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Vitamin C lowers levels of inflammation biomarker considered predictor of heart disease
Date:11/13/2008

Berkeley -- A new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, adds to the evidence that vitamin C supplements can lower concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP), a central biomarker of inflammation that has been shown to be a powerful predictor of heart disease and diabetes. The same study found no benefit from daily doses of vitamin E, another antioxidant.

This study comes just days after a larger, eight-year clinical trial led by researchers at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital failed to show that vitamins C or E could cut the risk of heart attacks or strokes.

That trial does not necessarily close the books on the benefits of vitamin C for cardiovascular health, according to Gladys Block, UC Berkeley professor emeritus of epidemiology and public health nutrition and lead author of the study looking at vitamins C and E and their impact on CRP levels. She pointed out that the Brigham and Women's Hospital study did not screen study participants for elevations in CRP - defined by the American Heart Association as 1 milligram per liter or greater - which is an important distinction in determining who might benefit from taking vitamin C.

The study led by Block, currently online and scheduled to appear in the Jan. 1 issue of the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, shows that for healthy, non-smoking adults with an elevated level of CRP, a daily dose of vitamin C lowered levels of the inflammation biomarker after two months compared with those who took a placebo. However, participants who did not start out with elevated CRP levels saw no benefit from vitamin C supplementation.

"This is an important distinction; treatment with vitamin C is ineffective in persons whose levels of CRP are less than 1 milligram per liter, but very effective for those with higher levels," said Block. "Grouping people with elevated CRP levels with those who have lower levels can mask the effects of vitamin C. Co
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Contact: Sarah Yang
scyang@berkeley.edu
510-643-7741
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert

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