Orlando, FLVitamin C is necessary for everyone, although one study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2011 suggests daily intake is even more important for those with existing heart conditions.

Among the 212 patients involved in the study (the first of its kind, according to the study, to link a low vitamin C diet with heart failure) the average age was 61, with one-third of participants women and 45% overall suffering from moderate to severe heart failure. During the test, patients kept a four-day diet diary later verified by a dietitian and blood tests to measure high sensitivity C-Reactive protein (hsCRP), an indicator of inflammation and possible risk of heart disease. The patients were then divided into two groups, one with levels over 3 mg/L of hsCRP and the other with lower levels, and observed for one year, during which patients were watched for any heart-related hospital trips or incidents.

After one year of observations, the researchers concluded that heart failure patients with a low vitamin C intake were 2.4 times more likely to have higher levels of hsCRP than individuals with a high vitamin C diet. Those with over 3 mg/L, specifically 98 of the patients (46%), of hsCRP were almost twice as likely to die before the one year follow-up. Eighty-two patients (39%) had lower than standard vitamin C intake, and 61 (29%) of patients had a heart-related episode, some heading to the emergency room while others resulted in death.

More tests are needed to determine impact, but Eun Kyeung Song, Ph.D., R.N., lead author of the study and assistant professor at the Department of Nursing, College of Medicine, in the University of Ulsan in Korea, is confident in his findings; "We found that adequate intake of vitamin C was associated with longer survival in patients with heart failure…An adequate level of vitamin C is associated with lower levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. This results in a longer cardiac event-free survival in patients."

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, February 2012, online 12/28/11