Vitamin C status may be linked to stroke risk

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Vitamin C status may be linked to stroke risk

Related tags Stroke Hypertension

Consumption of foods and supplements that are rich in vitamin C could help reduce the risk of the most common type of hemorrhagic stroke, say researchers.

The new study investigated levels of vitamin C in people who suffered from an intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke (a blood vessel rupture inside the brain) and compared them to a control group who had not suffered from stroke.

On average, the French research team found that people who had suffered a stroke had depleted levels of vitamin C, while those who had not had a stroke had normal levels of the vitamin.

"Our results show that vitamin C deficiency should be considered a risk factor for this severe type of stroke, as were high blood pressure, drinking alcohol and being overweight in our study,"​ commented study author Dr Stéphane Vannier, of Pontchaillou University Hospital, France.

"More research is needed to explore specifically how vitamin C may help to reduce stroke risk. For example, the vitamin may regulate blood pressure,”​ she suggested.

Citrus and stroke

Research previously published in the journal Stroke​, suggested that consumption of flavonoid rich foods and supplements, including vitamin C-rish citrus fruit, could be associated with reductions ischemic stroke risk. The research team, from the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK, reported that women consuming the highest amounts of flavanones – a subclass of flavonoids that are found in especially high levels in citrus fruits – were associated with up to a 19% reduction in stroke risk compared to those in the group who consumed the lowest amount.

In addition, a recent analysis of 29 human studies concluded that daily supplements of 500 milligrams of vitamin C significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the team added.

Study details

The new study involved 65 people who had experienced an intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke, who were compared to 65 healthy people.

Participants were tested for the levels of vitamin C in their blood – with the team finding that 41% of stroke cases had normal levels of vitamin C, while 45% showed depleted levels of vitamin C and 14% were considered deficient of the vitamin.

Vannier added that vitamin C has been linked to several benefits that may impact stroke risk, and has also been associated with heart disease risk.

The data is due to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, USA. 

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