Antioxidant status of adult Nigerian asthmatics: implications for prognosis

Nutr Health. 2003;17(3):221-9. doi: 10.1177/026010600301700305.


Serum antioxidant status of 50 (19M, 31F) adult asthmatic patients, aged 40 to 50 yr and attending the medical outpatient clinic of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, has been assessed, by measurement of serum ascorbic acid, copper, zinc, albumin, uric acid and magnesium levels, to determine the relationship between antioxidant status and severity of bronchial asthma. Twenty-five (25) age matched adults (10M, 15F) served as controls. The test subjects were classified into two groups (1&2) based on the degree of respiratory distress. Questionnaires were also used to obtain data on subjects' fruit and vegetable intake. Fruit and vegetable intake was similar in patients and controls, 96% and 100% respectively reporting adequate intake. Copper (Cu) level was not significantly different between patients and control subjects, but was significantly higher in female asthmatics than in males (p < 0.05). Magnesium (Mg) level was also lower in asthmatics than in control subject (p < 0.001). Plasma Zinc level was not different between patients and control (p > 0.05). The levels of the other antioxidants, vitamin C, uric acid and albumin were all lower in asthmatics than in controls (p < 0.05, p < 0.001, p < 0.001) respectively. The magnesium level of group 2 (severe asthmatics) was lower than in controls (p < 0.05) unlike moderate asthmatics (group 1) which do not differ significantly from controls. These findings support the emerging concept that antioxidants are consumed in this inflammatory disease and that a corresponding increase in antioxidant supply may improve prognosis for bronchial asthma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / analysis*
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Asthma / blood*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Copper / blood
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria
  • Prognosis
  • Serum Albumin / analysis
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uric Acid / blood
  • Vegetables*
  • Zinc / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Serum Albumin
  • Uric Acid
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Ascorbic Acid