OBJECTIVES: To identify whether acute lung function effects of ozone can be modulated by antioxidant vitamin supplementation. METHODS: Amateur cyclists (n = 26) were studied in the summer of 1994 in The Netherlands. Repeated lung function measurements were performed with a rolling seal spirometer after training sessions or competitive races on four to 14 occasions. The cyclists were assigned to two study groups. The supplementation group (n = 12) received antioxidant supplements (15 mg beta-carotene, 75 mg vitamin E, and 650 mg vitamin C) once a day for three months. The control group did not receive supplementation. For each subject, lung function after exercise was regressed on the previous eight hour mean ozone concentration. The individual regression coefficients were pooled for each study group and weighted with the inverse of the variance. RESULTS: The eight hour mean ozone concentration was 101 micrograms/m3 (30 to 205 micrograms/m3). For the supplementation group, there was no effect of ozone on FVC, FEV1, peak expiratory flow (PEF), and maximal mid-expiratory flow (MMEF). For the control group the mean coefficients were negative, except for MMEF. The difference between the groups was 2.08 (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.31 to 2.85) ml/microgram/m3 for FVC, 1.66 (95% CI 0.62 to 2.70) for FEV1, 6.83 (95% CI 3.17 to 10.49) for PEF, and 0.42 (95% CI -1.38 to 2.22) for MMEF. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that antioxidant vitamin supplementation protects against acute effects of ozone on lung function in heavily exercising amateur cyclists.
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