Another use was discovered for vitamin C as supplement. According to the findings of a small study, vitamin C helps overweight, obese patients as much as physical activity in reducing the strain on small blood vessels.
The findings will be discussed at the 14th International Conference on Endothelin: Physiology, Pathophysiology and Therapeutics. The study was conducted by a team of researchers with the University of Colorado, Boulder and led by Caitlin Dow, Ph.D. and postdoctoral fellow.
Including 35 participants, the research looked at how vitamin C helps overweight, obese patients in reducing the strain on small blood vessels. To be clear, according to the lead author:
“This is not the ‘exercise pill’. Vitamin C certainly isn’t a new cure. It’s important to know what other lifestyle changes we can offer people who can’t exercise”.
Endothelin-1 or ET-1 is a protein that constricts the small blood vessels. With overweight or obese patients, the levels of activity of the protein have been shown to be elevated. As the activity is elevated the small blood vessels are increasingly constricted, which prevents them for participating effectively in the blood flow process. In turn, this may lead to severely heightened risk of vascular disease.
When an exercising routine is followed regularly, the activity level of endothelin-1 is reduced considerably. However, some overweight or obese patients are unable to follow too demanding exercising routines. The new research targets them in particular.
Supplementing one’s diet with vitamin C has been previously shown to improve the way in which blood vessels function. Drawing on these findings, the research team looked at whether vitamin C could also lower the accelerated level of activity of endothelin-1 in overweight and obese patients.
As such, the 35 participants were split in two groups. One group was administered a daily dose of 500 mg of vitamin C over a period of three months. The second group, comprising 15 participants followed a physical exercise program for the same duration.
At the end of the study, following thorough monitoring, the research team found that exercise and vitamin C intake had the same effect on lowering the activity levels of endothelin-1, thus releasing pressure on the small blood vessels and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Photo Credits: Flickr