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    Take C or Not Take C, That Is the Question


    On the other hand, recent research conducted at the University of Southern California and presented at an American Heart Association meeting showed that men who took 500 mg of vitamin C developed thickening of their artery walls, increasing their risk of heart attacks or strokes.

    So how can vitamin C both reduce blood pressure and harden the arteries? Fotherby says no one really knows, but he has a theory. "Although we gave capsules to the subjects in our study, food sources of vitamin C are far superior," says Fotherby. "Since foods contain many other nutrients, including other antioxidants, they work together to promote overall health."

    Sound nutrition has long been the advice of the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and other health organizations, particularly those that promote a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

    The ADA says research on the relationship between diet and disease has indicated the importance of a variety of nutrients. The best nutritional strategy for promoting optimal health and reducing the risk of chronic disease is to obtain adequate nutrients from a wide variety of foods, according to the ADA. Vitamin and mineral supplementation is appropriate when scientific evidence shows safety and effectiveness, but good nutrition depends on a good diet, the ADA says.

    Vital Information:

    • Different studies have shown that vitamin C supplements lower blood pressure but can also cause hardening of the arteries.
    • In these studies, people took 500 mg of vitamin C supplements per day, which is much greater than the recommended daily amount.
    • Researchers do not know how vitamin C causes these effects, but they advise people to continue to get vitamin C from their diet, which is much healthier than taking a supplement.
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