Vitamin C in Cardiovascular Disease

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Vitamin C deficiency is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, but there is little evidence of protective effects at intakes greater than needed to meet requirements (Jacob, 1998). A systematic review (Ness et al., 1996) found limited evidence of benefits of high intakes of vitamin C in reducing the incidence of stroke, but inconsistent evidence with respect to coronary heart disease.

Scorbutic guinea pigs develop hypercholesterolemia, which may lead to the development of cholesterol-rich gallstones. This is largely the result of impaired activity of cholesterol 7-hydroxylase, which is an ascorbate-dependent enzyme (Section 13.3.8), resulting in reduced oxidation of cholesterol to bile acids. There is no evidence that increased intakes of vitamin C above requirements result in increased cholesterol catabolism.

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