Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin responsible for a number of functions in your body, including building collagen, wound healing, and maintaining bones and teeth. In addition, evidence suggests that vitamin C taken in the right dosage can lower blood pressure.
Previous research had already linked high plasma levels of vitamin C with lower blood pressure among middle-aged and older adults.
Scientists at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom examined the impact of vitamin C supplementation on blood pressure and lipid levels in older persons. Participants consumed 500 mg of vitamin C or a placebo daily for three months. Blood pressure was measured at baseline and after the study. Researchers reported that those in the vitamin C group experienced decreases in systolic blood pressure compared with those consuming a placebo.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension) is a serious health concern that can cause heart disease and increase your risk of having a stroke. It is especially dangerous because hypertension often has no warning signs or symptoms. Amazingly, the risk of becoming hypertensive is greater than 90 percent for individuals in developed countries, according to research published in The Lancet a few years ago.
But the really great news is that over 85 percent of those who have hypertension can normalize their blood pressure through lifestyle modifications, whereas statistics show over half of people taking multiple medications for high blood pressure are still not able to manage their condition.
So if you have hypertension, or hope to avoid it, know that there are simple steps you can take to balance your blood pressure without harmful and/or ineffective medications!
Several studies have examined the impact of vitamin C on blood pressure. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which helps neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. Research has shown that antioxidants can help to reduce high blood pressure, possibly by protecting your body’s supply of nitric oxide, a molecule that relaxes blood vessels.
The current study, published in the Nutrition Journal, found that both the systolic and diastolic (top and bottom) readings were inversely associated with ascorbic acid levels.
Previous research has also confirmed that adding vitamin C to your diet can help to reverse the degenerative process caused by free radicals, resulting in lower blood pressure levels.
Interestingly, vitamin C can also give extra oomph to other antioxidants, such as catechins, which are naturally occurring antioxidants found in green tea.
Green tea has been linked to heart- and cardiovascular health as it improves both blood flow and the ability of your arteries to relax. One 2007 study discovered that complementing green tea with either citrus juices or vitamin C increases the number of catechins available for your body to absorb.
The possibility of a natural agent being able to lower blood pressure and help prevent heart disease is certainly worth noting, especially when you consider the damage that many, if not most, drugs can do.
For example, beta-blockers — a class of drugs frequently prescribed to manage high blood pressure and as cardioprotection after a heart attack — have been found to cause type 2 diabetes by decreasing your insulin sensitivity. This is actually promoting the very problem you’re trying to solve.
Your best bet is to focus on getting a moderate amount of fruits and plenty of vegetables in your diet; the types and amounts being adjusted based on your nutritional type.
But if you decide to supplement with vitamin C, it is important to remember that it is a water-soluble vitamin and ideally should be taken at least three times a day. It is also best taken with bioflavonoids, which further enhance its benefits.
Please note that if you are highly sensitive to vitamin C, you may experience diarrhea. This is an indication that you need to lower your dosage.
It should be perfectly clear to everyone that these nutrients are not the cure for high blood pressure, but they can provide some protection to help lower blood pressure while you address the main causes of your problem.