Vitamin C Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Vitamin C Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Julian Whitaker, MD

Scientists at Johns Hopkins recently performed a meta-analysis of vitamin C studies relating to blood pressure going back to 1966. After analyzing data from 29 different clinical trials, they found that over an eight-week period, study participants who took around 500 mg of vitamin C per day experienced an average drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number) of nearly 4 points, and diastolic pressure (the bottom number) of about 1.5 points. And the results were slightly better among participants who had high blood pressure to begin with—their systolic numbers dropped by nearly 5 points.

Given the multitude of benefits of vitamin C and the fact that roughly one in three US adults has high blood pressure, this inexpensive and utterly harmless—and every helpful—intervention should be a mainstream recommendation. As one study author pointed out, “[I]f the entire US population lowered blood pressure by 3 [points], there would be a lot fewer strokes.” But don’t expect the Institute of Medicine to change its tune any time soon; that broken record is still advising women and men to get a paltry 75 mg and 90 mg of vitamin C per day, respectively.

Recommendation

  • I stand by my longtime recommendation that everyone take a daily multinutrient that contains 500–1,000 mg of vitamin C.

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