Researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that large doses of vitamin C may help reduce hypertension in adults. The study, which was published in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that the nutrient can cause a moderate decrease a person’s blood pressure.
What are the details of the study?
The study was what is referred to as a “review” study, which means that it looked at and analyzed previous research for patterns and observations. In this case, scientists looked at the data from 29 previous clinical trials involving more than 1,400 people in order to reach their conclusions, according to the Baltimore Sun.
What did the study find?
Preliminary conclusions would suggest that consuming large amounts of vitamin C, in this case, at least 500 milligrams per day for an average of eight weeks, can have a positive, though moderate, effect on someone suffering from hypertension. This amount is the equivalent of roughly five times the current daily recommendations.
How is vitamin C believed to work?
According to Prevention, vitamin C may be able to maintain or protect the body’s levels of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide’s function is specifically to help maintain healthy blood pressure.
Past research revolving around the health benefits of vitamin C have focused on the nutrient’s possible role as a diuretic. As such, it may help the kidneys to more efficiently rid the body of excess sodium and water, which has the effect of lowering blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels.
What are the Johns Hopkins researchers recommending as a result of their findings?
Nothing yet. Dr. Edgar R. Miller III, one of the lead researchers in the study, said in the team’s official press release that it was too soon to recommend a specific course of action. Further study is required to determine the exact effects of vitamin C on blood pressure.
What has been the critical response to the study’s findings?
According to WebMD, the researchers involved in the study have themselves pointed out that the studies that they analyzed were usually small. They also pointed out that some of the patients in question were being prescribed blood pressure medication, which could have skewed the results.
Additionally, this initial study was not designed to prove whether there were any long-term benefits of taking higher doses of vitamin C. In particular, there was no evidence to suggest that taking large amounts of vitamin C would lower a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular issues or having a stroke.