Background: Because little is known about micronutrient/antioxidant intake and asthma severity, we investigated dietary intake and plasma/serum levels of micronutrients/antioxidants in a group of asthma patients with various degrees of severity, and compared the results with healthy subjects.
Methods: A case control study was carried out on 118 asthma patients and 121 healthy subjects. The severity of the disease was classified by division of patients into four groups. Normal dietary micronutrient/antioxidant intake was estimated from a food frequency questionnaire. Plasma/serum levels of vitamins C, E, and A, selenium, magnesium, zinc, and platelet glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activity were also determined.
Results: No differences in daily micronutrient/antioxidant intake were seen between patients and healthy subjects. The severity of the disease showed no significant relationship with micronutrient/antioxidant intake. There were no differences in plasma/serum levels in any of the micronutrients/antioxidants between healthy subjects and asthmatics. Nor were any differences found between asthma groups in severity in the biochemical measures, except in platelet GSH-Px activity, which was significantly lower in the most severe groups.
Conclusions: In this study, we found no evidence of any association between micronutrient/antioxidant intake or plasma/serum levels of micronutrients/antioxidants and asthma. Reduction of platelet GSH-Px activity in the most severe patients suggests that these patients have a diminished capacity to restore part of the antioxidant defences.