According to research from the University of Colorado, Boulder, vitamin C is as good for your heart as exercise.
In overweight and obese adults, there’s a small blood vessel-constricting protein called endothelin that’s more active. This means their blood vessels are more prone to constricting, become less responsive to blood flow demand, and are more at-risk for vascular disease. Exercise is known to reduce this activity.
Previous research suggested that vitamin C supplements could improve blood vessel function. In the new study, researchers wanted to determine if vitamin C supplements could actually lower endothelin activity.
The small trial recruited sedentary adults who were overweight or obese. Study participants who took 500 milligrams of Vitamin C daily saw equal improvement in blood vessel tone and reduced endothelin-related vessel constriction — a key measure of heart health — as did those who started a three-month regimen of brisk walking five to seven times a week.
The findings have important implications for people who cannot exercise because of injury or physical limitations. However, study authors warn that vitamin C supplementation should not replace exercise. Engaging in regular physical activity has broader effects, such as lowering cholesterol, improving metabolic function and boosting mood and cognitive function. If you’re able to exercise, you should.
Proper nutrition that includes vitamins and minerals and regular exercise together are the key to improving heart health.