Heart Disease ans vitamin C . A low tissue concentration of vitamin C, many re-searchers now agree, should be considered a bona fide risk factor for heart disease. The nutrient’s stellar performance in protecting blood fats from turning into atherosclerotic plaque makes it one of our best tools against what is still the nation’s number one killer. Ascorbate rescues low-density lipoprotein from oxidation, the dangerous process through which this “bad” type of cholesterol builds up on the insides of arteries. A controlled study of smokers who took 1 gram daily showed a significant reduction in LDL oxidation.
Another study demonstrated that the wall thickness of the neck’s carotid arteries, another measure of atherosclerosis, was greatest in people who consumed the lowest amounts of the nutrient, as well as the lowest amounts of vitamin E and carotenoids. The two co-partners are undoubtedly important to the body’s overall antioxidant defense system. But while vitamin E and beta-carotene slow LDL oxidation once it has begun,only vitamin C when present in an adequate quantity, of course can prevent it completely.
A gram of vitamin C has more than twice the antioxidant potential of a glass of red wine, highly touted as a substance that prevents LDL from oxidizing. Vitamin C does not share alcohol’s mineral depleting or liver irritating properties. Vitamin C is indispensable to the heart in ways other than as an antioxidant. A high intake raises the body’s HDL, the artery protecting form of cholesterol.
Less cholesterol in general is absorbed from food when vitamin C is present, and when administered a dosage of 2 grams per day, heart patients experience a decrease in abnormal arterial spasms or constrictions.
Another role of vitamin C, its ability to form collagen, is theorized by Mathias Rath, M.D., to protect the heart’s blood from attracting sticky particles. Hundreds of case histories attest to the success of his treatment protocol.
But Does It Work?
To answer that question, Japanese cardiologists gave 119 patients that had undergone angioplasty a daily dose of 500 mg of vitamirr C. Normally, because of the reblockage of arteries, one out of three patients must have the angioplastic procedure redone. Only 14 percent of the patients who had the modest dose of vitamin C supplements had to repeat the procedure.
Yes, vitamin C works. The principal consequence of Type II diabetes (the high-insulin type) is atherosclerosis. Here, vitamin C is almost as important as well controlled blood sugar. Besides helping to avert cholesterol buildup, it safe guards the body from the damage wrought by high blood sugar. The more vitamin C a diabetic ingests, the greater the reduction in glycation, which is the name given for harmful effects of sugar upon our tissues. This is not to say that vitamin C does not help control blood sugar in diabetes: a study using 2 grams daily shows that it does.
Hypertension, another big risk factor for heart disease, also appears to depend in part on an individual’s vitamin C status. Among sixty nine adults participating in one study, those with the highest blood levels of the nutrient had significantly lower blood pressure readings. A 1-gram- a-day dosage proved to lower blood pressure effectively. Diastolic pressure, the bottom number in the blood pressure reading, was higher among people with lower ascorbate concentrations, according to an- other study.