Vitamin C Speed Recovery After Heart Bypass Surgery

February 25, 2020

Researchers from Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in Iran evaluated the impact of high-dose vitamin C on markers of myocardial (heart muscle) injury in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).

This surgery improves blood flow to the heart and is performed on people suffering from severe coronary heart disease, where plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. Myocardial injury is considered the leading cause of death in patients with cardiovascular disease.

In their double-blind randomized trial, the group recruited 50 patients ages 50 to 80 years old who had CABG surgery. The intervention group received 5 grams (g) of intravenous vitamin C before anesthesia and 5 g of vitamin C in a solution. The control group received the same amount of placebo.

They then took arterial blood samples to determine the participants’ levels of creatine kinase-muscle/brain (CK-MB), troponin I and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) enzymes. They also recorded measures of ventricular (the two lower heart chambers) function, such as the subjects’ left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF).

Writing in the Brazilian Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery, the researchers found that high doses of vitamin C translated to improved ventricular function 72 hours after surgery as well as a reduced length of stay in the intensive care unit (ICU). The vitamin C group’s cardiac enzyme level was also lower than in the control group.

The difference in the length of ICU stay in the two groups was deemed significant and consistent with the results of a previous study, where patients in the vitamin C group had a shorter ICU and overall hospital stays than the control group.

However, the focus study found no significant changes in cardiac biomarkers such as CKMB, troponin I, and LDH in each group over time. For future studies, the group recommended longer intervals—namely 48 and 72 hours after surgery—as well as larger sample sizes.

“The combination of vitamin C with other antioxidants or their comparison can more accurately reveal its influence on prevention of coronary heart disease and reduction of cardiac biomarkers,” the authors wrote.

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