The June 2015 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published findings from researchers at the University of Copenhagen of a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death in association with increases in plasma vitamin C and fruit and vegetable intake.
The investigators analyzed data from 87,030 men and women enrolled in the Copenhagen General Population Study and 10,173 participants in the Copenhagen City Heart Study. Plasma vitamin C levels were measured in 3,512 newly recruited subjects and dietary intake data was available for 83,256 subjects.
Ischemic heart disease was documented in 10,123 individuals and there were 8,477 deaths over the studies’ follow-up periods. “We can see that those with the highest intake of fruit and vegetables have a 15% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 20% lower risk of early death compared with those who very rarely eat fruit and vegetables,” reported lead author Camilla Kobylecki, who is a medical doctor and PhD student at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital. “At the same time, we can see that the reduced risk is related to high vitamin C concentrations in the blood from the fruit and vegetables.”
“We know that fruit and vegetables are healthy, but now our research is pinpointing more precisely why this is so, noted coauthor Boerge Nordestgaard, who is a clinical professor at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, and a consultant at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital. “Eating a lot of fruit and vegetables is a natural way of increasing vitamin C blood levels, which in the long term may contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.”