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Vitamin A may help emphysema sufferers

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MANHATTAN, Kan., Jul 27, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.S. researchers report that increasing one's intake of vitamin A may help reduce emphysema.

Richard Baybutt, associate professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, said previous research had shown that rats fed a vitamin-A-deficient diet developed emphysema, a lung disease found primarily in smokers. In more recent research, he exposed a group of rats to cigarette smoke and found they became vitamin A deficient.

Benzopyrene, a common carcinogen found in cigarettes, is the link to the deficiency, Baybutt said. When fed to rats, benzopyrene induces vitamin A deficiency. When rats exposed to cigarette smoke were fed a diet with higher levels of vitamin A, however, the levels of emphysema declined.

"We saw that the areas of emphysema were effectively reduced," he said.

Baybutt said he thinks this might help explain the occurrence of emphysema.

"There are a lot of people who live to be 90 years old and are smokers," he said. "Why? Probably because of their diet."

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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