Feb 21, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Vitamin C Cannot Replace Exercise -- Study

Sep 08, 2015 09:02 PM EDT

A research team has chosen to study whether or not vitamin C could be just as good as moderate exercise for protecting against heart disease.

Researchers in Colorado conducted a study on 35 sedentary obese or overweight adults and compared the effects of exercise and vitamin C on a protein that causes small blood vessels to narrow. The narrowing of small blood vessels can lead to stroke and heart disease, according to scientists.

They research team has found that by taking 500 mg of vitamin C daily people can benefit of almost the same positive effect on blood vessel tone as moderate exercise such as brisk walking five to seven times a week.

However, the researchers did not conclude that people can just replace regular exercise with a daily intake of vitamin C. According to them, this was just a small study and its findings do not mean that vitamin C should be considered a substitute for exercise. Exercising regularly at a moderate pace has many other health benefits.

Some reports headlines on the study have been a bit too enthusiastic in concluding that vitamin C may have the same health benefits as exercise. However, other outlets have been more circumspect like in the case of Forbes the LA Times. Considering that people would always prefer the easy way is just natural to be thrilled of no sweat shortcuts to health benefits. After all it is much easier to take a vitamin supplement than to work out for hours in a gym.

The study on vitamin C's daily intake on protecting against heart disease was reported at a conference of the American Physiological Society. According to experts, what general public must understand is the fact that, since this is just a tiny study, it has no clinical significance.

In order to have clinical value, a group of participants should be large enough, much larger than the 35 people who participated in Colorado's research team study.

A clinical trial would also involve a control group of subjects who did not take vitamin C or exercise. The research would need to measure a clinically relevant outcome such as heart attacks, blood pressure, or strokes, in order that its findings could help real patients.

For now, we like or not, the only proven way to minimize the risks of heart disease associated to being sedentary and obese is to exercise and eat healthier.

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