Could This One Common Vitamin Replace Exercise?

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Most Americans suffer from too little exercise. We know it. We hear it all the time, and the reasons why we should get more exercise have never been clearer. With an almost unbelievable two-thirds of Americans over the age of 25 overweight or obese, it’s obvious that we need to make time to exercise or submit to the life-shortening consequences of our choices.

Most people know that vitamin C is vital for the support of a healthy immune system, for avoiding prenatal problems, and for the rejuvenation of skin, but most people would never think of it as a possible replacement for exercise.

There has been an interesting study released recently, however, which has some people taking note. This study suggests that you can get some of the health benefits of exercise simply by consuming a high daily dose of vitamin C. In this study, a group of overweight and obese subjects saw equal levels of improvement in the tone of their blood vessels as those who took up brisk walking several times each week. These subjects did nothing different other than to consume mgs of vitamin C each day.

Wait just a minute! Before you head out to the store to buy that mega-sized bottle of vitamin C supplements, there are a few things you should know.

First, the measure that was used in this study, called ET-1, which tracks blood vessel constriction due to higher levels of the protein endothelin-1, is not the sole measure of cardiovascular health — this is simply one part of a larger puzzle. This study only involved 35 subjects as well, which is extremely small. Scientists urge that this study should not change vitamin C into an “alternative exercise pill.”

However, this study has wide-ranging implications for those who cannot exercise due to various reasons, or find it difficult to do so. None of the subjects in this study lost weight — not even the group that walked several times a week. They did all show improvements in their vascular tone, however. Vitamin C may not be a cure for obesity, but it is another tool doctors can offer for people who cannot exercise. Also, for some people, the pressure might be lifted a bit if they knew that they could make improvements to their health without needed to go to great lengths or extreme measures.

This study was conducted at the University of Colorado in Boulder.


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So while taking higher doses of vitamin C may not be a substitute for a workout session at the gym, it can be of great use for just about everyone who is interested in improving their cardiovascular health.