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Circ Heart Fail. 2013 Jul;6(4):647-54. doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.112.000281. Epub 2013 May 31.

Plasma vitamin C, but not vitamin E, is associated with reduced risk of heart failure in older men.

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Department of Primary Care and Population Health, University College London, UK.



Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of heart failure (HF). However, data on the association between antioxidant intakes and circulating levels and risk of incident HF in the older general population are limited. We have examined prospectively the associations between plasma vitamin C and E, dietary intakes of vitamin C and E, and incident HF.


Prospective study of 3919 men aged 60 to 79 years with no prevalent HF followed up for a mean period of 11 years, in whom there were 263 cases with incident HF. Higher plasma vitamin C level was associated with significantly lower risk of incident HF in both men with and without previous myocardial infarction after adjustment for lifestyle characteristics, diabetes mellitus, blood lipids, blood pressure, and heart rate (hazards ratio [95% confidence interval], 0.81 [0.70, 0.93] and 0.75 [0.59, 0.97] for 1 SD increase in log vitamin C, respectively). Plasma vitamin E and dietary vitamin C intake showed no association with HF. High levels of dietary vitamin E intake (which correlated weakly with plasma vitamin E) were associated with increased risk of HF in men with no previous myocardial infarction even after adjustment (adjusted hazards ratio [95% confidence interval], 1.23 [1.06, 1.42] for 1 SD increase).


Higher plasma vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of HF in older men with and without myocardial infarction. High intake of dietary vitamin E may be associated with increased HF risk. Primary intervention trials assessing the effect of vitamin C supplements on HF risk in the elderly are needed.


ascorbic acid; heart failure; vitamin E

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