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Vitamin C May Provide Some Benefits Associated with Exercise

Can’t find the motivation to hit the treadmill? The Los Angeles Times reports on a new study that offers up an interesting new perspective on this dilemma. The study found that taking vitamin C supplements every day helped reduce blood vessel constriction—which allows for more blood flow—as much as exercise did. The researchers, who presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Physiological Society, assigned a group of 35 adults who were overweight and obese to receive either time-released vitamin C (500 mg/day), or to walk briskly 5 to 7 days per week, for three months. With time-released vitamin C, blood levels of vitamin C can be raised for longer than with ordinary vitamin C supplements. All of the study’s participants were sedentary at the beginning of the study, and had blood vessel constriction associated with being overweight and not getting enough exercise. However, despite the fact that blood vessel constriction improved the same in both the vitamin C and walking groups, vitamin C is no substitute for exercise—regular physical activity provides a range of benefits (such as lowering “bad” cholesterol and boosting mood) that are much broader than those achievable solely through taking vitamin C. The number of participants was also relatively small, and it is unclear whether the improved blood vessel function measured in the study would translate to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Nevertheless, the results are still important because they may possibly suggest a way to improve cardiovascular health in adults who are obese or overweight and are unable to exercise.

Source: American Physiological Society

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