Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
If you have undesirable fat around your midsection or would like to support cardiovascular health or reduce diabetic symptoms, vitamin C can help. Not only does it improve stamina, boost immunity, lessen stress response and curtail inflammation, but it also encourages insulin sensitivity and lowers concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP) — a biomarker which suggests heart disease risk.
A case in point is research from the University of California (Berkeley), which found participants who took approximately 500 milligrams of vitamin C each day experienced a 24 percent drop in plasma CRP levels after two months of the protocol. According to a press release:
“C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation, and there is a growing body of evidence that chronic inflammation is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease,” said Gladys Block, UC Berkeley professor of epidemiology and public health nutrition and lead author of the study. “If our finding of vitamin C’s ability to lower CRP is confirmed through other trials, vitamin C could become an important public health intervention.”
As a defense against infection or injury, the body triggers inflammatory cytokines, which then prompts the production of CRP by the liver. The researchers are unsure as to how vitamin C is able to lower CRP levels but suspect that the mechanism might be the suppression of cytokine production.
Moreover, vitamin C also influences insulin sensitivity. A study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research found that vitamin C decreased blood glucose and lipid levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. A total of 84 patients were randomly given either 500 mg or 1,000 mg of vitamin C each day for six weeks. At the conclusion of the study, the team discovered that those who were given the 1,000 mg dosage experienced significant declines in blood glucose and serum insulin levels, whereas the 500 mg group did not have any noticeable difference.
The connection between stress, weight gain and vitamin C deficiency
When we are exposed to persistent stress — whether from daily frustration or more extreme examples such as losing a job, home or loved one — our adrenals become dangerously depleted due to a near constant output of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Eventually, adrenal fatigue sets in, which is characterized by exhaustion, hair loss, acne, muscle soreness, susceptibility to illness, anxiety and depression. Weight gain, especially around the midriff, becomes particularly problematic because of heightened cortisol levels circulating throughout the system. When the adrenals are imbalanced, the thyroid glands are also affected, which further aggravates unwanted weight gain. However, an encouraging study has established that vitamin C can minimize the stress response, which in turn helps protect the adrenal glands.
Science Daily reports that a team at the University of Alabama (Huntsville) found that rats who were fed 200 mg/day vitamin C experienced reduced levels of plasma stress hormones, as well as lowered indicators of physical and emotional stress. Lead researcher of the study, P. Samuel Campbell, Ph.D., believes that our prehistoric ancestors most likely consumed sizable amounts of vitamin C through a diet rich in tropical fruits. “If so, the physiological constitution we have inherited may require doses far larger than the present RDA to keep us healthy under varying environmental conditions, including stress.”
- http://medind.nic.in [PDF]
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