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Diet & Health : Heart & Blood Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Vitamin C lowers CRP just as well as statins
By Sarah Han
Nov 28, 2008 - 4:35:39 PM

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Friday Nov. 2008 ( -- One study we have recently reported found that statins lowered plasma C-reactive protein or CRP in people with relatively high CRP, but normal cholesterol levels.


This suggests that taking statins in those who have normal cholesterol, but high levels of CRP may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.


Statins are intended for people to lower their cholesterol levels so that they may reduce risk of heart disease.   But it has been known that CRP is another risk factor for heart disease.


Because of this, it is apparently that taking statins may help people with normal cholesterol but high CRP reduced cardiovascular risk.


The problem with statins is that the cost and side effects.


Is there any alternative, which is equally effective, but much safer than statins?   The answer is positive.


One study published in Oct 2008 issue of Free Radical Biology and Medicine suggests that taking as much as 1,000 mg of vitamin C per day is equally effective.


The study led by Block G and colleagues of the University of California in Berkley, California found that taking vitamin C reduced CRP by 25 percent in those with CRP indicative of elevated cardiovascular risk.


Block and colleagues wanted to know whether vitamin C or E could reduce CRP, which as a biomarker of cardiovascular risk has something to do with inflammation. Vitamin C and E as antioxidants are supposed to have an effect on inflammation.


For the study, the researchers enlisted 396 health nonsmokers and randomized them into three groups. One group of subjects were assigned 1,000 mg per day of vitamin C, the second group 800 iU   per day of vitamin E and the third group a placebo. The supplementation lasted for two months.


The overall mean CRP concentration was lower, 0.85 mg/L and no treatment effect was observed when all participants were included in the analysis.   However, a significant 25 percent reduction by vitamin C was observed among those who had CRP indicative of elevated cardiovascular risk.


This effect was similar to that achieved by statins, the authors of the study said.


However, there is no significant effect observed with vitamin E.


Block and team also found CRP is generally high in obese people.   Over 75 percent of obese people had CRP greater than 1.0 mg/L.   They suggested that research is needed to determine whether reducing CRP could reduce diseases related to obesity.

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