More vitamin C means less inflammation

March 15, 2006

The March, 2006 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the findings of UK researchers of an association between dietary and plasma levels of vitamin C and reduced markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in older men.

S. Goya Wannamethee and colleagues studied 3,258 men between the ages of 60 and 79 who had not been diagnosed with heart attack, stroke, or diabetes. Responses to food frequency questionnaires provided information concerning vitamin C intake. Blood samples were analyzed for plasma vitamin C, the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein, tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) antigen, which is a marker of endothelial dysfunction (abnormal function of the lining of the blood vessels); and other factors.

It was found that higher plasma vitamin C levels, greater fruit intake, and greater vitamin C intake were all correlated with lower levels of C-reactive protein and t-PA. High vegetable intake was associated with a reduction in t-PA but not C-reactive protein. Men whose plasma vitamin C was in the highest one-fourth of participants had a 44 percent less risk of having elevated C-reactive protein and a 21 percent lower risk of an elevated t-PA than those whose levels were in the lowest fourth. For those whose fruit intake was in the top quarter the risk of having either factor elevated was 24 percent lower than that of men whose fruit intake was in the bottom fourth. Additionally, higher plasma vitamin C levels were associated with reduced blood viscosity and fibrinogen concentrations.

?Several studies have reported that vitamin C can improve endothelial dysfunction in smokers, hypertension patients, and patients with coronary artery disease,? the authors write. ?Our finding is consistent with a protective effect of vitamin C on endothelial function, which could be mediated by the effects of vitamin C on low-grade inflammation, effects that may result from its antioxidant


Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Studies show it is not the caffeine which helps decrease the risk of developing diabetes but probably the polyphenols.

New Study Linking Tocotrienol to Inhibition of Cancer Cell Proliferation - Anti-Angiogenic Activity

Edison, New Jersey, March 13th 2006 - According to researchers in Japan, "Tocotrienols, vitamin E compounds that have an unsaturated side chain with three double bonds, selectively inhibited the activity of mammalian DNA polymerase lambda (pol lambda) in vitro. Polymerases are involved in cellular DNA synthesis during cell replication."The researchers also showed that tocotrienols inhibited the proliferation of and formation of tubes by bovine aortic endothelial cells, with delta-tocotrienol having the greatest effect. "The isomer's structure might be an important factor in the inhibition of pol lambda," suggested Y. Mizushina and colleagues at the Kobe Gakuin University. The study published in the recent issue of Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communication, 2006 (339), 949-955 suggests that tocotrienols may act as potent anti-cancer agents by inhibiting pol lambda and angiogenesis. What is interesting is that the regular tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma and delta-tocopherol) do not influence the activities of mammalian polymerase and angiogenesis at all, suggesting that the three double bonds in the unsaturated side chain of tocotrienols play an important factor in the inhibition of polymerase lambda. The fact that tocotrienols, which are a natural form of vitamin E in plants, are inhibitor or a polymerase species, pol lambda, is of great interest in the science of how natural compounds inhibit cancer cells. It is therefore possible that the greater anti-angiogenic effect of tocotrienols may be due, in part, to the highly effective inhibition of polymerase lambda.