Associations of vitamin C status, fruit and vegetable intakes, and markers of inflammation and hemostasis

Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Mar;83(3):567-74; quiz 726-7. doi: 10.1093/ajcn.83.3.567.


Background: It has been suggested that a high dietary intake and high circulating concentrations of vitamin C may protect against ischemic heart disease.

Objectives: The objective was to examine the associations between dietary and plasma vitamin C concentrations, fruit and vegetable intakes, and markers of inflammation and hemostasis associated with cardiovascular disease in older men free of cardiovascular disease.

Design: This cross-sectional study examined 3258 men aged 60-79 y with no physician diagnosis of myocardial infarction, stroke, or diabetes and who were drawn from general practices in 24 British towns. Fruit and vegetable intakes and dietary vitamin C were assessed by using a food-frequency questionnaire.

Results: Plasma vitamin C, fruit intake, and dietary vitamin C intake were significantly and inversely associated with mean concentrations of C-reactive protein, an acute phase reactant, and tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) antigen, a marker of endothelial dysfunction, even after adjustment for confounders. Vegetable intake was correlated significantly (inversely) only with t-PA. For plasma vitamin C (highest versus lowest quartile), the adjusted odds of elevated C-reactive protein and t-PA (highest tertile versus lowest tertile) were 0.56 (95% CI: 0.44, 0.71) and 0.79 (0.62, 1.00); for fruit intake, the corresponding odds ratios were 0.76 (0.60, 0.95) and 0.76 (0.61, 0.95). Plasma (but not dietary) vitamin C also showed inverse associations with both fibrinogen concentrations and blood viscosity. No associations were seen with von Willebrand factor or factor VIII.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that vitamin C has antiinflammatory effects and is associated with lower endothelial dysfunction in men with no history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Proteins / analysis
  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Fruit*
  • Hemostasis*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / blood
  • United Kingdom
  • Vegetables*
  • von Willebrand Factor


  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • von Willebrand Factor
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator
  • Ascorbic Acid