|June 07, 2004|
|Life Extension Update Exclusive |
Vitamin C deficiency common in the U.S.
The researchers used data collected during the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) which involved 30,818 individuals over the age of two months. In the current study analyzed serum vitamin C levels and information on diet and supplement use provided by questionnaires completed by 15,769 participants.
While dietary and serum vitamin C levels met or exceeded the U.S. RDA for most individuals, 14 percent of male participants and 10 percent of females had deficient serum vitamin C values, defined as lower than 11 micromoles per liter. Vitamin C depletion, which is defined as existing when serum levels of the vitamin are between 11 and 28 micromoles per liter, was found to occur in 20 percent of males and 17 percent of females. Smokers, non-Hispanic black males, and nonusers of supplements had the highest risk of being deficient in vitamin C. Individuals who had not reported using supplements in the previous month had at least three times the risk of vitamin C deficiency than those who reported their use.
The authors recommend the consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C and conclude, "In addition, vitamin C supplementation should be discussed with all patients, but especially those who are at the greatest risk of vitamin C deficiency: cigarette smokers and poor eaters."
As noted above, thrombi are clots that form in a blood vessel or in the wrong place: in an artery, a vein, or in the chambers of the heart. Thrombi in the arteries form under high pressure and flow conditions and are composed of platelet aggregates bound together by intrinsic fibrin protein strands. Clots in veins form under low flow conditions, are composed predominantly of red cells with few platelets, and contain a large amount of interspersed fibrin strands.
The prevention of thrombosis is essential in order to significantly reduce heart disease, cancer, and stroke mortality. Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death at approximately 1 million deaths yearly. This is about twice the incidence of yearly cancer deaths. Of these cardiovascular deaths, coronary artery disease represents approximately 51%, while strokes represent 16%. These diseases involve thrombosis in their evolution and make up a significant percentage of all cardiovascular deaths (American Heart Association 1997). In addition, thrombosis is a common killer of cancer patients. Therefore, it becomes paramount to optimize the prevention of thrombosis in order to reduce the high incidence of death from cardiovascular as well as other diseases.
Lipoprotein(a) is an altered form of LDL cholesterol that has a structure nearly identical to plasminogen, a protein that forms plasmin. Plasmin dissolves fibrin. Unfortunately, lipoprotein(a) inhibits the breakdown of fibrin by competing with plasminogen. Lipoprotein(a) was found to be a key component in blood clots, plaque formation and coronary heart disease (CHD) (Rath et al. 1989; Beisiegel et al. 1990).
Linus Pauling's theory of heart disease focused on the adverse effects of lipoprotein(a) on the cardiovascular system. Pauling and Rath proposed that lipoprotein(a) acted as a surrogate (replacement) for vitamin C (Rath et al. 1990a). They also proposed that a deficiency of vitamin C resulted in the increased production of lipoprotein(a) which both hardened the arteries and caused blood clots (Rath et al. 1990b). Linus Pauling recommended the use of high doses of pure vitamin C and lysine to both prevent and treat cardiovascular disease. Niacin, CoQ10, serine, and regular aerobic exercise have also been shown to lower lipoprotein(a) (Cohn 1998; Singh et al. 1999; Batiste et al. 2002).
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a white, crystalline, water-soluble substance found in citrus fruits and green vegetables. As an antioxidant, vitamin C scavenges free radicals in the body and protects tissues from oxidative stress. Vitamin C also promotes the absorption of iron, while preventing its oxidation. Vitamin C is a vital co-factor to the formation of collagen, the connective tissue that supports arterial walls, skin, bones, and teeth. It also assists in the production of thyroxin, the thyroid hormone that regulates metabolic rate.
More vitamin C is contained in the adrenal glands than any other organ in the body and is required at higher levels during times of stress. Physical stresses on the body such as infections, cigarette smoking, extreme temperatures, ingestion of heavy metals, and chronic use of certain medications also signal the need for increased intake of vitamin C.
Ascorbyl palmitate is a fat (lipid) soluble form of vitamin C that can reach tissue areas in which ascorbic acid cannot. Even though this form is purely synthetic and is not found in nature, it has been shown to be beneficial for protecting the lipid areas of the body from peroxidation.
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