Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Vitamin C – Best in Foods?

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Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that may help to keep inflammation in check.  It is found in many fruits and vegetables including peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, citrus fruits, papaya and strawberries.

A study with vitamin C included 212 people with heart  failure, on average 61 years old.  They were asked to keep a food diary and the researchers analyzed their intakes by computer analysis.  They also took a blood test that determines levels of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), an indicator of inflammation in the body.

The results showed that the heart failure patients with the lowest level of vitamin C were 2.4 times more likely to have higher blood levels of hsCRP, a potential indicator of heart disease risk.  Those people with low vitamin C and high hsCRP levels were nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized or die from heart failure when compared to those people who had higher levels of vitamin C and lower levels of hsCRP.

These results may indicate that vitamin C in foods may help to prevent heart disease, however, people with higher intakes of vitamin C may be healthier overall due to a healthier diet and other lifestyle factors.  Interestingly, supplements once again fall short – in this case other studies have shown that adding supplements of vitamin C or other antioxidants does not improve outcomes in people who already have heart failure.

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