Why does conventional cardiology ignore the lifesaving health benefits of vitamin C? Cardiovascular disease, in the United States, claims more lives than all types of cancer. And, the point is, we can fix this.
In reality, it turns out that daily supplementation with a safe and inexpensive vitamin can help provide major protective benefits to the heart, while helping to prolong life. Extensive research has confirmed that – in one study, by as much as 66 percent.
What the research reveals about vitamin C intake
In a study published in , researchers assessed the daily vitamin C intake of 108 men, and qualified the number by thirds. Incidentally, many of the men in the study were smokers – a notorious risk factor for all types of .
The team found that than men in the lowest third. To say it another way: men who ingested higher levels of vitamin C were two-thirds more likely to avoid developing heart disease than men in the lowest third – a truly encouraging result.
Although the exact mechanism by which vitamin C provides such dramatic heart benefits is unknown, researchers think it has to do with the vitamin’s ability to prevent and alleviate endothelial dysfunction, the stiffening of arterial walls that can impede blood flow. Vitamin C seems particularly effective in reducing endothelial dysfunction – especially in smokers.
Large long-term studies support vitamin C’s preventive and therapeutic value
Many in conventional medicine tend to underplay or negate promising vitamin C research. Naysayers may point to small study size or short duration, explaining results away as a statistical fluke.
But well-designed, long-term studies on vitamin C’s benefit are piling up. One study, in which researchers followed subjects for over a decade, demonstrated that vitamin C supplementation of at least 700 mg of ascorbic acid a day dropped risk of cardiovascular disease by 25 percent. .
In a 2003 observational study conducted by the prestigious Harvard Medical School and published in the , 85,000 female nurses were followed for 16 years. The study showed that women who used supplemental vitamin C reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by 28 percent.
Vitamin C deficiencies can lead to life-threatening disease
It’s a logical question: if supplementation of vitamin C decreases risk of heart disease, do deficiencies of vitamin C increase it? Researchers set out to answer that question; here is what they found out.
One study of middle-aged men with no history or evidence of pre-existing heart disease showed that than those who were not deficient.
Also, a study contrasting men who had just suffered their first acute with healthy volunteers demonstrated that the heart attack victims were dramatically lower in plasma levels of vitamin C. The upshot seems clear – avoiding deficiencies and maintaining optimal levels of vitamin C could be a vital tool against life-threatening heart attack.
Vitamin C improves outcomes after heart attack
In an even more hopeful note, research seems to indicate that it is never too late to benefit from vitamin C’s protective effects on the heart. Researchers think that vitamin C’s antioxidant properties can help alleviate oxidative damage from heart attack.
Studies have shown that , while cutting the risk of future events. Vitamin C also improves electrical conduction throughout the heart muscle, decreases clotting factors that increase stroke risk, reduces inflammation, and prevents destructive changes in heart shape and operation. In addition, vitamin C can Increase exercise tolerance following a heart attack – while reducing the oxidation of dangerous LDL cholesterol.
Animal studies have suggested that vitamin C can even help reduce damage from ischemia-reperfusion injury, a type of post-heart attack oxidative injury in which blood previously cut off by the attack rebounds suddenly back into the area. And, finally, researchers believe that vitamin C can help protect against atrial fibrillation – a type of irregular heartbeat – along with weakening and enlargement of the heart, or dilated cardiomyopathy.
Current vitamin C recommendations are a joke
The current Required Dietary Allowance of vitamin C, as advised by the Office of Dietary Supplements, is a paltry 75 to 90 mg a day – which natural health experts say is just barely enough to prevent scurvy, a result of extreme deficiency of vitamin C.
Obviously, the current recommendation isn’t even close to the level needed for good health. Experienced, integrative healthcare providers tend to advise taking anywhere from 1,000 to 6,000 mg per day, depending on individual needs and conditions. In many cases, especially when dealing with serious chronic disease conditions, much more will be needed on a daily basis.
As studies have shown that vitamin C levels quickly drop in times of infection, it is vital to replenish the body’s stores by supplementation in times of illness. It’s also beneficial to maintain optimal vitamin C levels to help keep diseases – including heart disease — from developing in the first place.