A vitamin C pill may be just as helpful for your arteries as going for a walk

    7 September 2015

    Taking vitamin C supplements can have some of the same cardiovascular benefits as exercise, according to research carried out by scientists at the University of Colorado.

    The study compared the effects of vitamin C and exercise in 35 obese or overweight adults. They looked at the effects on a protein called endothelin-1, which constricts small blood vessels. It is more effective in overweight people, restricting their blood flow and increasing the risk of peripheral arterial disease (also known as vascular disease).

    Vascular disease can cause strokes by restricting the arteries in your neck. It is also a common precursor to heart attacks, and in severe cases can lead to gangrene.

    Exercise significantly reduces the protein’s activity, but more than half of overweight and obese adults do no exercise at all. The researchers found that taking vitamin C supplements suppresses vessel constriction as much as a daily walk.

    Research carried out in 2013 found that vitamin C supplements can cut the risk of people with asthma developing bronchoconstriction, and can reduce the chance that people under a lot of physical stress will catch a cold.