Reduce Your Chances of a Stroke with Vitamin C



My previous article had talked about that wonder vitamin, Vitamin C, and its integral role in maintaining a healthy body. Part of Vitamin C’s role, as I have mentioned, touches on good cardiovascular management in which it helps prevent heart attacks, build up of bad cholesterol, and strokes.

What Is A Stroke?

A good many people still think that strokes are synonymous to heart attacks and may very well be just another term for them. A stroke is vastly different from a heart attack in that it is an attack on the brain. In a stroke, either one of these events can happen: blood vessels rupture or the flow of blood to the brain is interrupted. In any case both are potentially fatal occurrences as any of these causes the neurons’ demise.

A stroke damages the brain so that speech, vision, motor coordination, memory, and muscle movements may be seriously compromised, depending on the severity of the attack.

There are two types of stroke. The common one is the ischemic stroke in which blood clots interrupt the flow of blood to the brain. The hemorrhagic type is characterized by bleeding in the brain due to a ruptured blood vessel. Aneurysm is a form of hemorrhagic stroke. This is seen through the swelling and the consequential weakening of the blood vessel walls which eventually rupture when left untreated. Although the incidence of hemorrhagic strokes comprises only 20% of the stroke pie, the bleeding stroke type is the deadlier of the two.

How does Vitamin C Prevent Strokes?

Studies have proven that Vitamin C is an essential component for reducing the risk of stroke. For one thing, this vitamin does have a hand in lowering high blood pressure. At a daily intake of 500 mg. a day, hypertension may be significantly reduced. What vitamin C does is act like a natural diuretic, relaxing the blood vessel walls and thereby reducing high blood pressure which can lead to stroke. It does what ACE inhibitors and drug-based diuretics do, just without the side effects related to chemical medications.

Bad cholesterol is not just a danger to the heart; it also is a peril to the brain. When cholesterol hardens in arteries, they form plaque. Parts of plaque can chip off and pose as threats in the forms of blood blockages to either the heart or the brain. Vitamin C lowers the incidence of bad cholesterol formation by helping in its recycling and excretion. Moreover, it somehow lubricates the vessel walls, making it too slippery for cholesterol to cling to, let alone form a block.

Vitamin C and Stroke Recovery

There is a glimmer of what Vitamin C can do for patients recovering from stroke.  A small but revealing study in 2005 (Ullegaddi R. et. al.) showed that antioxidant vitamins, particularly the C, were responsible for the decrease in inflammation, increase in antioxidant capacity, and the reduction of oxidation of toxic lipids in patients when introduced within twelve hours of an ischemic attack.

Along with other vitamins and minerals, supplementation with Vitamin C could greatly help in improving damaged cognitive functions as well. Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that plays an essential role in focus and thinking.

Vitamin C Sources

Vitamin C is cheap, plentiful, and is present in a lot of food sources. Some top dietary sources of Vitamin C (not in any order) are:

Food Amount of Vit. C in 100 grams Percentage of Daily Value
Kale 120 mg. 200%
Strawberries 58.8 mg. 97.6%
Papaya 60.9 mg. 102%
Guava 228.3 mg. 381%
Yellow Bell Peppers 183.5 mg. 306 %
Broccoli 89.2 mg. 149%
Kiwi 92.7 mg. 155 %
Oranges 53.2 mg. 89%
Tomatoes 22.8 mg. 38%
Peas (Mange Tout) 60 mg. 100%

Table Reference:

There are also a variety of branded Vitamin C supplements. As supplements carry a lot more Vitamin C content in a single dose, it is best to get your doctor’s advice first before purchasing a bottle. Be aware that some medications or treatments may have contraindications to Vitamin C.

These are:

Possible Contraindicated Medications
Cardec Isosorbide Mononitrate
Cisplatin Methotrexate
Docetaxel Mixed Amphetamines
Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine Oral Corticosteroids
Epinephrine Paclitaxel
Fluorouracil Perphenazine
Thioridazine Warfarin

List lifted from:

If you are taking aspirin, you may need to increase your intake of Vitamin C.  Aspirin reduces Vitamin C’s effects; so check with your physician regarding dosage.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s