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Antioxidants vs Coronary Heart Disease

Vitamin C is a very important antioxidant for anyone with CHD (Coronary Heart Disease). It is a water-soluble vitamin which means that any unused quantity will be excreted from the body through urination. Therefore, it must be consumed each day. Taking vitamin C after a high-fat meal has been shown to reverse vasoconstriction , or narrowing of blood vessels, after the meal. Sources for vitamin C include all citrus fruits, tomatoes, cabbage and all green leafy vegetables. Cooking can destroy vitamin C so it is best if the body takes in this vitamin through raw foods or in the form of vitamin supplements. The recommended daily allowance for vitamin C is 60 mg but many experts advise taking in quite a bit more, which is definitely recommended for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, smokers, or someone with an injury that is healing. Vitamin C is usually nontoxic but excessive quantities can cause stomach-bloating, diarrhea, and possibly an increase in kidney stone problems.

Another important antioxidant for good heart health is vitamin E. This vitamin prevents polyunsaturated fatty acids from being oxidized in the membranes and helps to limit LDL oxidation. It also prevents stickiness that causes the blood to adhere to the arterial walls. Vitamin E occurs in wheat germ, vegetable and seed oils and there are lesser amounts in meats, fish, vegetables, and fruit. It is difficult to get 30 mg of vitamin E from food intake, so supplementation is recommended. Vitamin E supplements may cause a problem with patients who are taking anticoagulants.

Beta-carotene's role in preventing heart disease is unclear at this time. It will reduce LDL uptake, but does not appear to prevent the original oxidation. Beta-carotene is found in dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach, and also yellow-green vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash. Beta-carotene has few side effects. It can cause skin yellowing if a person takes more than 30 mg per day because the body is unable to absorb and convert it into vitamin A.

Antioxidants have been linked to lower risk of Coronary Heart Disease. Reduction in the risk of CHD was found in those people who were taking vitamin E and C supplements. High intake of beta-carotene has also been associated with a reduced risk of CHD.

Studies of both men and women seem to indicate that maximum benefit of vitamin supplementation were evident after one to two years of use. Research has indicated that vitamin E supplementation of over 100 mg per day significantly lowers the rate of coronary heart disease problems. Vitamin C improves vascular activity and the regeneration of vitamin E, and a reduced risk for CDH was associated with increased Vitamin C intake in a 10-year study of both men and women.

Patients with CHD are frequently advised to take vitamin E dosages of 400 mg a day and vitamin C at 500 to 1000 mg a day.

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