There is a fascinating world of research on the health benefits of food, vitamins and antioxidants. Vitamin C
has long gotten its fair share, with studies on its use in preventing (and even treating) everything from the common cold
, cancer and heart disease. The main question that remains is how effective it is? Does it really make a significant difference?
How vitamin C could help prevent heart disease
The answers vary, partly because there can be many potential variables in long-term studies. However evidence
does suggest that vitamin C could help protect arteries against damage, slow down the progression of atherosclerosis (the hardening of arteries), and even help keep arteries flexible. It’s also know that those with low vitamin C levels are more likely to have a heart attack, stroke or peripheral artery disease.
Overarching studies are promising
Two pooling studies that pulled together the many studies done on this subject found evidence that vitamin C could be helpful in preventing heart disease both in supplement form
. However, it’s important to note that while there was a clear link between diets high in vitamin C and less risk of heart disease, that the protective link could be caused by one of the many other beneficial elements in a healthy diet, and not just the vitamin C.
We should be getting more vitamin C than we are
Because there is a strong enough link between vitamin C and many health benefits, some scientists are saying that our daily recommended amount should be double
what it currently is. Most agree that getting that amount through a diet heavy in fresh vegetables and fruit (one of the best sources of vitamin C) is ideal. However, since few achieve a diet so well balanced, supplemental use of vitamin C is often recommended. It's important to consider that even small deficiencies of vitamin C can lead to fatigue, lethargy, and malaise, while healthier vitamin C levels can help reduce inflammation and high blood pressure. I was disturbed to find out that a significant percentage of Americans were found to to be low in this important vitamin, and was inspired to make sure I was getting enough myself.
My conclusion is that vitamin C has a lot to offer us, and could be even more beneficial than many of us know. Eating a diet high in vitamin C is ideal, and supplementing is a back-up plan.
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