Vitamin C can reduce heart disease

8 September 2015  |  Editor

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Scientists have found that taking a daily dose of the nutrient can help ward off vascular disease in those who are overweight.


Tests showed that a daily dose of vitamin C reduced ET-1 related vessel constriction as much as walking did.


Daily vitamin C supplements could be as beneficial as walking in improving the heart health of obese people, a new study claims.

Scientists have found that taking the equivalent of one Berocca tablet a day can have similar cardiovascular benefits as regular exercise.

The blood vessels of people who are overweight or obese show greater activity of the small vessel-constricting protein, endothelin-1 (ET-1).

Vessels with high ET-1 activity are more prone to constricting.


The narrowing of blood vessels can mean they are less able to cope with the changing demands on blood flow, therefore increasing a person’s risk of vascular disease.

Previous studies have found exercise helps reduce ET-1 activity.

But many obese or overweight people argue they don’t have enough time to incorporate exercise into their routines.

The study by scientists at the University of Colorado, US, examined whether vitamin C supplements, which have been found in the past to improve vessel function, can also lower ET-1 activity.

They analysed 35 sedentary, overweight or obese adults over a period of three months.

Twenty of the participants took daily supplements, while 15 performed daily aerobic exercise training.

The tests showed that a daily dose of vitamin C – 500mg a day – reduced ET-1 related vessel constriction as much as walking did.

Currently, the NHS recommends 40mg of vitamin C each day for adults and states that a healthy diet should provide all the vitamin C needed.

An average orange contains around 45mg of vitamin C, while a single Berocca tablet has 476mg of the nutrient.

Taking too much vitamin C – more than 1,000 mg a day – can cause stomach pain and diarrhoea and stomach cramps.

But previous medical studies have found the nutrient can help people under heavy physical stress, such as marathon runners, cut their chances of getting a cold.

And in 2013, it was found that vitamin C consumption could cut the risk of people with asthma developing an exercise-induced attack.

The University of Colorado’s findings are being presented at the American Physiological Society's 14th International Conference on Endothelin, taking place in Savannah, US.

Of course, vitamin C is only one of several nutrients that the body needs and often doesn't get enough of from the food we eat, so a multivitamin which includes vitamin C is usually a better option