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Vitamin C: The Exercise Replacement?

Savannah, Ga. (September 4, 2015)—Overweight and obese adults are advised to exercise to improve their health, but more than 50 percent do not do so. New research to be presented at the 14th International Conference on Endothelin: Physiology, Pathophysiology and Therapeutics suggests that taking vitamin C supplements daily can have similar cardiovascular benefits as regular exercise in these adults.

The blood vessels of overweight and obese adults have elevated activity of the small vessel-constricting protein endothelin (ET)-1. Because of the high ET-1 activity, these vessels are more prone to constricting, becoming less responsive to blood flow demand and increasing risk of developing vascular disease. Exercise has been shown to reduce ET-1 activity, but incorporating an exercise regimen into a daily routine can be challenging. This study, conducted at the University of Colorado, Boulder, examined whether vitamin C supplements, which have been reported to improve vessel function, can also lower ET-1 activity. The researchers found that daily supplementation of vitamin C (500 mg/day, time-released) reduced ET-1-related vessel constriction as much as walking for exercise did. Vitamin C supplementation represents an effective lifestyle strategy for reducing ET-1-mediated vessel constriction in overweight and obese adults, the researchers wrote.

Caitlin Dow, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Colorado, Boulder, will present “Vitamin C Supplementation Reduces ET-1 System Activity in Overweight and Obese Adults” at the poster session on Friday, September 4, from 1 to 2:30 PM in Ballroom BCDEF of the Hyatt Regency Savannah.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: To view the full abstract or to schedule an interview with a member of the research team, please contact the APS Communications Office or 301-634-7209. Find more research highlights in the APS Press Room.

Physiology is the study of how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function in health and disease. Established in 1887, the American Physiological Society (APS) was the first U.S. society in the biomedical sciences field. The Society represents more than 11,000 members and publishes 14 peer-reviewed journals with a worldwide readership.



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