Heart disease risk: 5 ways a vitamin C deficiency can cause cardiovascular damage
(NaturalHealth365) Heart disease is the leading cause of death for adults in the United States, claiming more lives every year than all forms of cancer combined. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that roughly 735,000 Americans will suffer a heart attack this year – while 640,000 people will lose their lives to heart disease. Yet, sadly, most people remain uninformed about the dangers of a vitamin C deficiency to the cardiovascular system.
In 1985, Linus Pauling – the only person to win two unshared Nobel Prizes – laid out the crucial link between heart disease and vitamin C (and his groundbreaking work is being carried on by other forward-thinking doctors, such as cardiologist Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD and German physician Dr. Mathias Rath.
Unfortunately, the body’s precious stores of vitamin C can easily be depleted, jeopardizing our heart health. Today, we’ll look at 5 major threats to vitamin C levels – but first, a little about the amazing properties of vitamin C.
Your immune system does not want a vitamin C deficiency
Vitamin C – a potent antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory substance – performs an impressive amount of “heavy lifting” in the body. It provides an important boost to the immune system by enhancing the production of disease-fighting antibodies and promoting the function of phagocytes (the body’s scavenger cells).
Vitamin C is also an important cofactor in the production of collagen – a protein that assists in wound healing and helps to maintain the health of hair, skin and arteries. Unfortunately, combating pathogens and inflammation in the body can really “do a number” on vitamin C levels.
Low levels of vitamin C, heart disease and collagen production linked together
According to Linus Pauling, heart disease – along with supposed contributors to heart disease, such as oxidized cholesterol – is actually an early stage of scurvy, a severe deficiency of vitamin C.
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A lack of vitamin C causes arteries to become fragile and to rupture – a problem which the body tries to repair with deposits of cholesterol. And, shortfalls of vitamin C can also impair the body’s ability to synthesize collagen – which is needed for strong and flexible arteries.
Studies on animals that can’t produce their own vitamin C have shown that reducing levels of vitamin C causes collagen levels to drop – and arteries to become more fragile as a result.
Now, let’s look at 5 factors that can cause vitamin C levels to drop (dangerously) low.
Warning: Toxic root canals and mercury-based amalgams can drain your vitamin C levels
Dr. Levy, who calls the root canal procedure “fatally flawed,“ notes that of 5,000 root canals extracted and tested, 100 percent had become highly toxic. These toxicities deplete vitamin C levels in the blood – and will sabotage the beneficial effects of vitamin C supplementation unless the toxicities are removed.
In fact, Dr. Levy reports that he has seen cases in which a single root canal caused progressive coronary disease – in spite of optimal vitamin C supplementation. Extracting the root canal treated tooth caused the heart disease to not only stop progressing – but, begin to reverse.
If you have mercury-based fillings or root canal treated tooth, you may want to consult a biological dentist who specializes in their safe removal. Click here to get instant access to the Holistic Oral Health Summit, hosted by Jonathan Landsman – which features over 30 experts in the field of biological dentistry and holistic healthcare.
Physical stress and illnesses deplete vitamin C levels in the body
Recent studies have highlighted the ability of medical conditions to trigger a vitamin C deficiency.
For instance, researchers found that people with peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, had vitamin C levels that did not coincide with their dietary intake. This is because vitamin C seeks out and destroys the harmful free radicals that are released as a result of the cholesterol deposits that accompany PAD.
And, the team found that this free radical “bombardment” seriously depletes vitamin C (a finding which neatly dovetails with Linus Pauling’s theory).
In addition, a recent Oregon State University study showed that higher intake of vitamin C is vital for metabolic syndrome patients – in order to neutralize toxins and stop a dangerous cycle of antioxidant depletion.
The takeaway is clear: as vitamin C battles inflammation, illness and toxins in the body, this essential vitamin can be drained.
Emotional stress can sabotage vitamin C levels
An important new German study shows that vitamin C helps to reduce physical and psychological stress.
Researchers found that 1,000 mg of vitamin C helped reduce cortisol levels and blood pressure – while causing study participants to report that they felt “less stressed.” And, it turns out that vitamin C is important in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter needed for stable mood.
The impressed researchers declared that vitamin C should be considered an “essential part of stress management.”
Of course, as vitamin C helps to reduce stress, it is also “sacrificing” itself to do so. Clearly, it’s a very good idea to take extra vitamin C when under emotional stress.
Cigarette smoking torpedoes vitamin C
Nicotine – and the other assorted chemicals in cigarette smoke – creates toxic loads that quickly use up vitamin C levels in the blood of smokers.
In fact, the depletion is so pronounced that in 1989 the National Research Council revised the smoker’s recommended daily allowance for vitamin C – raising it from 60 mg a day for the general population to 100 mg a day per smokers.
Of course, natural health experts insist that this amount – the bare minimum needed to protect against actual scurvy – is way too low!
Alcohol decreases vitamin C levels
Drinking alcohol introduces toxins into the liver – which vitamin C must neutralize. As a result, this indispensable nutrient can be seriously depleted.
And – when there is insufficient vitamin C intake to begin with – the ingestion of alcohol can leave little to no vitamin C left to synthesize collagen (with the cardiovascular system paying the price).
To preserve vitamin C levels, avoiding alcohol is the best choice.
Drug alert: Common medications can cause serious problems
Finally, there is a long list of prescription and over-the-counter medications that deplete vitamin C.
These include antidepressants, analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen or naproxen), oral contraceptives, anticoagulant (blood thinning) drugs and sulfa drugs.
In particular, opiates (such as hydrocodone) loop diuretics (such as furosemide) and corticosteroids (including prednisone) can threaten vitamin C levels.
If you take one or more of these drugs, it is vital to discuss supplementation with your integrative doctor – or, ask if there is a less nutrient-depleting alternative.
Of course, don’t stop taking any prescribed medications without first discussing this with your doctor.
Almost 35 years ago, Linus Pauling came to believe that high-dosage vitamin C (along with the amino acids lysine and proline) could help increase collagen production, strengthen arteries, and even prevent and reverse arterial plaque.
Ensuring that you get enough vitamin C just might be the most important step you can take to protect your heart and arteries. Of course, always check first with your integrative healthcare provider before beginning any supplementation routine.
Note: you can increase your dietary intake of vitamin C with organic produce such as citrus fruits, red peppers, papayas, broccoli and asparagus. But, in reality, when the body is really low in vitamin C – a supplement may be the best way to go.
Wishing you a heart healthy life.
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Sources for this article include: