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Impressive research on the powers of vitamin C
Vitamin C improves blood vessel function 
Vitamin C can lower chances of heart problems, but prior studies of vitamin C and blood vessel function have been inconclusive. In this review of 44 clinical trials covering 1,129 people, researchers found vitamin C improved blood vessel function, particularly in those with higher chances of vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart failure, and diabetes. Doctors said a thin layer, known as the endothelium, lines the blood vessels and regulates their flexibility. Oxidation and inflammation damage and stiffen the endothelium. Vitamin C directly reduces this oxidation and inflammation and also appears to make nitric oxide, a powerful blood vessel relaxer, more available to the blood vessels. Discussing the findings, doctors said the benefits of vitamin C began at doses greater than 500 mg of vitamin C per day, and to their knowledge, this is the first review and analysis of the effect of vitamin C supplements on blood vessel function in human adults.
Reference: Atherosclerosis; 2014, Vol. 235, No. 1, 9-20.


Lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C increase chances of a long, healthy life
When a cell divides to make a new one, it needs to copy genetic information. Protecting this genetic code are telomeres, pieces of DNA at either end of the gene strand within each cell. Every time the cell replicates, telomeres shorten, reducing the remaining number of times it can successfully divide.
Without telomeres, the genetic code becomes corrupt, preventing healthy new cells from forming; possibly helping explain how age-related diseases such as cancer develop. Doctors said there is a link between short telomere length, aging, and age-related diseases, and that oxidative stress plays a major role. In this study, researchers measured circulating levels of antioxidants in 786 men and women, average age 66. Those with the highest levels of lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C had the longest telomeres, suggesting these antioxidants may help prevent or alter the course of age-related diseases.
Reference: J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Feb;62(2):222-9.


Vitamin C lowers chances of stroke
In this review, doctors analyzed 11 vitamin C studies that followed 217,454 men and women from six to 30 years. Overall, those who got the most vitamin C were 19 percent less likely to have had a stroke of any kind compared to those who got the least. Researchers found, in 10 of the 11 studies, chances of stroke declined 17 percent for each 100 mg increase in vitamin C per day. In six studies of circulating vitamin C, those with higher levels were 38 percent less likely to have had a stroke compared to those with lower levels. And, in five of the six studies, doctors found chances of stroke decreased by 19 percent for every 20 micromole-per-liter of blood increase in circulating vitamin C. Doctors said there is increasing evidence of a link between stroke and systemic inflammation, and that vitamin C has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Reference: Journal of the American Heart Association; 2013, Nov 27;2(6):e000329


Vitamin C reduces oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes
Even if diabetics successfully control blood sugar, complications will still occur due to oxidative damage to cells from free radicals, doctors said. In one study, 30 men and women, aged 30 to 65, who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for at least one year, took 1,000 mg of the antioxidant vitamin C per day or a placebo. All participants were controlling blood sugar with oral medication, were non-smokers, had no vascular or inflammatory disease, and were not being treated for high cholesterol, or taking hormone replacement therapy, beta blockers, diuretics or aspirin. After six weeks, while the placebo group had not improved, those who had taken vitamin C had significantly lower levels of oxidative stress both after fasting and after a meal. Discussing their findings, doctors said vitamin C may be a safe, inexpensive way to reduce complications from type 2 diabetes.
Reference: Pak J Biol Sci, 2011 Oct 1; 14(19), 900-4.


Vitamin C reduces heart disease risk
Vitamin C reduced the risk for heart disease. In the heart disease study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, doctors in Britain recruited 3,258 men, aged 60 to 79, who had not been diagnosed with heart attack (myocardial infarction), stroke or diabetes. Researchers measured the levels of fruits, vegetables and vitamin C in the diet through a food questionnaire. To determine heart disease risk, doctors measured blood levels of a type of protein (C-reactive protein or CRP) that signals acute inflammation, and a type of enzyme (tissue plasminogen activator or t-PA), which indicates that blood vessels may be stiffening.

Compared to men with the lowest blood fluid (plasma) levels of vitamin C, men with the highest plasma levels of vitamin C were 44% less likely to have elevated CRP levels, and 21% less likely to have elevated t-PA. Compared to men who ate the fewest fruits, men who ate the most fruit were 24% less likely to have elevated CRP or t-PA. Men who ate the most vegetables were less likely to have elevated t-PA levels compared to men who ate the fewest vegetables. The doctors noted that blood was less likely to abnormally thicken and clot in men with the most plasma vitamin C.
Reference: Am J Clin Nutr 2006;83:567-74.

Vitamin C increases fertility in men
In a fertility study, researchers recruited 13 otherwise healthy but infertile men, aged 25 to 35, who took 1,000 mg of vitamin C twice per day. After two months, average sperm count had increased 129%, independent and spontaneous movement (sperm motility) increased 93% and normal shape (sperm morphology) rose 55%. Doctors concluded that vitamin C supplements may improve the quality of semen and odds of conception.
Reference: J Med Food. 2006;9(3):440-2.
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