Low levels of vitamin C associated with stroke risk.

Date:

03-Jun-2002

Source

Stroke

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Stroke Vitamin C
Professional Data: Stroke Vitamin C

Article

Vitamin C corrects the world's oldest known nutritional deficiency, the disease scurvy. It was first isolated by Albert Szent Gyorgyi in 1928. Today, scientists know that humans are one of the few species that cannot manufacture vitamin C in the body. Humans must depend on diet or nutritional supplements as the source of this vitamin.

The best sources of vitamin C are fresh fruits, especially citrus fruits, strawberries, cantaloupe and currants. Fresh vegetables, especially Brussels sprouts, collard greens, lettuce, cabbage, peas, and asparagus are also good sources.

Vitamin C has been heavily researched for its role in a long list of functions in the body. First, it is involved with the production of collagen and elastin, which are necessary for the health of skin, tendons, joints, bones, teeth and blood vessels. Second, vitamin C functions as an antioxidant, thus helping to limit damage to the body from free radicals. It also enhances the antioxidant activity of vitamin E. Next, vitamin C is important for production of the hormones that help the body respond to physical stress. Also, vitamin C may reduce some inflammatory reactions because it possesses anti-histamine activity. Finally, vitamin C can help the body rid itself of heavy metal toxins like mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel.

Vitamin C may now play an important role in stroke risks, researchers have just discovered. In a 10-year cohort study of 2,419 middle-aged men, the vitamin C levels were measured. The men involved in this study had no prior stroke history. During the 10-year period, 120 strokes occurred. The men with the lowest vitamin C levels had a 2.4 fold increased risk of stroke when compared to men with the highest levels. After the results were adjusted for factors such as blood pressure, body mass index, and smoking, this association was reduced slightly. The risk for stroke was the greatest in overweight and hypertensive men with low vitamin c levels. The researchers concluded that, "Low plasma vitamin C was associated with increased risk of stroke, especially among hypertensive and overweight men."1

References

1. Kurl S, et al. Plasma Vitamin C Modifies the Association Between Hypertension and Risk of Stroke. Stroke. Jun 2002;33:1568.