Overweight and obese adults are advised to exercise to improve their health, but more than 50 percent do not do so. New research suggests that taking vitamin C supplements daily can have similar cardiovascular benefits as regular exercise in these at risk adults.
The study, presented at the American Physiological Society’s 14th International Conference, involved 35 overweight or obese adults who were asked to either exercise or take a vitamin C supplement on a daily basis. For three months, researchers kept track of how exercise and vitamin C affected participants’ protein endothelin-1, which is found in the lining of the blood vessel walls and is responsible for their constriction.
Constricting blood vessels are particularly dangerous for overweight or obese people because they cause blood pressure throughout the body to rise, increasing risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems. Blood flows to organs and extremities at a slower pace when it has to travel through narrow, constricted blood vessels.
The researchers found that daily supplementation of vitamin C at a time-release dose of 500 mg daily reduced endothelin-1-mediated vessel constriction as much as walking did!
Now, while this study shows that vitamin C supplementation should be a necessary addition to an obese person’s weight-loss routine (especially to help lower blood pressure), Vitamin C is not an exercise pill but the findings are important especially for individuals who cannot exercise because of physical limitations. Compared with vitamin C, regular physical activities still have more beneficial effects such as improving metabolic function, lowering bad cholesterol levels and improving cognitive function so those who can get up and walk should consider exercise as a healthier option.
Still, if you struggle with weight issues but are able to exercise yet lack the motivation to exercise as many overweight and obese people do, a daily time release Vitamin C capsule is easier to add to your routine than exercise and can help reduce your risk of illness while you work towards a healthier lifestyle.
American Physiological Society: Press Release
ScienceDaily: Vitamin C, the exercise replacement?
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