San Diego, California (PressExposure) October 06, 2009 -- Most people know that vitamin C is very important to oneâs health. It helps build bones, teeth and tendons. It is a powerful antioxidant that may help slow the aging process. It also may reduce the length of colds and flu. Research performed by Dr. Jensen concludes that vitamin C also plays an important role in the regulation of the bodyâs cholesterol levels. In an article recently published on his health tips web site, Dr. Jensen points out that most cholesterol is actually made by the body; only about 15-20% of the cholesterol in the blood is from our diets. When someone has a diet that is high in cholesterol, the body slows cholesterol production and vice-versa. Unfortunately, for many different reasons some people cannot slow down their own cholesterol production as much as they should. Their blood cholesterol tests high and their doctor usually recommends that they go on a cholesterol-lowering drug, often the statins. However, vitamin C itself can lower cholesterol levels in the same way that statins do, without side effects.
The cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, like Lipotor, work by inhibiting (blocking) a key enzyme that helps make cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol levels in the bloodstream then lower. But this is not the end of the story. There can be serious side effects from taking the statin drugs, including muscle deterioration, kidney failure and liver problems. Other potential side effects are memory or cognitive problems from the cholesterol level in the brain actually becoming too low. Cholesterol is absolutely essential for making hormones and also forms an important part of the outside of cells (known as the cellâs membrane). Sometimes taking cholesterol-lowering drugs will end up lowering it too much, causing the additional side effects mentioned above.
How can people use vitamin C to cope with high cholesterol? Not only does vitamin C inhibit the same enzyme that the statins do, without any of their side effects, the amount of the enzyme inhibition depends on the amount of vitamin C someone takes. So, if their cholesterol levels are too high, they can take several grams of vitamin C daily. There is no evidence that vitamin C will lower cholesterol levels too much, so itâs a win-win situation. Vitamin C also regulates cholesterol in a different way. It converts it into a substance called a bile acid, which is then broken down by the liver. Vitamin C deficiency slows the above conversion, which can then make excess cholesterol accumulate in the arteries and also cause gallstones. There is much evidence now that vitamin C deficiency also raises cholesterol levels above normal.
Vitamin C performs another bit of âmagicâ as well; it raises the âgoodâ cholesterol called HDL, High-Density Lipoprotein, an average of seven percent. HDL cholesterol is responsible for cleaning up the bad cholesterol in the blood, referred to as LDL, Low-Density Lipoprotein, and sending it back to the liver to be broken down. It can even lower blood pressure to a certain extent.
Last but not least, vitamin C helps prevent oxidation damage of the LDL cholesterol. Why is this important? Most researchers now believe that the process of heart disease is started by LDL cholesterol becoming oxidized, which makes it stick to the walls of the arteries. This is the beginning of arterial plaques, which leads to clogged arteries and heart disease. Vitamin C helps prevent the first step in heart disease, it is an inexpensive and very safe supplement, and is obviously needed by the body for many different things. One thing to keep in mind about vitamin C is that it is acidic, and some people may not like the extra acidity in their stomach after taking it. They can try buffered forms instead, such as ester-C and calcium ascorbate.
Readers can learn more about the benefits of vitamin C on regulating high cholesterol levels at Dr. Jensenâs heath tips web site at http://www.individualizednutrition.com/