For Heart Attack, Stroke Prevention Eat Some Extra Vitamin C at all Ages
Eating foods rich in antioxidants (like vitamin E and vitamin C, carotenoids, and selenium) may lower your risk of heart disease. Such foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. According to studies, however; benefits of eating extra anti-oxidant pills are still questionable.
Vitamin C's beneficial activity has been attributed to its ability to neutralize oxidants, which are damaging substances produced naturally by the body. Vitamin C is found in all fruits and vegetables and is in high concentrations in green peppers, oranges, broccoli, red bell pepper and other citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, papaya, watermelon and many other fruits and vegetables.
Crunchy carrots, leafy spinach and other vegetables and fruits that also are rich in vitamin C, E and beta carotene - a form of vitamin A - have long been linked to a decreased risk of cancer. But now the latest scientific evidence suggests that these nutrients also may provide some protection against stroke and heart disease, still the No. 1 cause of death in the United States.
Studies at University of California suggested that individuals who consume fewer fruits and vegetables, and therefore fewer antioxidants such as vitamins C, E and beta-carotene, are at higher risk of developing asthma symptoms or reduced lung function.
Study, published this month in the medical journal Lancet, was done by scientists at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University discovered that a 500 milligram daily supplement of vitamin C can significantly reduce high blood pressure in hypertensive patients.
"We believe this is a significant finding that may be of considerable value to patients who have moderately elevated blood pressure and working with their doctors, it may provide a way to bring their blood pressure back within acceptable levels without the cost or possible side effects of prescription drugs"; they suggested.
Research from Harvard Medical School found that eating the most strawberries experienced lower blood levels of C-reactive protein, a biomarker for inflammation in the blood vessels. In addition, the high strawberry consumers had modestly lower levels of both total and LDL cholesterol, the so-called "bad" cholesterol.
"Higher intakes of fruits and vegetables have consistently been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Strawberries are a rich source of several key nutrients and phytonutrients that may play a role in protecting heart health; study concluded.
Researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC) has found that the lower the level of vitamin C in the blood the more likely a person will become infected by Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers and stomach cancer.
Individuals with high blood levels of vitamin C have significantly reduced risk of stroke, according to Journal of the American Heart Association. Higher concentrations of vitamin C in the blood provided benefits even in patients with other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, heavier alcohol consumption, smoking or lower physical activity. However, these risk factors did reduce the benefits somewhat; they suggested.
Low levels of vitamin C in the blood are linked to a more severe form of peripheral artery disease, an often painful condition in which the leg blood vessels become blocked; according to Journal of the American Heart Association. They found that the disease may spur the inflammatory process and the release of oxygen-free radicals, which deplete the body's supply of vitamin C.
Study by researchers in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University found that ultramarathon runners who used supplements of vitamins C and E for six weeks prior to their races totally prevented the increase in lipid oxidation that is otherwise associated with extreme exercise. This study provides more evidence for the value of vitamin E supplementation as an antioxidant that, at the least, can help prevent damaging lipid oxidation and some of the health concerns associated with it.
Three research funded by the National Institutes of Health, was conducted by collaborating scientists at Oregon State University and Boston University School of Medicine found that
moderate daily supplements of vitamin C taken by people with coronary artery disease may be effective in improving the function of blood vessels, preventing the chest pains of unstable angina pectoris and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke with significantly improved "vasodilation," or the ability to relax and avoid dangerous constriction whatever causes atherosclerosis, or clogged arteries, are still a serious health concern.
Researchers in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University found that vitamin C to be involved in the formation of compounds potentially damaging to DNA. This finding explains for the first time how vitamin C can react with and neutralize the toxic byproducts of human fat metabolism.
They found in human studies that the remaining vitamin C in the body continues to react with these toxins to form conjugates - different types of molecules with a covalent bond - that appear to be harmless and in blood plasma extraordinarily high levels of these conjugates were found, which show this protective effect of vitamin C against toxic lipids.
A diet rich in leafy vegetables may minimize the tissue damage caused by heart attacks, according to researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University recently (Nov. 2007). Their findings suggest that the chemical nitrite, found in many vegetables, could be the secret ingredient in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet.
"We wondered if feeding animals much lower levels of nitrite and nitrate--equivalent to what people can readily obtain from their diets--could also provide protection from heart-attack injury;" they stated.
Increased blood levels of vitamin C may reduce the risk of stroke by 42 percent; a large European study suggests most recently (January 25, 2008).They think blood levels of the vitamin could be used as a biological marker of lifestyle used to identify people at high risk of stroke.
Increased levels of the vitamin, tied to increased intake of fruit and vegetables, offered significant cardiovascular benefits among the 20,649 men and women taking part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer.
A person's level of vitamin C may predict his or her likelihood of having a stroke, according to a long-term study of some 20,000 middle-aged and older residents of Norfolk, United Kingdom. During an average follow-up of 9.5 years, 448 strokes occurred in the study population. Researchers found that people with the highest vitamin C concentration at the start of the study had a 42 percent lower risk of stroke over 10 years compared to those with the lowest levels of vitamin C.
The protective effect of vitamin C against stroke remained after accounting for factors that could affect the risk, such as age, sex, smoking, alcohol intake, body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol, physical activity, diabetes, prior heart attack, supplement use, and social class. Dr. Phyo K. Myint from the University of Cambridge, UK, and colleagues report the study results in the American Journal of Nutrition.
In a related commentary, Drs. Sebastian J. Padayatty and Mark Levine of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, emphasize that fruits and vegetables are associated with many health benefits, including a reduction in strokes. "Because we do not know why or how the benefit occurs or what fruits and vegetables are effective, it is prudent to consume a wide variety," they add.
"The optimum intake for reduction of stroke and cardiovascular disease is unknown," they point out, "but an intake of 5-9 servings daily is associated with benefit and the public should aim toward the higher intakes."
However; British researchers writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have explored the relationship between blood vitamin C levels and the risk of stroke. So far, clinical trials of vitamin C supplementation haven't shown any benefit in reducing the risk of stroke. It may be that there could be other things, independent of vitamin C but consumed alongside the vitamin (e.g. lots of fruit and veggies), that's responsible.
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