It is estimated that anywhere from one-quarter to one-third of Americans are deficient in vitamin C. Unlike other mammals, which can produce their own vitamin C, we need to ingest ours. Many people supplement with vitamin C to boost their immune system when they feel a cold coming on. But, research shows the benefits are more far-reaching than a temporary illness-fighter, it could even work to prevent heart disease.
Numerous studies about the heart-healthy benefits of vitamin C come to similar conclusions—that it can reduce the risk factors for a heart attack or stroke. One reason for the risk reduction has to do with vitamin C’s ability to improve arterial health. Additionally, vitamin C restores elasticity in vessel walls, helping to prevent the formation of plaque.
A European study involving 20,000 participants found that death from heart disease was 60 percent lower when contrasting the plasma vitamin C levels in the highest 20 percent compared with the lowest 20 percent.
In general, vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties. And since inflammation is being increasingly linked to countless diseases and afflictions (heart disease, stroke, cancer, cognitive decline, and more), it stands to reason that vitamin C could potentially help prevent these issues.
In medical circles, you will find conflicting information on vitamin C. One argument is that vitamin C doesn’t stay in the body long, so supplementation of anything more than what can be immediately used by the body is, in essence, pointless.
While it’s true that the body does eliminate vitamin C quickly, regular supplementation at four hour intervals allows much more of it to be utilized. The Vitamin C Foundation recommends a total of at least 3,000 mg supplemented throughout the day in 500 mg doses to prevent and protect against heart disease. And, they say, much higher doses can be well tolerated—even as much as 18,000 mg per day.
They suggest “bowel tolerance” as an indicator of how much one should take. In other words, loose stools indicates you have had enough. It’s interesting to note that when one is ill, their bowel tolerance for mass quantities of vitamin C actually increases, allowing you to supplement with more when you need it the most.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Unfortunately, many people’s attempts to avoid it or treat it are misguided by medical doctors being steered by Big Pharma. The majority of people know their diet and fitness levels can play a major role in heart health, but perhaps vitamin C supplementation is of similar importance.