Authors of a small study conclude that "vitamin C supplementation represents an effective lifestyle strategy" for reducing the blood vessel constriction that is increased in overweight and obese adults.
The study of 35 obese or overweight adults compared the effects of vitamin C and exercise on the protein known as endothelin-1, which has a constricting action on small blood vessels.
The protein's activity is raised in overweight and obese people and because of this high endothelin-1 activity, small vessels are more prone to constricting, becoming less responsive to blood flow demand and increasing the risk of vascular disease.
The study's abstract is being presented at the American Physiological Society's 14th International Conference on Endothelin, taking place in Savannah, GA.
The researchers explain that exercise has been shown to reduce endothelin-1 activity, but including it in a daily routine can be challenging.
Daily dose as helpful as walking
Caitlin Dow, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Colorado, Boulder, led the study to examine whether vitamin C supplements, which have been reported to improve vessel function, can also lower endothelin-1 activity.
The researchers found that daily supplementation of vitamin C at a time-release dose of 500 mg daily reduced endothelin-1-mediated vessel constriction as much as walking did.