May 15, 2010
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.