Antioxidant Supplementation Associated with Reduced Respiratory Illnesses in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis


Researchers studied the effects of an antioxidant-enriched multivitamin on inflammation and health outcomes in patients with cystic fibrosis.

Treatment with antioxidant-enriched multivitamins may reduce respiratory illnesses in individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF), according to a new study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.1

In the study, the researchers examined how a cocktail of multiple antioxidants affected inflammation and health outcomes in patients with CF over a 16-week period. The study included 73 pancreatic-insufficient patients with CF aged 10 years and older.

Patients in the study do not ordinarily absorb dietary antioxidants, including carotenoids such as beta-carotene, vitamin E, CoQ10, and selenium, which can help neutralize inflammation in the body. The capsules used in the study were specifically designed for individuals with difficulties absorbing important dietary antioxidants, including carotenoids such as beta-carotene, vitamin E, coenzyme, and selenium.

The patients were divided in 2 groups: 1 group of patients received the supplemental antioxidants and the second group received a control multivitamin without added antioxidants. Endpoints included systemic antioxidant concentrations, markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, clinical outcomes, safety, and tolerability.

According to the researchers, supplementation increased antioxidant concentrations in the blood of the participants and temporarily reduced inflammation in the blood at 4 weeks, but not at 16 weeks.

Additionally, half as many of the patients taking supplemental antioxidants experienced a pulmonary exacerbation requiring antibiotics compared with the group taking the control multivitamin. Patients in the group treated with antioxidants also experienced a lower frequency of respiratory illnesses compared with the control group.

Adverse events and tolerability were similar between groups.

“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,” Scott D Sagel, MD, PhD, pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado and professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said in a press release.2 “It offers a simple, relatively inexpensive means for restoring and maintaining normal antioxidant levels in people who would otherwise have trouble doing so.”


1. Sagel SD, Khan U, Jain R, et al. Effects of an antioxidant-enriched multivitamin in cystic fibrosis: randomized, controlled, multicenter trial. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2018.

2. Study finds antioxidant-enriched multivitamin reduces respiratory multivitamin reduces respiratory illnesses in patients with cystic fibrosis [news release]. Children’s Hospital Colorado website. Accessed May 29, 2018.

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