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Dietary Vitamin C May Protect Heart Failure Patients

Vitamin C from dietary sources may help prevent re-hospitalization and death for heart failure patients, according to a recent study from the University of Ulsan in South Korea.

The findings were presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Session, which took place the week of November 12th, 2011.

The study included 212 individuals—one third of whom were women—with an average age of 61. All of the participants had already suffered from heart failure.

The participants kept track of their daily food intake for four days. A software program was used to calculate how much vitamin C they were getting through dietary sources. 39% were not getting the recommended amount of this essential vitamin.

In addition to measuring vitamin C intake, the researchers also conducted blood tests to determine levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation that has been linked to heart disease.

The researchers then followed all of the participants for one year. Sixty-one participants or 29% of the group was hospitalized or died from heart problems during that time frame. The participants who had low vitamin C levels ended up in the hospital or died more quickly than those with higher vitamin C levels.

It is important to note that these results were linked to vitamin C obtained from food sources. Previous studies have shown that vitamin C supplements do not improve the health of people with heart failure.

These results could be a result of the antioxidants found in vitamin C that help combat inflammation in the body. The researchers noted that these benefits could also come from the fact that people who consume a lot of fruits and vegetables are generally healthier overall.

Vitamin C has been linked to immune system function, heart health, brain health, eye health and improved mood. It can be found in high levels in citrus fruits and dark leafy greens such as cantaloupe, oranges, kiwis, papaya, broccoli and kale.

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