In this health video you will learn why your heart loves vitamin C.
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Raena Morgan: Hello, we’re visiting with Dr. Benjamin Weeks, who is a professor of biology at Adelphi University. We’re talking about vitamin C and the wide application of vitamin C. Dr. Weeks; explain to the viewers, if you would, how vitamin C affects cardiovascular health. Dr. Benjamin S. Weeks: It’s a good question. While vitamin C has a broad affect on the body and certainly, as we talked about earlier, on skin and nervous system; perhaps one of the most complicated, broadest aspects of the role of vitamin C in health, has to do with the cardiovascular system because vitamin C can impact the health of the cardiovascular system from a variety of different angles. Raena Morgan: Is that so? Dr. Benjamin S. Weeks: Absolutely. First of all, vitamin C is important in cholesterol metabolism. Raena Morgan: Most people don’t think that. They’re not aware of that. Dr. Benjamin S. Weeks: Yes. So vitamin c is involved in the conversion of cholesterol to bile. And so vitamin C is a very important product—a very important supplement or vitamin in cholesterol metabolism and that can impact cardiovascular or heart health. Also, as we talked about earlier, vitamin C is very important in detoxifying the body from pollutants—environmental pollutants that we’re exposed to on a daily basis—pesticides, smoke, gasoline fumes, you name it; as well as some of the drugs we take, which are indeed foreign chemicals. Raena Morgan: Well, they can be toxic. Dr. Benjamin S. Weeks: They can be and they need to be metabolized as well. These metabolites can form oxygen-reactive species, or free radicals, and they’re very reactive molecules and very toxic. And they can cause damage to the circulatory system. Vitamin C binds to these molecules and clears them from the body. So vitamin C is able to detoxify toxins that are, through various mechanisms, able to do damage to the vascular system. So, by taking in sufficient levels of vitamin C, one can also improve cardiovascular health by having— it’s an antioxidant. This is what we call an antioxidant because it will clear these active oxygen species that are the products of pollutants that have come into our body. Raena Morgan: And that’s how it helps the heart. Dr. Benjamin S. Weeks: Absolutely. A lot of that actually works through affecting the immune system because some of the damage done to the circulatory system, more than the heart actually—the circulatory system, the blood vessels—is actually through the action of these toxins on the immune system. So by the vitamin C clearing the toxins, the immune system doesn’t do the damage to the vasculature system that it might otherwise do. So, as I said, it’s a little complicated— Raena Morgan: It is, yes. Dr. Benjamin S. Weeks: Because there’s many different ways in which vitamin C can improve cardiovascular and heart health—cholesterol metabolism, it’s an antioxidant, clears toxins, it helps reduce inflammation in the immune system which also contributes to vascular health. Raena Morgan: That’s right. Thank you, Dr. Weeks. Dr. Benjamin S. Weeks: You’re welcome.