Vitamin C = Cardiovascular Health
How healthy is your ticker? Considering that 1 in 3 Americans suffer from heart ailments,1 chances are that you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a heart condition. Studies have shown a remarkable potential for vitamin C to improve heart health. So, why is Vitamin C so closely linked with cardiovascular health? One surprising way is collagen.
Collagen: The Unsung Heart Hero
When you think of collagen, you likely don’t think about arteries and blood vessels. Or even the connective tissue of your heart. But your heart’s connective tissue is comprised of 80% type I and 20% type III collagen.2 Collagen is also found in abundance in the walls of your arteries and veins.3 That’s because collagen provides both structure and contractility. Additionally, collagen plays a crucial role in cellular regrowth, repair, and homeostasis. Collagen is vital, comprising 30-40%4 of the human body. Think of collagen as the scaffolding to your skin, bones, and connective tissues
The hardening of arteries has long been associated with cardiovascular issues. We’ve all heard about the dangers of fat and cholesterol. This is primarily due to their association with the buildup of plaque and hardening of arteries in a condition called atherosclerosis.5 What you likely haven’t heard of is the role that collagen plays in keeping arteries and blood vessels supple.6 In fact, studies have demonstrated the benefits of collagen on the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis in humans.7
A Mountain of Vitamin C Evidence
We all know that vitamin c plays an essential role in the synthesis of collagen. Which is one reason why vitamin C has been shown to have such a profound effect of cardiovascular health. Studies have shown vitamin C inhibits the oxidation of LDL-proteins, improves lipid profiles, reduces arterial stiffness, and improves endothelial function.8 Need a little more snooze worthy research to back up that hype? Bring it on.
The lining of our blood vessels is called the endothelium. One 2014 meta-analysis9 that reviewed over 40 studies that linked vitamin c to a reduction in endothelial dysfunction. Daily doses of 500 mg and higher showed improvement in patients with heart failure, atherosclerosis, and diabetes mellitus.
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Similarly, a 2012 meta-analysis reviewed over 1,400 patients with findings that daily, short term supplementation (median dose of 500 mg) reduced both systolic (by an average of by 3.84 mm GH) and diastolic blood pressure (1.84 mm GH). That’s the equivalent of adding 90-150 minutes or aerobic exercise each week!10
Cardiovascular Heart Health
Another 2004 pooled analysis11 showed that supplemental vitamin (intake of 400 mg daily over a mean of 10 years) was linked with lower cardiovascular heart issues. Meanwhile, a 2008 meta-analysis12 concluded that dietary vitamin C intake was inversely associated with heart health risks. Meaning that either way you slice or dice your vitamin C intake, studies show that getting those glorious C’s are linked with healthier hearts.
Cerebrovascular Blockage/Rupture (Stroke)
“Cerebro” or brain, and “vascular” referring to arteries and veins, refers to all disorders involving blood flow to the brain. These can be temporary or permanent and may occur as the result of vessel narrowing (stenosis), clot formations (thrombosis), blockage (embolism), or blood vessel rupture (hemorrhage). A 2013 meta-analysis[13 reported a significantly lower risk of stroke: 19% lower risk of stroke based on dietary intake and a 38% lower risk of stroke based on circulating vitamin C concentrations (bloodstream levels).
Improving Heart Health
While there are a number of risk factors linked to heart ailments, obesity is one of the most alarming. One study showed that obesity increased the risk of heart issues by 49%.14 Considering that 1 in 3 Americans are considered obese,15 those numbers represent a remarkable parallel. We could tout the evidence showing that vitamin C can also help raise metabolism and burn 30% more fat during moderate exercise16 – but, we will save that topic for another day. What we can say is that improving your heart health is curiously similar to improving your overall health.
Remember, your heart operates non-stop. Pumping 2,000 gallons a day, your heart circulates your blood throughout your entire body 3 times every minute. When you consider what this powerhouse muscle (only the size of your fist) can accomplish, it’s really not a lot to take time everyday to return the favor. Sure, life gets crazy, schedules become demanding, we have days (or weeks) that we overindulge that sweet tooth, or party a little too hard. Life happens. At those times it's more important than ever to remember to incorporate a quality liposomal vitamin C supplement into your daily routine.