You may have seen the news about vitamin C around the web. Some articles suggest it could be a “replacement for exercise.”1 But is that true?
Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder wanted to see how the cardiovascular benefits of vitamin C stack up against exercise. They looked at its ability to lower endothelin-1 (ET-1) in overweight or obese adults.
ET-1 is a protein used to measure vascular health. High levels cause your blood vessels to constrict, putting you at risk for heart attack and heart failure.2,3And low levels indicate better blood vessel tone and improved blood flow.4
Almost half of the participants were in the aerobic exercise group. The remaining volunteers took 500 mg of time-released vitamin C each day.
Not surprisingly, the participants in the aerobic exercise group had lower levels of ET-1 than the vitamin C group… And all they had to do is take five to seven brisk walks a week for three months.
Sure, vitamin C was almost as effective as exercise at lowering ET-1 levels. But it still doesn’t replace it. The study’s lead author, Caitlin Dow, reported, “Nearly all of the [mainstream] titles misrepresent the results from the study . . . This is not ‘the exercise pill.’”5
You need to be active as well. Leading a sedentary lifestyle—regardless of how much vitamin C you get—could make you about four times more likely to die within the next decade.
That’s not to say you should ignore the study. Here’s what to do…
Continue—or start—exercising. And add vitamin C to your diet. Not to replace exercise. But to boost the cardiovascular benefits of it. This could be especially helpful for people who can’t get too vigorous with their physical activity.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is ideal for heart health. It increases your VO2max. This measures how well your cardiovascular system transports and uses oxygen.6 HIIT also builds strength in your muscles—including your heart—in a shorter period of time than endurance training.
And if you aren’t already making it a point to get at least 500 mg of vitamin C each day, now is the time to start. It doesn’t just lower your ET-1 levels… It can also lower your blood pressure. And vitamin C helps keep your immune system strong, your skin youthful, and your bones sturdy.
Add foods like broccoli and bell peppers to your meals. They are higher in vitamin C than oranges. Or you can take a liposomal supplement. That means it’s packed in fat to aid absorption. Check your local health store or online for this kind.
In Good Health,
Publisher, INH Health Watch