Vitamin C may help the hearts of obese adults as much as exercise, according to research from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Though doctors advise overweight and obese people to exercise to improve their health, more than half do not, according to a release about the study from the American Physiological Society. With more than two-thirds of Americans considered obese or overweight, according to the National Institute of Health, the potential for an easy alternative to exercise to help hearts is tremendous.
The researchers, who knew that vitamin C has been reported to improve blood vessel function, wanted to examine those benefits among obese subjects and compare them to the effects of exercise. Their research centered on endothelin, a protein that constricts small blood vessels. Endothelin (ET-1) is super-active in the vessels of overweight and obese people, making them more apt to constrict. Constricted blood vessels are less responsive to blood flow demand and increase the risk of a person developing vascular disease. Researchers tested whether vitamin C supplements could calm down the endothelin and lower related vessel constriction as much as walking.
Their results suggest that it can. The researchers wrote that, “Vitamin C supplementation represents an effective lifestyle strategy for reducing ET-1-mediated vessel constriction in overweight and obese adults.” The research was presented at the 14th International Conference on Endothelin: Physiology, Pathophysiology and Therapeutics in Savannah, Georgia and noted on sciencedaily.com.
Other research suggests that obese people who do follow doctor’s orders and exercise may still want to pop a daily dose of vitamin C. That study found that the vitamin may substantially reduce post-exercise narrowing of the airways that can cause coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.