Low vitamin C levels may raise heart failure patients' risk

November 13, 2011, American Heart Association

Low levels of vitamin C were associated with higher levels of high sensitivity C-Reactive protein (hsCRP) and shorter intervals without major cardiac issues or death for heart failure patients, in research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2011.

Compared to those with high intake from food, patients in the study who had low vitamin C intake were 2.4 times more likely to have higher levels of hsCRP, a marker for inflammation and a risk factor for heart disease.

The study is the first to demonstrate that low vitamin C intake is associated with worse outcomes for heart failure patients.

with low vitamin C intake and hsCRP over 3 milligrams per liter (mg/L) were also nearly twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease within one year of follow-up.

"We found that adequate intake of vitamin C was associated with longer survival in ," said Eun Kyeung Song, Ph.D., R.N., lead author of the study and assistant professor at the Department of Nursing, College of Medicine, in the University of Ulsan in Korea.

The average age among the 212 patients in the study was 61, and about one-third were women. Approximately 45 percent of the participants had moderate to severe heart failure.

Participants completed a four-day food diary verified by a registered dietitian and a software program calculated their vitamin C intake. Bloods tests measured hsCRP.

Researchers divided participants into one group with levels over 3 mg/L of hsCRP and another with lower levels. Patients were followed for one year to determine the length of time to their first visit to the due to cardiac problems or death.

Researchers found that 82 patients (39 percent) had inadequate vitamin C intake, according to criteria set by the Institute of Medicine. These criteria allowed the researchers to estimate the likelihood that the patient's diet was habitually deficient in vitamin C based on a four day food diary. After a year follow-up, 61 patients (29 percent) had cardiac events, which included an emergency department visit or hospitalization due to , or cardiac death.

The researchers found that 98 patients (46 percent) had hsCRP over 3 mg/L, according to Song.

Inflammatory pathways in may be why vitamin C deficiency contributed to poor health outcomes, the data suggests.

"Increased levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein means a worsening of heart failure," Song said. "An adequate level of vitamin C is associated with lower levels of C-reactive protein. This results in a longer cardiac event-free survival in patients."

The use of diuretics may also play a role because vitamin C is water soluble and diuretics increase the amount of water excreted from the kidneys, said Terry Lennie, Ph.D., R.N., study author and associate dean of Ph.D. studies in the College of Nursing at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.

"Diet is the best source of vitamin C," Lennie said. "Eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day provides an adequate amount."

More randomized controlled trials and longitudinal prospective studies are needed to determine the impact of other micronutrients on survival or rehospitalization, Song said.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Researchers borrow from AIDS playbook to tackle rheumatic heart disease

January 22, 2018
Billions of US taxpayer dollars have been invested in Africa over the past 15 years to improve care for millions suffering from the HIV/AIDS epidemic; yet health systems on the continent continue to struggle. What if the ...

A nanoparticle inhalant for treating heart disease

January 18, 2018
A team of researchers from Italy and Germany has developed a nanoparticle inhalant for treating people suffering from heart disease. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.