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Reduced vitamin C intake among heart failure patients associated with increased mortality over one year

Reduced vitamin C intake among heart failure patients associated with increased mortality over one year

Tuesday, November 15, 2011. At the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2011, held November 12-16 in Orlando, Florida, it was reported that heart failure patients have a greater risk of inflammation and death over follow-up when consuming a diet that provides an inadequate amount of vitamin C.

Eun Kyeung Song, PhD, RN of the University of Ulsan in Korea and associates measured high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP, which increases with inflammation and is a risk factor for heart disease) in 212 men and women with an average age of 61 who were diagnosed with heart failure. Four-day food diary entries were analyzed for the intake of vitamin C. Participants were followed for a year, during which 61 subjects experienced cardiac events or death due to cardiac causes.

Thirty-nine percent of the subjects had inadequate vitamin C intake (according to Institute of Medicine criteria) and 46 percent had hsCRP levels higher than 3 milligrams per liter. Having a low intake of vitamin C was associated with a 2.4 times greater risk of having elevated hsCRP levels compared to those whose intake was adequate. Subjects who had reduced dietary vitamin C and high C-reactive protein had almost twice the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease over follow-up than those who had a greater intake of the vitamin and lower hsCRP levels.

The study is the first to show worse heart failure outcomes among men and women with low vitamin C intake. "We found that adequate intake of vitamin C was associated with longer survival in patients with heart failure," commented Dr Song, who is an assistant professor at the University of Ulsan College of Medicine's Department of Nursing. "Increased levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein means a worsening of heart failure. 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."

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Asthma benefit for vitamin C

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An article published on August 25, 2011 in Clinical and Translational Allergy reports a positive effect for vitamin C supplementation in asthmatic children.

In a cross-over trial, 60 children between the ages of 7 and 10 with asthma were given 200 milligrams vitamin C, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, a combination of the three supplements or a placebo daily for six weeks. After a two week period during which no supplements were given, the participants were switched to a new regimen, until all children had received each treatment. Questionnaires assessed asthma severity at the beginning of the study and at the end of each phase of treatment, and pulmonary function was tested via spirometry. Additionally, the parents were questioned on the presence of mold or dampness in the children's bedrooms.

While supplementation with vitamin C was associated with an average increase of 29 percent in forced expiratory volume per one second (FEV1), which is a measure of pulmonary function, there was significant difference among the participants according to age and level of mold exposure. Children aged 7 to 8.2 years who had no exposure to dampness or mold experienced a 37 percent increase FEV1, while this measure increased by just 21 percent in those between the ages of 8.3 and 10 years whose parents reported mold and dampness in their children's rooms. When symptom questionnaire responses were analyzed, children aged 7 to 8.2 years with mild asthma symptoms were found to have experienced the greatest benefit from the vitamin, while older subjects whose symptoms were severe benefitted least. "It would seem important to carry out further research to confirm our findings and more accurately identify the groups of children who would receive the greatest benefit from vitamin C supplementation," the authors write.

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