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Vitamin C from Fruits and Vegetables and Inflammation



Research shows that heart disease, strokes and other conditions are at least partly caused by inflammation. There are a number of markers in the blood that researchers use to evaluate inflammation, so there is naturally a great deal of interest in factors that may help decrease these inflammatory markers in the blood.

Dr S. Goya Wannamethee and coworkers evaluated the role of Vitamin C on inflammation. Specifically they were interested in whether consuming fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C would have an effect on different markers of inflammation. In a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN: 83;567-574) the researchers looked at both these types of markers as well as chemicals involved in blood clotting.

They studied 3,258 men between the ages of 60 and 79. None had a previous diagnosis of heart attack, stroke or diabetes. They found a decrease in the inflammatory markers in those men with higher intakes of Vitamin C. The higher the Vitamin C in the bloodstream from fruit, the lower the markers in the blood. Vitamin C intake from vegetables was only found to reduce the blood clotting factor.

Keep in mind that there is a leap of faith that the Vitamin C reduces inflammation and that the decreased inflammation will lead to a decrease in heart attack and stroke. While there is research that points to this, it is not definitive. Unfortunately, in medicine just because A = B and B = C, it doesn’t mean that A automatically equals C.

What this means for you

Fruits and veggies are good for you. We know that eating a diet that is rich in them reduces the risk of stroke, heart attack and many other conditions. Vitamin C may be the reason for this, but the important thing is that fruits and veggies taste good.

First posted: May 5, 2006