An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure!

Important New Research From University of Ulsan In Korea Reported.

The American Heart Association, National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Nursing Research funded the study.

Low levels of vitamin C were associated with higher levels of high sensitivity C – Reactive protein (hsCRP) and shorter intervals without major cardiac issues or death for heart failure patients,
in research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2011.

Compared to those with high vitamin C intake, heart failure patients in the study who had low vitamin C intake were 2.4 times more likely to have higher levels of hsCRP, a marker for inflammation and a risk factor for heart disease.

The study demonstrates that low vitamin C intake is associated with worse outcomes for heart failure patients.

Study participants with low vitamin C intake and hsCRP over 3 milligrams per liter (mg/L) were also nearly twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease within one year of follow-up.

“We found that adequate intake of vitamin C was associated with longer survival in patients with heart failure,” said researchers from Department of Nursing, College of Medicine, in the University of Ulsan in Korea.

The average age among the 212 patients in the study was 61, two thirds were men and about one-third were women. Approximately 45 percent of the participants had moderate to severe heart failure.

Participants completed a four-day food diary verified by a registered dietitian and a software program calculated their vitamin C intake. Bloods tests measured hsCRP.

Researchers divided participants into one group with levels over 3 mg/L of hsCRP and another with lower levels. Patients were followed for one year to determine the length of time to their first visit to the emergency department due to cardiac problems or death.

Researchers found that 82 patients (39 %) had inadequate vitamin C intake, according to criteria set by the Institute of Medicine. These criteria allowed the researchers to estimate the likelihood that the patient’s diet was habitually deficient in vitamin C based on a four day food diary.

After a year follow-up, 61 patients (29 percent) had cardiac events, which included an emergency department visit or hospitalization due to cardiac problems, or cardiac death.

The researchers found that 98 patients (46 percent) had hsCRP over 3 mg/L. Inflammatory pathways in heart failure patients may be why vitamin C deficiency contributed to poor health outcomes, the data suggests.

“Increased levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein means a worsening of heart failure,” the researchers explained. “An adequate level of vitamin C is associated with lower levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. This results in a longer cardiac event-free survival in patients.”

The use of diuretics may also play a role because vitamin C is water soluble and diuretics increase the amount of water excreted from the kidneys, explained researchers also participating in the study and co-authors from College of Nursing at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.

Vitamin C Rich Foods
“Diet is the best source of vitamin C,” the researchers said. “Eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables each day provides adequate amount.” More randomized controlled trials and studies are needed to determine the impact of other micro-nutrients on survival or re-hospitalization, they said.

The American Heart Association,  the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Nursing Research funded the study.

Story Source: American Heart Association.

American Heart Association (2011, November 13).
“Low vitamin C levels may raise heart failure patients’ risk.”

This article is for informational and educational purposes only;
It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact your doctor or healthcare professional for medical and nutritional consultation.

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