I had the great fortune of knowing Linus Pauling, a Nobel Laureate chemist who is famous for suggesting vitamin C as a means of treating cancer. He's one of the reasons I became interested in using nutrients and alternative practices for healing in the first place. Pauling is known as the father of vitamin C research, so I think he'd be pleased to hear about the results of a new study. And if you struggle with your weight and hate to exercise, I have a feeling you'll be pleased to hear about it too.
Whether you're overweight or not, you know you should exercise. And you certainly should. But some people simply don't. They may not have the time, the energy, or the willpower to get moving. And one of the many problems that people who don't regularly exercise face, especially if they are overweight, is that they have higher levels of a protein called endothelin (ET)-1. ET-1 makes your blood vessels constrict. Constricted blood vessels cause a decrease in blood flow, which decreases the oxygen and other nutrients that cells need to stay healthy. Decreased blood flow can not only lead to cardiovascular disease, it is also at the heart of every chronic disease there is — including cancer and diabetes.
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Exercise calms ET-1 activity down. But research conducted at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has shown that's not the only way to lower ET-1. Vitamin C can do it too. In their study, the researchers used 500 mg a day of time-released vitamin C supplements. They found that this decreased vessel constriction due to ET-1 as much as going for a walk did.
I still want you to exercise. It has many more benefits beyond just reducing ET-1 activity. If you have trouble finding the time, try interval training. You'd be surprised at how little time it takes to get an effective workout.
But if you're overweight and you know exercise just isn't something you're ready to commit to yet or there are seasons in your life that make you less able to exercise, such as while you're recovering from an injury, give vitamin C a try. If nothing else, you'll help protect your heart until you can get back to experiencing the full benefits of a workout routine.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD