Vitamin C WHAT IS IT KNOWN AS? Known by either Vitamin C or by its scientific name, Ascorbic Acid. HOW DOES IT WORK? Vitamin C is involved in a wide variety of metabolic processes including carbohy- drate metabolism and syn- thesis of lipids and proteins. Vitamin C acts as an anti- oxidant by reducing the for- mation of oxidants within the stomach and in preventing oxidation of lipids within the blood that may go on to damage the walls of arteries and promote plaque forma- tion. While vitamin C has been demonstrated to do this alone, other studies have suggested an enhanced effect when combined with vitamin E and beta-carotene (1,2).  Smokers may espe- cially benefit from the    anti-oxidant effects of vitamin C. Reduction in LDL oxida- tion has been well studied in heavy smokers where a sig- nificant effect was found after only 5 days of vitamin C supplementation (3). However, more recent stud- ies have suggested this potential benefit is not sus- tained longterm, as meas- ured at 8 weeks of therapy (4). Vitamin C supplementation, in high doses (2000-3000 mg) may have some effect on reducing the stickiness of blood components known as platelets, however the mech- anism has not yet been established.  Platelet adhe- sion leads to the formation of blood clots and is well known to play a role in the occurrence of heart attacks (5). Vitamin C may play a role in the: • prevention of coronary heart disease. • reduction of high blood pressure and perhaps risk of stroke • lowering of total cholesterol and raising of HDL "good" cholesterol. What is it known as? How does it work? Has it been studied in heart disease? Is it for me? Is it safe? Are there any reported interactions with herbs, supplements or drugs? Are there any interactions with laboratory tests? Where can it be found naturally? What is the most appropriate dosage?
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