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Vitamin C Linked to Lower Blood Pressure

A study published in the December 2008 issue of Nutrition Journal found a link between higher levels of vitamin C and lower blood pressure.

The study included 242 women between 18 and 21 years old. All of them began the study when they were between 8-11 years old as part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study.

After 10 years the researchers found that women with the highest vitamin C levels had significantly lower blood pressure than those with the lowest levels. Higher vitamin C levels were associated with a 4.66 mm/Hg drop in systolic (top number), and 6.04 mm/Hg reduction in diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure.

Elevated blood pressure has been associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, heart attack and stroke. With approximately 60 percent of American adults living with hypertension or pre-hypertension, identifying effective preventative measures may be an important public health goal.

While further studies will serve to verify and expand on these results, getting more vitamin C in your diet is important for a number of other reasons.

Vitamin C is essential for the repair of tissues throughout your body. It also plays a role in the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth. The vitamin has also been linked to lower risk of heart disease, some cancers, and better immune system function.

The recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 90mg for men and 75mg for women. To maintain these levels you may want to incorporate more fruits, vegetables and foods fortified with vitamin C in your diet. If this proves difficult, a high quality supplement may be the way to go.
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