Vitamin C Protects Against Arterial Inflammation

Several studies have shown that vitamin C improves the health of people with endothelial dysfunction (the abnormal function of the lining of the blood vessels), hypertension, and coronary artery disease; and it also protects against these health problems occurring.

A critical inflammatory marker is C-reactive protein. This marker indicates an increased risk for destabilized atherosclerotic plaque and abnormal arterial clotting. When arterial plaque becomes destabilized, it can burst open and block the flow of blood through a coronary artery, resulting in an acute heart attack. One of the New England Journal of Medicine studies showed that people with high levels of C-reactive protein were almost three times as likely to die from a heart attack (Ridker et al. 1997).

C-reactive protein is not only an inflammatory marker, but also directly damages the endothelium. Chronic inflammation, as evidenced by persistent high levels of C-reactive protein, creates initial injuries to the endothelium and also accelerates the progression of existing atherosclerotic lesions.
Dr. S. Goya Wannamethee and colleagues studied 3,258 men between the ages of 60 and 79 who had not been diagnosed with heart attack, stroke, or diabetes. Blood samples were analyzed for plasma vitamin C, the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein, and tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) antigen, which is a marker of endothelial dysfunction.

It was found that higher plasma vitamin C levels correlated with lower levels of C-reactive protein and t-PA. Men whose plasma vitamin C was in the highest one-fourth of participants had a 44 percent less risk of having elevated C-reactive protein and a 21 percent lower risk of an elevated t-PA than those whose levels were in the lowest fourth. Higher plasma vitamin C levels were associated with reduced blood viscosity and fibrinogen concentrations.

For those whose fruit intake was in the top quarter the risk of having either factor elevated was 24 percent lower than that of men whose fruit intake was in the bottom fourth.

According to your health and your age, the recommended dosage of Vitamin C is a minimum of one gram (1000 milligrams) to ten grams per day.

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