Vitamin C for High Blood Pressure and Stress

Thursday, August 02, 2012
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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A new study on vitamin C reinforces its essential ability to reduce stress tension in nerves, particularly in people with elevated blood pressure. 

In the study, a three gram intravenous infusion of vitamin C quickly lowered blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure. The researchers showed that the vitamin C corrected the imbalanced excessive activity of sympathetic nerves (fight or flight type feelings of anger, irritation, and anxiety). Proper blood pressure requires a balance between stimulation and relaxation. In high blood pressure situations the stimulation is oftentimes inappropriately excessive, leading to nerve induced tension that keeps blood pressure up. This study shows that vitamin C can actually fix the source of the problem.

The study is quite interesting for a couple of reasons. For one, we know that all mammals except humans synthesize vitamin C from glucose in times of stress. We also know that the reason humans don’t do this is because of an abnormal gene mutation that affects all humans – meaning that it is abnormal that we don’t make vitamin C. By the way, I believe this is one reason that many people crave sugar when they are under stress (sugar cravings are sometimes a sign of a vitamin C deficiency). It is quite clear that the cardiovascular system is one body system that is particularly strained by the lack of vitamin C. I should point out that vitamin C is also needed for the collagen remodeling that maintains the integrity of your arteries.

The other reason relates to the politics of Big Pharma, which routinely tries to attack vitamin C and E in an effort to sell toxic cardiovascular drugs. This is one more study showing just how important vitamin C is to your cardiovascular health. Vitamin C is known to work synergistically with bioflavonoids such as quercetin, resveratrol, and grape seed extract to promote collagen rejuvenation and antioxidant function.

Individuals under high stress, especially if blood pressure is elevated, should seek to find a higher intake of vitamin C. That will help them have more capacity to deal with stress without adverse health consequences of wear and tear. This could readily be doses in the range of 3,000 mg to 10,000 mg per day. Start with a lower dose and work up gradually to allow your digestive tract to get used to higher vitamin C intake. Always settle on a dose that is lower than that which may cause diarrhea. Optimizing vitamin C intake is a key anti-aging strategy, and especially important for stress management.

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