We are all interested in living for as long as possible.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the leading cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease.
It is important to maintain your cardiovascular system for overall health and well-being. The body depends on the heart for many essential functions.
So, how do you take care of your heart?
Well, Vitamin C benefits a healthy heart by improving MANY important functions related to your cardiovascular system.
In this article, we’ll be highlighting just how Vitamin C benefits are important to your cardiovascular system.
Vitamin C May Reduce LDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Physicians working with John Hopkins Medicine and members of the American Heart Association have published clinician guidelines on managing cholesterol levels in order to minimize the risk of having a heart attack and stroke, as well as death. Recent research has led cardiology experts to believe that decreasing LDL cholesterol, which to levels less than 70 mg per deciliter in high-risk patients is the best way of reducing their heart disease complications and risk of dying.
What does that mean?
LDL-cholesterol, which stands for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, is considered to be the “bad cholesterol” because of its role in the buildup of fats in the arteries. This leads to atherosclerosis and increases the risk of having a heart attack and stroke, and developing peripheral artery disease.
If there’s bad cholesterol, then is there good cholesterol?
HDL-cholesterol, which stands for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, is considered to be the “good cholesterol” because of its role in carrying LDL-cholesterol away from the arteries and to the liver. From there, the LDL-cholesterol is metabolized and removed as waste from the body.
What else should we know about HDL-cholesterol?
High levels of HDL-cholesterol may reduce the risk of having a heart attack and stroke. Low levels of HDL-cholesterol may increase the risk of heart disease.
OK, so what about triglycerides?
Triglycerides are the most common variety of fat in the body and store excess energy from the foods that you eat. High levels of triglycerides, combined with high levels of LDL-cholesterol or low levels of HDL-cholesterol, is connected to the buildup of fats within the arterial walls.
How Vitamin C Supplementation Affects Cholesterol
High total cholesterol is a primary risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease, also known as ischemic heart disease, which is the leading cause of premature disability and death in the U.S. Epidemiologic studies have determined that LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol are better able to predict the risk of developing coronary heart disease than total serum cholesterol concentration. Many studies have also shown that triglycerides are a strong independent risk factor for predicting the development of coronary heart disease.
So what do these studies have to say about Vitamin C benefits and cholesterol, then?
There was a comprehensive meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials to examine the effect of Vitamin C supplementation on LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides in patients with high cholesterol.
This meta-analysis found that supplementation with at least 500 mg daily of Vitamin C for at least 4 weeks may result in a significant decrease in serum LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations. This Vitamin C supplementation may also increase serum HDL-cholesterol, although that increase was found to be nonsignificant.
The ratio of LDL-cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol, which is a good predictor of coronary heart disease, had a weighted average decrease of -0.60. This ultimately translates into a 10.2% reduction in coronary heart disease risk. The ratio of triglycerides to HDL, another good predictor of coronary heart disease, had a weighted average decrease of -0.47. This ultimately translates into a similar change in coronary heart disease risk, because the LDL/HDL ratio may underestimate the risk of developing coronary heart disease compared to the triglyceride/HDL ratio.
Why is that?
These changes are because of the antioxidant effects of Vitamin C, which help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. These are toxic by-products of oxygen metabolism that can cause significant damage to living cells and tissues through oxidative stress. Vitamin C inhibits the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol, which prevents its buildup within the arterial walls.
The vitamin also protects HDL-cholesterol from lipid oxidation, which allows it to be involved in the process of reverse cholesterol transport. This is the process in which HDL-cholesterol transports LDL-cholesterol from the arteries to the liver for removal from the body. The antioxidant properties of Vitamin C also help reduce triglyceride concentrations.
In guinea pig models, chronic borderline Vitamin C deficiency led to high triglyceride levels. This was because of the slow uptake and removal of very low-density lipoprotein triglycerides from the plasma. The antioxidant protection of Vitamin C of these very low-density lipoproteins helped promote liver uptake of the LDLs, and their later removal from the plasma.
What does all this mean, though?
The researchers who performed the meta-analysis recognized that, although the changes were modest, any small change could reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease. Vitamin C stands out due to its low cost and lack of toxicity when supplementing in amounts ranging from 500 mg to 1,000 mg daily.
Vitamin C May Reduce Blood Pressure
It is a well-known fact that high blood pressure, or hypertension, is a primary predictive measure of the risk of various cardiovascular conditions, including strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure. That is because high blood pressure leads to the blood vessels becoming narrower and more blocked by a buildup of fats.
|Blood Pressure Category||Systolic mm Hg (upper number)||Diastolic mm Hg (lower number)|
|Normal Blood Pressure||< 120 mm Hg||AND||< 80 mm Hg|
|Elevated Blood Pressure||120 mm Hg – 129 mm Hg||AND||< 80 mm Hg|
|High Blood Pressure/Hypertension Stage 1||130 mm Hg – 139 mm Hg||OR||80 mm Hg – 89 mm Hg|
|High Blood Pressure/Hypertension Stage 2||> 140 mm Hg||OR||> 90 mm Hg|
|Hypertensive Crisis (immediate medical attention)||> 180 mm Hg||AND/OR||> 120 mm Hg|
There are two different types of blood pressure:
- Systolic blood pressure measures how much pressure the blood exerts against the arterial walls when the heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure measures how much pressure the blood exerts against the arterial walls in between heartbeats, while the heart is resting.
