FRANKFURT, GERMANY. One of the key symptoms of congestive heart failure (CHF) is exercise intolerance. It is believed that this condition is caused by impaired endothelial function. Endothelial dysfunction, in turn, is a disorder of the lining of blood vessels manifesting itself by reduced arterial blood flow and greater platelet adhesiveness. Recent research has established that oxidative stress contributes to endothelial dysfunction by promoting premature cell death (apoptosis). A group of French and German researchers now report that vitamin C supplementation is highly effective in suppressing apoptosis in CHF patients. Their study involved 34 patients (26 men and 8 women ages 28 to 76 years) who were randomized to receive 2500 mg of vitamin C by infusion followed by 2000 mg/day of an oral vitamin C supplement for three days or a placebo. The researchers measured apoptotic membrane microparticles (a marker of apoptosis) in all patients and found that those given vitamin C had reduced their level of these particles by almost 70 per cent. The vitamin C supplemented patients also showed a substantially lower level of oxidative stress as measured by plasma TBARS. The researchers conclude that vitamin C supplementation suppresses endothelial dysfunction in CHF patients.
Rossig, Lothar, et al. Vitamin C inhibits endothelial cell apoptosis in congestive heart failure. Circulation, Vol. 104, October 30, 2001, pp. 2182-87