~ 111408 Vitamin C Supplementation Lowers C-Reactive Protein Levels

Vitamin C supplementation lowers C-reactive protein levels

An article scheduled to appear in the January 1, 2009 issue of Free Radical Biology and Medicine reports the finding of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley that supplementing with vitamin C reduces C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Berkeley professor emeritus of epidemiology and public health nutrition Gladys Block and her associates randomized 396 nonsmokers to receive 1000 milligrams vitamin C, 800 international units vitamin E, or a placebo for two months. Serum C-reactive protein levels were measured before and after the treatment period.

Although no effects for vitamin E were observable, and no effect for vitamin C was noted among those with desirable CRP levels, for participants with elevated C-reactive protein (defined as 1 milligram per liter or higher), vitamin C lowered CRP by 0.25 milligrams per liter compared to the placebo, a reduction similar to that associated with statin drug treatment.

"This is an important distinction; treatment with vitamin C is ineffective in persons whose levels of CRP are less than 1 milligram per liter, but very effective for those with higher levels," stated Dr Block. "Grouping people with elevated CRP levels with those who have lower levels can mask the effects of vitamin C. Common sense suggests, and our study confirms, that biomarkers are only likely to be reduced if they are not already low."

Dr Block noted that a trial reported earlier this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found no association between supplementation with vitamins C and E and the risk of stroke or heart attack, failed to screen participants for CRP elevation, which is important in the determination of who might benefit from vitamin C.

In another recently reported study ( the Jupiter trial), Harvard Medical School researchers showed that statin drugs reduced cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular mortality in individuals with normal lipids and elevated CRP. The trial found a 37 percent reduction in CRP associated with statins compared to treatment with a placebo. "One of the strengths of the Jupiter trial is that only persons with CRP levels greater than 2 milligrams per liter were enrolled," Dr Block remarked. "Researchers found very important effects of lowering CRP in people who had high levels to begin with."

"Major studies have found that the level of CRP in the body predicts future risk of cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction, stroke and peripheral artery disease, as well as diabetes," Dr Block stated. "Some believe CRP to be as important a predictor of future heart problems as high levels of LDL and low levels of HDL cholesterol."

"This is clearly a line of research worth pursuing," she added. "It has recently been suggested by some researchers that people with elevated CRP should be put on statins as a preventive measure. For people who have elevated CRP but not elevated LDL cholesterol, our data suggest that vitamin C should be investigated as an alternative to statins, or as something to be used to delay the time when statin use becomes necessary."

Related Health Concern: Chronic inflammation

Seemingly unrelated diseases have a common link. People who have multiple degenerative disorders often exhibit excess levels of pro-inflammatory markers in their blood. Here is a partial list of common medical conditions that are associated with chronic inflammation:

Diseases related to chronic inflammation - table below




Inflammatory cytokines induce autoimmune reactions


Chronic inflammation destroys brain cells


Inflammatory cytokines attack erythropoietin production

Aortic valve stenosis

Chronic inflammation damages heart valves


Inflammatory cytokines destroy joint cartilage and synovial fluid


Chronic inflammation causes many cancers

Congestive heart failure

Chronic inflammation contributes to heart muscle wasting


Inflammatory cytokines are elevated


Inflammatory cytokines attack traumatized tissue

Heart attack

Chronic inflammation contributes to coronary atherosclerosis

Kidney failure

Inflammatory cytokines restrict circulation and damage nephrons


Inflammatory cytokines induce an autoimmune attack


Inflammatory cytokines induce pancreatic cell injury


Inflammatory cytokines induce dermatitis


Chronic inflammation promoted thromboembolic events

Surgical complications

Inflammatory cytokines prevent healing

Free Shipping in the Continental U.S. on Orders over $50
The statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA. The foregoing statements are based upon sound and reliable studies, and are meant for informational purposes. Consult with your medical practitioner to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. Please always check your purchase for possible allergins and correct dosage on the bottle before use.

While we work to ensure that product information is correct, on occasion manufacturers may alter their ingredient lists. Actual product packaging and materials may contain more and/or different information than that shown on our Web site. We recommend that you do not solely rely on the information presented and that you always read labels, warnings, and directions before using or consuming a product. For additional information about a product, please contact the manufacturer. Content on this site is for reference purposes and is not intended to substitute for advice given by a physician, pharmacist, or other licensed health-care professional. You should not use this information as self-diagnosis or for treating a health problem or disease. Contact your health-care provider immediately if you suspect that you have a medical problem. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. Life Ex Online assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements about products.