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 vitamin C intake from food, heart failure 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.
Study participants 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 patients with heart failure," 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 emergency department 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
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