Vitamin C deficiency linked to metabolic syndrome By Cassie B. for Nutrients
A recent study revealed that vitamin C deficiency is linked to metabolic syndrome, a finding that could have powerful implications in improving the health of a significant portion of the American population.
Around 40 percent of Americans currently have metabolic syndrome, which is the term for a group of risk factors that raise their risk of developing serious health conditions such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Those who have metabolic syndrome have three or more of the following risk factors: high blood pressure, low levels of HDL cholesterol, extra fat around the waist, high triglycerides and high blood sugar levels.
This phenomenon is largely due to Americans’ poor diets, which are often rich in toxic types of fats and processed sugars. This leads to chronic low-grade inflammation that can eventually lead to the development of metabolic syndrome. The same poor eating habits that can cause metabolic syndrome also create imbalances in the gut microbiome, and this impaired gut function creates additional toxins in your blood that causes the depletion of vitamin C. This has a knock-on effect on vitamin E, a vitamin that vitamin C protects.
Unfortunately, the depletion of these two essential antioxidants only makes the situation worse for people with metabolic syndrome as it leaves them without two important vitamins that help defend the body from the oxidative stress that damages cells. It’s a dangerous cycle; those who have metabolic syndrome are already at a higher risk of heart problems and diabetes, and the fact that they have a weaker immune system due to a vitamin C deficiency only makes their risk even greater.
What does this mean for people who have metabolic syndrome?
If you have metabolic syndrome, this study indicates that increasing your consumption of vitamin C could go a long way toward improving your health. However, consuming the recommended amount of vitamin C is not likely to be enough as a study suggests that those with metabolic syndrome need even more vitamin C than the average person. In other words, people who have metabolic syndrome might consume the same amount of vitamin C as other people but because their condition depletes the body of this vitamin, their levels will remain lower.
Increasing your vitamin C intake can benefit your health in many ways because this powerhouse antioxidant helps keep your immune system in check. Maintaining a healthy level of this vitamin can help your body fight infections, heal wounds and neutralize some of the toxins that you may have been exposed to. It also helps your body to make hormones and chemical messengers needed for the functioning of your brain and nerves.
Unfortunately, because vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, it is not well stored by the body. Instead, your body just absorbs what it needs at the time, while the rest gets washed away in your urine. This means you need to take it daily, either through the food you eat or supplements.
Many people associate vitamin C with orange juice, and it is true that many citrus fruits are high in this important vitamin. However, it is preferable to eat the whole fruit if you are looking to increase your intake instead of getting it from juice. Kiwis, guavas, grapefruit and strawberries also are good sources of vitamin C. Breakfast is a good time to add fruits rich in vitamin C to your daily routine.
When it comes to vegetables, bell peppers are an excellent source of this vitamin, particularly red and yellow peppers. You will also find vitamin C in cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. Supplements are available for those who struggle to get enough vitamin C from food sources.