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Vitamin C keeps blood vessels from bursting

Vitamin C keeps blood vessels from bursting
Source: Bill Sardi (health journalist)

The Society of Interventional Radiology has just reported that 1 in 20 Americans have aneurysms, a bulge or ballooning out of part of the wall of a vein or artery that looks much like an over-inflated tire inner tube. The larger aneurysms the greater the danger they may burst. The most common are abdominal aortic aneurysms, but aneurysms can also occur in blood vessels in the brain and elsewhere. Among adults who have aortic aneurysms, 1 in 4 are large enough to pose an immediate risk (that's about 1 in 100 overall).

A study conducted over a decade ago showed that adults who have abdominal aortic aneurysms (the aorta is the first blood vessel outside the heart) often have low levels of vitamin C within the blood vessel tissue itself. [Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1987 Feb;184:138-43] Vitamin C helps to build collagen that keeps the blood vessel walls strong and healthy.

A report in the January issue of Medical Science Monitoring notes that most mammals (except humans, some monkeys, guinea pigs and fruit bats) produce their own vitamin C, on average about 50 milligrams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight, or about 3500 milligrams for a 160-pound animal. By comparison, humans produce no vitamin C and only consume about 1 milligram of vitamin C per kilogram of body weight from their diet (about 110 milligrams per day).

By virtue of the fact they make their own vitamin C, mammals maintain a "youthful" appearance, whereas humans lose their youthful flexibility and elasticity. One of the common results of this vitamin C shortage is a deterioration of the aorta that can result in aneurysm. One researcher believes the provision of high-dose vitamin C might even "cure large aortic aneurysms without surgery." [Medical Science Monitoring 2004, Jan; 10: HYI-4] It's always a good time to take vitamin C supplements. -Bill Sardi Copyright 2004 Knowledge of Health, Inc.

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