Two really important studies crossed my desk recently, both showing profound advantages of vitamin supplementation in reducing markers of heart disease and in prolonging life in those at risk of heart disease.

I’ve long been an advocate of supplements since we know that it is nearly impossible to get all the nutrients we need from our food grown in nutrient depleted soil.

These studies underscore the importance of multivitamins and vitamins C and E for a long, healthy life. .

Vitamin C deficiency

Canadian researchers found that nonsmoking young people (ages 20 to 29) deficient in Vitamin C had elevated risks of serious chronic disease. The study showed that 47% of the 979 subjects had suboptimal or deficient blood levels of ascorbic acid, the major ingredient in vitamin C.

Those with low ascorbic acid levels had higher levels of C-reactive protein, higher blood pressure, larger waist circumference and higher body mass index.

Voluminous research shows that this combination of health issues vastly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer.

The researchers from the University of Toronto attributed the vitamin C deficiency in their study subjects to poor diet and warned that not only do these risks factor present a very clear and present health danger, the long-term dangers become extremely serous when we take into account the compounding of these factors over the coming 20, 30 or 40 years.

Multivitamin and vitamin E supplementation

The second shows that multivitamins and vitamin E supplementation can be protective against death from heart disease,

The recent large study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle involved 77,719 people ages 50 to 76 over a 10-year period, showed that and those whole took multivitamins nearly every day had a 16% lower risk of dying of heart disease. Those who took more than 215 mg. of vitamin E daily for ten years or more were even more protected with a 28% lower risk of dying of heart disease.

Interestingly, the Fred Hutchinson study did not find any reduced risk for those who took vitamin C daily, although other studies have shown the importance of vitamin C for heart health, particularly in keeping blood vessels open.

The take home message here is that vitamin C certainly has an important role in your nutritional arsenal against a host of chronic and potentially fatal disease. The place of a good quality multivitamin is unquestioned and these studies add to the evidence in favor of vitamin E.

--Kathleen Barnes (


Cahill, L, Corey PN et al, Vitamin C deficiency in a population of young Canadian adults. American Journal of Epidemiology 2009 Aug. 15;170(4):464-71.

Pocobelli, G, Peters, U et al. Use of supplements of mulitvitamins, vitamin C and vitamin E in relation to mortality. American Journal of Epidemiology 2009 Aug.15;170(4):472-83.

Frikke-Schmidt, H, Lykkesfeldt R, Rise of marginal vitamin C deficiency in atherogenesis: in vivo models and clinical studies. Basic Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology 2009 Jun;104(6):419-33.

Author's Bio: 

Kathleen Barnes has 13 books to her credit as author, co-author and editor, most of them on natural health and green living. Her passion for natural health and sustainable living has its roots in the early days of the natural health movement. Kathleen has been part of the effort to raise public awareness of natural heath as an advocate and yoga teacher for more than 30 years.