Can Vitamin C protect your heart? Conflicting studies have different conclusions ... what's the real answer?Scientific studies can be confusing. One concludes that vitamin C vitamin C
or ascorbic acid
Water-soluble organic compound important in animal metabolism. Most animals produce it in their bodies, but humans, other primates, and guinea pigs need it in the diet to prevent scurvy. doesn't reduce the risk of heart attacks or stroke. Another shows it's just as protective as statins Statins
A class of drugs commonly used to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Mentioned in: C-Reactive Protein in lowering inflammation associated with heart disease. What's going on What's Going On is a record by American soul singer Marvin Gaye. Released on May 21, 1971 (see 1971 in music), What's Going On reflected the beginning of a new trend in soul music. ? These conflicting results may fill the media's need to constantly report new information. But they only add to the public's confusion surrounding nutrients and diseases.
Unfortunately, this isn't unusual. Many studies come to different conclusions about the same nutrient because a study is flawed, biased, or limited. That's why it's important to examine each study closely and not just believe the partial information that mainstream media often reports. Don't worry if you don't have the time, interest, or background to read and interpret these studies. I'll continue to do this for you. And if you ever have questions about a study, please feel free to write me (see page 8 for my contact information).
For now, let's look together at some of the conflicting reports surrounding vitamin C and heart disease to see what's really going on.
Not long ago, an eight-year study conducted out of Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is a hospital in the Longwood Area of the Boston, Massachusetts neighborhood of Mission Hill. With Massachusetts General Hospital, it is one of the two founding members of Partners HealthCare. found that neither vitamin C nor vitamin E vitamin E
Fat-soluble organic compound found principally in certain plant oils and leaves of green vegetables. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant in body tissues and may prolong life by slowing oxidative destruction of membranes. lowered the risk of heart attacks or stroke. This was a large study that received national attention. The problem is, the study was flawed. To begin with, all of the more than 14,000 participants were men.
Now, we know that heart disease is the number one killer of postmenopausal post·men·o·paus·al
Of or occurring in the time following menopause.
postmenopausal Change of life Gynecology adjective Referring to the time in ♀ when menstrual periods stop for ≥ 1 yr women. So it comes as a great surprise to find that there were no women included in this study. And we can't conclude that the results of this all-male study would apply equally to women. Any study on heart disease anal nutrients should include equal numbers of men and women.
The second problem was that the dose used in this clinical trial was low--500 mg a day. This is less vitamin C than you'll find in many multivitamins. It was hardly a therapeutic amount. In fact, it was the same amount found in 1 1/2 oranges or a cup of cooked broccoli--and I haven't heard anyone claim that a tiny glass of orange juice would protect against heart disease. In fact, some researchers believe that most people take too little antioxidant antioxidant, substance that prevents or slows the breakdown of another substance by oxygen. Synthetic and natural antioxidants are used to slow the deterioration of gasoline and rubber, and such antioxidants as vitamin C (ascorbic acid), butylated hydroxytoluene and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
The amount of any nutrients tested in scientific studies should, at the very least, include the high amounts doctors of integrative medicine integrative medicine
combines conventional medicine with complementary and alternative therapies.
integrative medicine The 'new medicine' A term for the incorporation of alternative therapies into mainstream medical practice. find effective. And many of them are using 10 grams of intravenous vitamin C in patients with heart disease, cancer, and other inflammatory conditions. This amount floods the tissues with this valuable nutrient.
A week after the media first published the results of this first study, a second study appeared. This one, conducted at the University of California at Berkeley (body, education) University of California at Berkeley - (UCB)
See also Berzerkley, BSD.
Note to British and Commonwealth readers: that's /berk'lee/, not /bark'lee/ as in British Received Pronunciation. contradicted the Boston study. It found that vitamin C can lower a marker for inflammation called Creactive protein, or CRP C-reactive protein (CRP)
A protein present in blood serum in various abnormal states, like inflammation.
Mentioned in: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
n.pr See C-reactive protein. . This particular marker predicts heart disease, diabetes, and other inflammatory diseases. We know that vitamin C is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. When it comes to heart disease, inflammation is a key risk factor.
In the study out of UC Berkeley, vitamin C not only identified a risk factor for heart disease, if actually acted as an adaptogen Adaptogen
Substance that improves the body's ability to adapt to stress.
Mentioned in: Ginseng, Korean
adaptogen ( . It lowered CRP levels when they were high, but it didn't affect them when they were normal or low. In fact, it worked as well as (or better than) statins in people with high levels of CRP!
Here are the figures that prove it. In several other studies, statins reduced CRP levels by 0.2 milligrams per liter. In this study, vitamin C lowered CRP levels by 0.25 milligrams per liter.
This is an important point when it comes to understanding why some studies have found vitamin C useful in heart disease while others found it didn't work. Testing vitamin C on some people with elevated CRP levels along with others with normal or low CRP can give false information about this nutrient's ability to predict and lower the risk for heart disease. Testing vitamin C on men gives only part of the picture, which may not apply equally to women.
Drug companies market statins
Recently, Astra Zeneca funded a study of more than 17,000 healthy men and women. This study found their statin stat·in
Any of a class of drugs that inhibit a key enzyme involved in the synthesis of cholesterol and promote receptor binding of LDL cholesterol, resulting in decreased levels of serum cholesterol. , Crestor, reduced the risk of heart attacks by 44% in people with high levels of high sensitivity CRP.
Why should any patient at risk for heart disease look any further for an inexpensive and natural way to lower their risk of heart disease with a common vitamin when an expensive pharmaceutical will do the job? Especially if it comes with a recommendation from their doctor. I expect we'll hear more reasons why statins are better than vitamin C--both from drug companies and from the studies they fund.
I predict there will be more studies that claim statins are the answer, rather than the problem. Before you take these medications, read everything you can about their dangers. And remain alert. Often, the negative studies are buried.
What should you do?
Take charge of your health and stop looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. the quick fix in a pill. Lifestyle changes will go much further to help you resolve your health problems than taking a pharmaceutical.
As for the subject of vitamin C and heart disease, we should all eat a diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables high in this important nutrient. These foods include kiwi kiwi (kē`wē) or apteryx (ăp`tərĭks), common name for the smallest member of an order of primitive flightless birds related to the ostrich, the emu, and the cassowary. , all citrus fruits, berries, and broccoli. Since most fruits and vegetables contain some vitamin C, just make sure you eat a variety of fresh produce daily.
If you know or believe you're at an increased risk for heart disease, ask your doctor to check your CRP level. This is a simple blood test. If your CRP is high it indicates inflammation. To reduce inflammation, increase your vitamin C to 1,000-2,000 mg a day. Reduce your intake of sugar. It's extremely pro-inflammatory. Then recheck your level after two to three months. If it hasn't come down, your doctor may need to give you a high-dose IV of vitamin C.
Read my newsletter archives on my website for more information on reducing inflammation. I've written many articles on this subject. Inflammation is at the heart of most chronic illnesses--and vitamin C is one of its solutions, not its cause.
Block, G., PhD. UC Berkeley, ScienceDaily, November 14, 2008
Sesso, H.D., ScD, MPH, et al. "Vitamins E and C in the prevention of cardiovascular disease Cardiovascular disease
Disease that affects the heart and blood vessels.
Mentioned in: Lipoproteins Test
cardiovascular disease in men," JAMA JAMA
Journal of the American Medical Association , 2008; 300 (18).
Sesso, H.D., et al. "Vitamins E and C in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in men," JAMA, 2008.