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Vitamin C May Play Role in Stroke Prevention
Date:1/11/2008

Experts suspect that healthy diet and lifestyle are at root of reduced risk,,

FRIDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Having higher levels of vitamin C in your blood may reduce your risk of stroke, new research suggests.

People with the highest concentrations of vitamin C in their blood had a 42 percent lower risk of stroke than people with the lowest levels, according to the study, which is in the January issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

But, that doesn't mean that popping mega-doses of vitamin C supplement can ward off a brain attack, health experts cautioned.

"In the study itself, the authors made a strong point that they couldn't conclude that vitamin C directly lowers stroke risk," said Dr. Keith Siller, medical director of New York University Medical Center's Comprehensive Stroke Care Center. "It's not necessarily the vitamin C itself. Vitamin C may be a marker of a general healthy lifestyle, and high levels of plasma vitamin C probably mean that you're more health conscious."

Dr. Mark Levine, chief of the molecular and clinical nutrition section at the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, agreed that vitamin C alone probably isn't responsible for the stroke risk reduction.

"It's just an association. It could be vitamin C, it could be vitamin C plus other nutrients, and it could be other things independent of vitamin C. People who eat lots of fruits and vegetables may be eating less fast food," said Levine, who also co-authored an editorial in the same issue of the journal.

The real message, said Levine, is that people should be eating more fruits and vegetables to prevent stroke and other health problems. "Get five or more fruits and vegetables daily in a rainbow of colors," he advised.

The new study included information from more than 20,000 people between the ages of 40 and 79 from the United King
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