Heart Health Hampered by Vitamin C Supplements, Study Shows
WebMD News Archive
Dwyer and Pearson say the study lends credence to the AHA position, which
recommends "across the board that vitamin and/or mineral supplements should
not be substituted for a healthy, balanced diet."
In other studies of the link between nutrition and heart disease and stroke
presented at the meeting here, Lydia A. Bazzano, BS, an MD/PhD candidate at
Tulane University in New Orleans, found that those who ate beans four or more
times a week "had a 19% lower incidence of heart disease compared to those
who ate fewer servings of beans." She tells WebMD, "We don't know what
type of beans, since we just measured dried beans and peas and we don't know
how large the servings should be, but frequency does appear to offer
In a second study, she and her colleagues evaluated the effect of fruit and
vegetable intake and again report a positive finding. "People who ate three
or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day had a 29% lower risk of stroke
and a 27% less risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke," she
says. Those findings were based on 19 years of follow-up of a national sample
of 11,000 people, she says.
Another, much smaller, study demonstrated that overweight men and women who
switched to a diet that replaces refined grains with whole grains were able to
reduce several components of blood that are associated with heart attacks. The
special diet reduced what are called inflammatory markers and some factors that
are known to cause clotting in the blood, says Mark A. Pereira, PhD, instructor
at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Pereira tells WebMD that the whole-grain diet also had an unexpected effect:
It caused a moderate weight loss over the six-week study. "If a longer-term
trial of the diet could demonstrate continued weight loss, the positive
benefits might be even greater," he says.
Pereira says the study suggests that even moderate changes in diet could
produce big public health benefits. "For example, to switch to a
whole-grain cereal or to make that peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole
grain rather than white bread would be enough to really impact heart
health," he says. As a word of advice, Pereira says shoppers should select
truly whole-grain breads, "where the whole grain is the first or second
item on the label," he says.