Vitamin C Helps Reduce Risk of Stroke and Hemorrhage: Study

First Posted: Feb 15, 2014 06:53 AM EST

Eating fruits rich in Vitamin C helps reduce the risk of hemorrhagic stroke or bleeding in the brain, according to French researchers.

The researchers identified the role of vitamin C in reducing blood pressure and maintaining the health of blood vessels by preventing brain bleeds. They studied the Vitamin C levels of 65 participants who had earlier suffered intra-cerebral hemorrhagic stroke and compared it with 65 other healthy participants.  The tests revealed, nearly 41 percent of total participants had normal levels of Vitamin C in their blood , 45 percent had depleted levels and the rest 14 percent were deficient in Vitamin C. The results showed only those with depleted Vitamin C levels in the blood experienced stroke, while the participants who did not have stroke had normal levels of vitamin C in their blood.  Also, participants with depleted Vitamin C levels were hospitalized for a longer time.

Stéphane Vannier, study author from Pontchaillou University Hospital in Rennes, France said in a press statement, "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."

Stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or when a blood vessel bursts surrounding the spaces around the brain cells with blood. The sudden bleeding restricts oxygen and nutrient supply to the brain cells. Although it is a brain disease, it greatly affects other parts of the body.  The strokes are two types -Hemorrhagic strokes and ischemic strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes are less common but deadlier compared to ischemic strokes.

According to the researchers, the findings uphold the effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing brain bleeds and strokes. They recommend a minimum of 120 grams of vitamin C daily and regular intake of vitamin rich diet. Fruits and vegetables like oranges, papaya, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli contain high amount of Vitamin C. However, they are unsure of the extent to which stroke risks are connected to Vitamin C deficiency.

Vannier  added "Larger studies are needed to explore these relationships and hypotheses, but it seems that we should be treating vitamin C deficiency with ascorbic acid supplementation and increased fruit and vegetable intake to limit infectious and cutaneous complications ." reports Medscape.

The study will be presented at the 66th annual meet of American Academy of Neurology between April 26 and May 3 in Philadelphia.

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