Can’t Exercise? Pop Some Vitamin C
Sleep, exercise and good nutrition are the foundations of good health. Think of these fundamental activities as the sturdy legs of a three-legged stool. If one of the legs is weak or unsupported, everything collapses. Regular exercise is crucial for health and fitness.
But according to research, less than half of all adults get the regular exercise they need to achieve this healthful balance. Of particular concern is the effect this may have on the state of older people’s blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease is our number one killer, and it usually begins, years before any symptoms become apparent, with dysfunction that affects the inner lining of blood vessels; within a specialized tissue called the endothelium. So-called endothelial dysfunction underlies the disease process known as atherosclerosis, and atherosclerosis is the root cause of most cardiovascular disease.
Recently, researchers attended the 14th International Conference on Endothelin: Physiology, Pathophysiology and Therapeutics, held in Savannah, Georgia. They heard encouraging news regarding emerging evidence that taking supplemental vitamin C may achieve some of the same effects as regular exercise. While no one is recommending popping supplements instead of engaging in exercise, this new finding could offer an alternative for people who cannot exercise for one reason or another.
That’s because antioxidant vitamin C helps curtail the activity of a protein called endothelin (ET-1). This protein acts to constrict small blood vessels, making them less responsive to changing demands for blood flow, and more likely to develop vascular disease. Exercise helps to reduce levels of ET-1 to normal amounts. But so, too, does dietary vitamin C. In an experiment presented to attendees at the recent conference, investigators found that a timed-release dose of 500 mg vitamin C worked to reduce ET-1 levels, as much as walking for exercise accomplished. “Vitamin C supplementation represents an effective lifestyle strategy for reducing ET-1-mediated vessel constriction in overweight and obese adults,” researchers wrote.
American Physiological Society (APS). "Vitamin C: The exercise replacement?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2015. .