Vitamin C May Reduce Risk of Stroke

Citrus FruitsEating foods containing vitamin C may reduce the risk of the most common type of hemorrhagic stroke, suggests new research to be presented at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Philadelphia from April 26, 2014 to May 3, 2014.

Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin necessary for normal growth and development in humans. Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C include apricots, berries, broccoli, citrus fruits, melons, papayas, peppers, and pineapples, among others.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 795,000 Americans suffer from a stroke each year, resulting in nearly 130,000 deaths annually. Hemorrhagic stroke is less common than ischemic stroke. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts inside the brain. Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow in or leading to the brain.

For the present study, the researchers compared 65 individuals who had experienced an intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke with 65 healthy individuals who had not suffered a stroke. All the participants were tested for the levels of vitamin C in the blood.

Of the total participants, 41 percent had normal vitamin C levels, 45 percent had depleted levels, and 14 percent had deficient levels. Individuals who had suffered a stroke were most likely to have depleted vitamin C levels while healthy individuals were most likely to have normal levels.

Explains study author Stéphane Vannier, MD, Pontchaillou University Hospital in Rennes, France: “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. More research is needed to explore specifically how vitamin C may help to reduce stroke risk. For example, the vitamin may regulate blood pressure.”


Because the findings have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal yet, Dr. Vannier cautions that more research is necessary to confirm the findings and to determine how vitamin C functions to reduce stroke risk. However, he suggests that vitamin C may reduce the risk of stroke by reducing blood pressure. High blood pressure is associated with an increased risk of stroke.

Vitamin C also aids in the production of collagen, a protein that gives structure to skin, bones, and tissue.

Eating a high fiber diet that includes fruit and vegetables high in vitamin C also prevents obesity and diabetes and may protect against asthma.



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Written by Heather Johnson

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, and mother who loves her husband, children, dogs, and cats. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in creative writing and master's degrees in library and information science and English studies with a concentration in linguistics.

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