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Vitamin C cuts smoking-induced atherosclerosis risk

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Smoking cigarettes increases risk of atherosclerosis, but vitamin C supplementation may help offset the effect, according to a new study.

The study led by Ray T and colleagues from the University of Calcutta was meant to examine the effect of a diet supplemented with vitamin C on the development of atherosclerosis in an animal model.

For the study, Ray et al fed  guinea pigs a diet with or without vitamin C supplemented and observed apoptosis, which is believed to promote progression of atherosclerosis, in cigarette smoke-exposed guinea pig aorta.

The researchers further discovered that the apoptosis in aortal sections is mediated at least partially by an increased Bax/Bc12 ratio.

However, atherogenic changes were rarely observed in guinea pigs fed with vitamin C supplemented diet.

Ray et al explained that vitamin C protects against atherosclerotic activity partly by inhibiting cigarette-smoking induced apoptosis and platelet activation.

They concluded that "Exposure of guinea pigs to cigarette smoke causes the development of atherosclerosis, which can be prevented by vitamin C supplement."

The study was published in the May 13, 2010 issue of Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis.

David Liu

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