A new study has highlighted combined high vitamin C levels and exercise as a key component in reducing the risk of metabolic disease.
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic Syndrome describes a group of factors that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Metabolic means the processes of biochemical functioning in the body. Everyone has these and they are totally normal. Problems arise when there are conditions, illnesses, habits and traits that throw those processes off kilter and increase the chances of developing a disease.
What Are The Risk Factors?
⇒ A Large Waist. Someone who is apple-shaped or has abdominal obesity has a greater risk factor than someone with excess weight on their hips for example.
⇒ High Triglycerides. These are fats found in the blood.
⇒ High Blood Pressure. When blood pushes harder than normal against the artery walls it damages them.
⇒ Cholesterol Levels. People with low HDL ‘good’ cholesterol have more of a fatty build-up in their arteries because HDL cleans them out.
⇒ High Fasting blood sugar. An early sign of diabetes is mildly high blood sugar.
To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome you need to have at least three of these symptoms.
Genetics, such as a family history of metabolic syndrome, those of an older age, and cetain ethnicities also play a role
In general a person with metabolic syndrome is likely to be overweight or obese and perform no exercise. It’s thought 34% of Americans have metabolic syndrome.
What was the study?
The study ‘Physical activity, dietary vitamin C, and metabolic syndrome in the Korean adults: the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2008 to 2012’ looked at the combined effect of physical activity and dietary vitamin C on the risk of metabolic syndrome.
Researchers took the results of 22,671 over-20s from the Korean Nutrition Examination Survey. Their physical activity and their diets, including their vitamin C intake over a 24 hour recall period, were noted. The participants were then classed into four groups depending on their activity levels and diet.
The researchers found that on its own physical activity was beneficial, and the same for vitamin C, but they were more effective when taken together. Researchers suggest that a diet high in vitamin C coupled with physical activity may prevent metabolic syndrome.
What Other Studies Have Been Done?
This isn’t the first study to draw a link between metabolic syndrome and vitamins.
Another Korean study from 2015, following the same format as the study above, found that women with high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, fruits and vegetables intake were less likely to have metabolic syndrome. Specifically a twofold increase in vitamins A and C resulted in a 5.8% and 6.7% decrease of metabolic syndrome. Those women with the highest fruit intakes showed a 17.5% and 21.8% decrease compared with women in the lowest intake bracket. Interestingly vitamin intake did not affect men in the same way.
A third study looked at dietary anti-oxidant intake and the associations with metabolic syndrome. Researchers took 2069 subjects who were having regular check-ups, and collected their biochemical test results along with dietary intake. They found that a low intake of vitamin C lead to metabolic syndrome, and that selenium had a moderately beneficial effect. Carotenoids and vitamin E did not make an effect.
And The Conclusion?
It will probably come as no surprise to find that a diet high in fruits and vegetables leads to a decrease in the risk of metabolic syndrome, but there is an interesting aspect. If these studies are correct exercise and vitamin C holds benefits - especially for women.
But that doesn’t mean men can skip out on a healthy diet! Vitamin C is just one aspect of a healthy life that lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome and the killer illnesses it creates.
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