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Vitamin C for Healthy Blood Pressure

Checking Blood Pressure A study has been published in the December issue of Nutrition Journal that details findings which indicate significant links between vitamin C and low blood pressure. There is strong evidence from the research that “vitamin C is specifically important in maintaining a healthy blood pressure,” said lead researcher, Dr Gladys Block from the University of California, Berkeley.
This research was particularly focused on younger women. Previous research had been conducted on middle-aged and older adults with high blood pressure, and shown links between high plasma levels of vitamin C and lowering of blood pressure amongst those participants.   

The most recent research involved 242 black and white women aged between 18 and 21 years. The participants all had normal blood pressures, and were found via their participation in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study. The initial stages of the trial began when the participants were between 8 to 11 years old. Over a 10-year period, the plasma levels of ascorbic acid – Vitamin C – and their blood pressures were monitored.

Block and her research team found that by the end of the 10-year period, blood pressure had been inversely associated with ascorbic acid levels. This means that higher than normal blood pressure lowered with higher amounts of vitamin C, and lower than normal blood pressure levels increased with vitamin C.

Women with the largest intake of vitamin C had a decline in their high blood pressure (systolic) readings of approximately 4.66 mm Hg compared to women with the lowest intake of vitamin C. Similarly from the same group of women taking the largest levels of vitamin C with initial low blood pressure (diastolic) had increases in their readings of 6.04 mm Hg compared to women with the lowest intake of vitamin C.

The difference remained when researchers included in their calculations variables of: body mass, race, education levels, as well as dietary fat and sodium intake.

The researchers also noted that the women with the highest recorded levels of ascorbic acid would have diets rich in fruits, vegetables, multivitamins and or supplements. The women with the lowest levels of plasma ascorbic acid were likely to have included an average dosage of fruits and vegetables in their diets.

Blocks’ further analysis of the research findings indicated that “people with the highest blood level of vitamin C had the least increase in blood pressure.”

Block and her colleagues are now looking towards further studies involving healthy young adults and the effects of vitamin C on their blood pressure.

By Nicole Chiu – Contributing Health Journalist

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