Recent research has indicated that, among people aged 40 to 89 years old, with every 22 mm Hg systolic or 10 mm Hg diastolic increase, the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles.
Now that we’re clear about the danger of having high blood pressure:
How does Vitamin C affect blood pressure levels?
There was a systematic review and meta-analysis of 29 randomized controlled clinical trials that examined the effects of Vitamin C supplementation on blood pressure. This was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The median dose was 500 mg daily, and the median duration of the studies was 8 weeks. The pooled changes in systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure were -3.84 mm Hg and -1.48 mm Hg, respectively.
In the clinical trials with hypertensive patients, the corresponding changes in systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure were -4.85 mm Hg and -1.67 mm Hg, respectively. Overall, in the short-term, Vitamin C supplementation significantly decreased both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.
That’s not all!
Vitamin C has been found to increase intracellular concentrations of tetrahydrobiopterin, which is an essential cofactor for the enzyme endothelial nitric oxide synthase. This enzyme helps produce nitric oxide, which has been proven to be a potent vasodilator. This means that nitric oxide helps widen the blood vessels, which increases blood flow and decreases blood pressure.
Research also provides evidence that Vitamin C enhances the bioactivity of nitric oxide.
Vitamin C May Reduce Endothelial Dysfunction
Vitamin C supplementation has been shown to improve endothelial function in both the brachial and coronary arteries in short-term clinical trials. Cardiologists consider endothelial dysfunction to be one of the first steps in the development of atherosclerosis. The measurement of brachial artery flow-mediated dilation is commonly used as a functional biomarker of endothelial function. The values of the flow-mediated dilation have an inverse correlation with the risk of future cardiovascular system events.
What does science have to say about Vitamin C benefits and endothelial function? There was a meta-analysis in 2014 of 44 randomized controlled trials in people with or without chronic diseases that examined the effect of Vitamin C supplementation on endothelial function. These studies measured endothelial function through flow-mediated dilation, blood flow in the forearm, or pulse wave analysis.
Short-term Vitamin C supplementation was discovered to reduce endothelial dysfunction in people with atherosclerosis, heart failure, or diabetes mellitus, which is a chronic metabolic disease that comes from the body’s inability to produce or respond to insulin. The effects of Vitamin C supplementation on endothelial function were stronger in people with higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin C also reduced endothelial dysfunction in healthy patients who had the condition experimentally induced.
This improved endothelial function was found to have occurred with daily supplementation of higher than 500 mg of Vitamin C.
How Vitamin C Copies the Effects of Exercise on the Heart
Believe it or not:
Vitamin C may be an effective substitute for exercise in providing beneficial cardiovascular system effects in certain groups of people. According to the American Psychological Society, more than 50% of overweight and obese adults do not exercise. This marks a sedentary lifestyle. Their blood vessels have increased activity of the protein endothelin-1, which makes it more likely that the blood vessels will constrict. This vasoconstriction increases the risk of developing heart disease.
There was one study that compared the effects of Vitamin C supplementation and exercise on endothelin-1 activity in 35 sedentary overweight or obese results. The researchers of this study found that a daily dose of 500 mg of time-released Vitamin C decreased endothelin-1 related vasoconstriction as much as walking for exercise did. Specifically, the effects of supplementation were as effective as a 3-month regimen of brisk walking, 5-7 times a week.
The researchers concluded that Vitamin C supplementation may be an effective replacement for exercise in decreasing endothelin-1 related vasoconstriction in sedentary overweight or obese individuals who do not meet the daily recommended levels of physical activity, whether due to injury or physical limitations. Supplementation is also easier to incorporate into a daily routine.
Liposomal Vitamin C Supplements
If you are looking for ways to increase your Vitamin C blood levels, you should consider a Vitamin C supplement.
More specifically, we would highly recommend you to do more research on Liposomal Vitamin C. Liposomal Technology uses micro sized fluid filled liposomes to protect and deliver nutrients directly into the cells and tissues of the body. These liposomes are very similar to human cells, which makes it easier for them to be transported within the body. As a result, nutrient absorption is greatly increased, and there is less intestinal discomfort than with using standard oral supplements.
Liposomal Technology provides several different advantages, including:
- Micro-sized encapsulation that protects against the harsh acidity of the gastrointestinal tract
- Increased delivery to cells, tissues, and organs
- Higher absorption rates and bioavailability than other standard oral supplements
- Noninvasive compared to intravenous supplementation
- Lower doses provide the same effects as high-dose standard oral supplements
- Helps put nutrients to use by the body faster
- Prevents gastrointestinal distress usually experienced with standard oral supplements
Clearly, Liposomal Vitamin C supplement deserves serious consideration for its potential to strengthen your cardiovascular system and heart health.
Top 10 Vitamin C Foods
- Orange Juice
- Sweet Red Bell Peppers
- Black Currant
- Sweet Yellow Peppers
- Rose Hips
- Acerola Cherry Juice
- Kakadu Plum
Why You Should Be Supplementing Vitamin C for Your Heart
Vitamin C supplementation has been shown to significantly decrease LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Vitamin C also decreases endothelial dysfunction. Additionally, Vitamin C could effectively replace regular cardio exercise for individuals who lead a sedentary lifestyle and are unable to meet the recommended daily guidelines for exercise.