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Vitamin C may help stop diabetes damage

June 8, 2009

Researchers have found a link between taking vitamin C with insulin and stopping blood vessel damage caused by type 1 diabetes .

In a study, the combination of insulin to control blood sugar together with the use of vitamin C stopped blood vessel damage caused by the disease in patients with poor glucose control, said researchers (1).

The damage, known as endothelial dysfunction, is associated with most forms of cardiovascular disease such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, chronic heart failure, peripheral artery disease, diabetes and chronic renal failure. By reducing or stopping the damage, patients with diabetes could avoid some of the painful and fatal consequences of the disease that include heart disease, reduced circulation and amputation, kidney disease and diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to blindness.

Insulin and many other drugs have long been used to control blood sugar, but – as shown in an earlier project – the cells seem to have a “memory” that causes damage to continue even when blood sugar is controlled. By adding antioxidants like vitamin C, that cell “memory” may have disappeared and cell function and oxidation stress were normalized.

The researchers commented that for patients with diabetes simply getting their glucose under control would not be enough. An antioxidant-based therapy combined with glucose control would give patients more of an advantage and lessen the chance of complications with diabetes.

While some experts suggest that diabetic patients eat foods and take multivitamins rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, they indicate that additional studies are needed.

References

  1. Ceriello A. et al. Long-term glycemic control influences the long-lasting effect of hyperglycemia on endothelial function in type 1 diabetes. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2009; 94(8):2751–2756.