Vitamin C: A Replacement for Exercise?

Vitamin C is the most popular vitamin. It has received the attention of millions for over 50 years. There is no doubt that vitamin C is incredibly important for the immune system, preventing illnesses and even speeding the healing of wounds. A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder have found that vitamin C may also be as effective in preventing heart disease as light exercise.

What the study authors found 

Researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder examined the potential health benefits of vitamin C supplements on 30 overweight or obese study participants. The researchers gave the study participants 500 mg of vitamin C daily for three months. Another group of 15 participants walked briskly five to seven times a week.

At the end of the study, researchers examined the condition of each participant’s heart for signs of improvement in health. Results were compared against each person’s original heart health as well as against other participants. The study authors were surprised to find that the vitamin C group had just as healthy, or even better, heart scores when compared to the walking group. Both groups showed signs of improvement in heart health above their original baseline.

Why this study is important 

The researchers stated that about four out of 10 American adults do not exercise at all. This is a worrying statistic, as a sedentary lifestyle is one of the biggest contributing factors to problems like heart disease and diabetes. If the benefits found in these obese adults can be extended to the general population, a daily dose of vitamin C may prevent some of the problems caused by modern lifestyle choices. Of course, some form of exercise should be a part of your daily routine, but vitamin C may help fill in the gaps created by our current societal trends. 

Study limitations 

Film Coated Tablets of Vitamin C on the Orange backgroundAlthough the study showed promise about the effectiveness of vitamin C for heart health, it was extremely small, with only 35 total participants. Larger studies are necessary to determine if the protective effects of vitamin C can provide benefit to all individuals. Additionally, the results must be tested on individuals who are not significantly overweight. It may be that individuals who are of a normal weight do not see comparable heart-related benefits from supplementing with vitamin C. The lead study author also stated that exercise does have additional benefits over vitamin C. For example, regular exercise is able to lower “bad” cholesterol, improve metabolism, improve mental health and boost mood. Vitamin C cannot do these things.

However, the study authors believe that this is a good sign for individuals who are actively working to lose weight but may not be quite there yet. Many forms of exercise can pose significant physical challenges to individuals who are obese, so getting started with vitamin C may help support the initial effort. Overall, the evidence suggests that vitamin C supplements can help improve the results of someone already working to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Will you be adding vitamin C to your daily routine as a result of this study? Share your thoughts with us below!

—The Alternative Daily 



Recommended Articles