By Dr. Mercola
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means your body doesn’t store it. Unlike most other mammals, humans do not have the ability to make vitamin C, which means you need to consume it via your diet.
Vitamin C has numerous functions in the human body, including acting as an essential cofactor in enzymatic reactions. In this way, it plays a role in your body’s production of collagen, carnitine (which helps your body turn fat into energy), and catecholamines (hormones made by your adrenal glands), for starters.
Vitamin C is also used by your body for wound healing, repairing, and maintaining the health of your bones and teeth, and plays a role in helping your body absorb iron.1 However, it’s vitamin C’s role as an antioxidant that it is most well known for.
As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is known to block some of the damage caused by DNA-damaging free radicals. Over time, free radical damage may accelerate aging and contribute to the development of heart disease and other health conditions. It’s through this antioxidant effect that it’s thought vitamin C may play a role in protecting heart health – perhaps as much as exercise.
Vitamin C May Be as Helpful to Your Heart as Walking
A daily dose of vitamin C may have a similar effect as walking on a protein called endothelin-1, which promotes the constriction of small blood vessels. The study, which was presented at the American Physiological Society’s 14th International Conference on Endothelin, involved 35 sedentary, overweight, or obese adults.2
Those who took a daily time-release dose of vitamin C (500 milligrams, mg) reduced endothelin-1-mediated vessel constriction as much as those who walked daily. Endothelin-1 activity is known to be higher in those who are overweight and obese. This makes small blood vessels
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