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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2013 Dec 10;19(17):2084-104. doi: 10.1089/ars.2013.5382. Epub 2013 Jun 20.

Does vitamin C deficiency increase lifestyle-associated vascular disease progression? Evidence based on experimental and clinical studies.

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Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen , Frederiksberg, Denmark .



Despite continuous advances in the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD), critical issues associated with an unhealthy lifestyle remain an increasing cause of morbidity and mortality in industrialized countries.


A growing body of literature supports a specific role for vitamin C in a number of reactions that are associated with vascular function and control including, for example, nitric oxide bioavailability, lipid metabolism, and vascular integrity.


A large body of epidemiological evidence supports a relationship between poor vitamin C status and increased risk of developing CVD, and the prevalence of deficiency continues to be around 10%-20% of the general Western population although this problem could easily and cheaply be solved by supplementation. However, large intervention studies using vitamin C have not found a beneficial effect of supplementation. This review outlines the proposed mechanism by which vitamin C deficiency worsens CVD progression. In addition, it discusses problems with the currently available literature, including the discrepancies between the large intervention studies and the experimental and epidemiological literature.


Increased insights into vitamin C deficiency-mediated CVD progression will enable the design of future randomized controlled trials that are better suited to test the efficacy of vitamin C in disease prevention as well as the identification of high-risk individuals which could possibly benefit from supplementation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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