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High-dose vitamin C supplementation reduces Endothelin 1 activity in obese subjects

Published on

07 September 2015

Obese individuals typically present raised levels of the blood vessel-constricting protein endothelin ET 1, which has a range of serious negative effects on their cardiovascular health. A new study has found that normal ET 1 levels can be restored with a three-month daily dose of 500 mg vitamin C.

Elevated levels of the blood vessel-constricting protein endothelin ET 1 are found in the blood vessels of obese people. This restriction of blood flow increases the individual’s risk of vascular disease. ET 1 increases pulmonary hypertension and has many other negative effects on cardiovascular health, such as platelet activation, stimulated production of free radicals, pro-inflammatory actions, and mitogenesis (1).

ET 1 activity can usually be reduced by taking regular exercise. However, this can be difficult or impractical for some severely obese people and indeed it is reported that more than half of obese individuals in the USA do not take regular exercise.

A new study by Dr Dow of the University of Colorado Boulder, CO, involving a cohort of 35 sedentary, obese adults has found that supplementation with a daily intervention of 500 mg vitamin C (in controlled release form) over three months helps to restore normal ET 1 levels. It is therefore suggested that daily supplementation with a high dose of vitamin C would be of benefit to obese individuals who are unable to undertake regular exercise.


  1. Böhm F and Pernow J , “The importance of endothelin-1 for vascular dysfunction in cardiovascular disease”; Cardiovascular Research 2007, 76:8-18.
  2. Dow C et al, “Vitamin C Supplementation Reduces ET-1 System Activity in Overweight and Obese Adults”,14th International Conference on Endothelin: Physiology, Pathophysiology and Therapeutics. Press release of the American Physiological Society, 4th September 2015, www.the-aps.org/mm/hp/Audiences/Public-Press/2015/44.html

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