Vitamin C and heart health - NL-053
Most of us turn to vitamin C at the first signs of cold or flu. Did you know this immune-boosting micronutrient also supports heart health? You may already be familiar with its role in boosting the immune system, improving skin health and preventing anaemia by improving iron absorption. Did you know it also improves heart health and goes a long way to preventing the risk of heart disease.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant
Vitamin C fights free radicals that cause oxidative damage to cells and tissues, resulting in inflammation and disease. For example, free radicals oxidize cholesterol molecules. This process triggers unwanted inflammatory reactions in the blood vessels and causes atherosclerosis (excessive build-up of plaque in the inner lining of blood vessels that causes hardening and narrowing of arteries).
Thick and clogged arteries obstruct the blood flow to vital tissues and organs, and can even lead to heart attack and stroke.
Vitamin C helps in collagen synthesis
Vitamin C plays a pivotal role in tissue growth and repair. It also helps in faster healing of wounds because your body uses vitamin C as a critical co-factor to make collagen, a fibrous protein found in tissues such as skin, eyes, bones, tendons, ligament and the gut. Collagen lends structure and integrity to your connective tissues, making them strong, stable and resilient. How is this related to heart health? Well, vitamin C keeps the connective tissue of endothelium (inner lining of the blood vessels) healthy and resistant to oxidative damage. It also helps blood vessels to relax, thus improving the blood flow. Studies show vitamin C may improve endothelial function and also help in reducing blood pressure, which is a big risk factor for heart disease.
Do you need vitamin C supplements?
You can become vitamin C deficient if you aren't eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables. It is important to eat these foods raw, as cooking destroys most of the vitamin content in fruits and vegetables. Smokers are also at a very high risk of vitamin C deficiency. Eating disorders, pregnancy, surgery, alcoholism and GI tract disorders increase your risk of Vitamin C deficiency, making it important to take Vitamin C supplements to maintain overall health and wellbeing. Vitamin C deficiency can cause joint pain, muscle pain, irritability, fatigue, fragile bones and a general feeling of malaise. Since it keeps your connective tissues healthy, vitamin C shortage in the body can also lead to poor wound healing, gingivitis, bleeding gums, dry skin, corkscrew hair, easy bruising and internal bleeding.
Are you already taking a vitamin C supplement? Not all supplements are created equal. Liposomal vitamin C achieves better bioavailability and absorption than traditional forms such as tablets and powder, hence better health outcomes. In addition, liposomal supplements will not cause discomforting side effects such as diarrhoea, bloating and cramps.
- Guan et al. Effects of vitamin C supplementation on essential hypertension. Medicine. (Baltimore). 2020
- Ashor et al. Effect of vitamin C on endothelial function in health and disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Atherosclerosis. 2014