of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) plus several antioxidants, including beta-carotene, mixed tocopherols, CoQ10, mixed carotenoids (lutein, lycopene and zeaxanthin), and the minerals zinc and selenium.
Sagel and his team found that the antioxidant-enriched multivitamin supplement increased the concentration of antioxidants in the bloodstream, and temporarily reduced inflammation at four weeks, even though these results were not sustained through the end of the 16 weeks of the study.
In addition, antioxidant supplementation was found safe and well-tolerated by study participants.
Researchers also observed that antioxidant treatment appeared to prolong the time to the first pulmonary exacerbation requiring antibiotics, and also to reduce the frequency of pulmonary exacerbations altogether.
More specifically, half as many patients receiving the supplemental antioxidants experienced a pulmonary exacerbation requiring antibiotics, when compared to the control group at 16 weeks.
“While more research certainly needs to be done to find a treatment that delivers a sustained anti-inflammatory effect, we believe the fact that this antioxidant supplement prolonged the time patients had before their first illness is meaningful. It offers a simple, relatively inexpensive means for restoring and maintaining normal antioxidant levels in people who would otherwise have trouble doing so,” Sagel said.