Vitamin C and heart disease among smokers.




J Am Coll Nutr

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Consumer Data: Vitamin C
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Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that is stored in many tissues throughout the body, but the adrenal glands contain the highest concentration. 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 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. 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.

A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition investigated the relationship between vitamin C, smoking, and heart disease. A total of 108 Korean men who were being treated for myocardial infarction or coronary artery disease were used in this investigation. A control group of 142 participants were matched for age. Researchers collected data on food intake, Body Mass Index (BMI), tobacco use, and cardiovascular diseases in both groups. After adjusting these factors, the researchers found that those with a higher intake of vitamin C had a lower risk of developing non-fatal heart disease. In conclusion, the authors stated that this study indicated that a higher intake of dietary vitamin C may decrease the risks of heart disease.1


1. Nam CM, et al. Vitamin C Intake and Risk of Ischemic Heart Disease in a Population with a High Prevalence of Smoking. J Am Coll Nutr.2003;22(5):372-8.