The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 12 No. 1 • February 2009


Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
—Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
Why should I? Everyone knows me there
(upon being told by his wife to dress properly when going to the office)
Why should I? No one knows me there
(upon being told to dress properly for his big conference)
—Albert Einstein, Quoted from Ehlers, Liebes Hertz! (1994)
Alliance, n. In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply in each other’s pocket that they cannot separately plunder a third.
—Ambrose Bierce
Here richly, with ridiculous display
The politician’s corpse was laid away.
While all of his acquaintances sneered and slanged,
I wept; for I had longed to see him hanged.
—Hilaire Belloc
The meek shall inherit the earth, but not the mineral rights.
—J. Paul Getty
Above quotes from The Big Curmudgeon, ed. Jon Winokur, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, New York, (2007)

Vitamin C Treatment Reduces C-Reactive Protein
but Only in Those Who Have High CRP

A new study1 reveals more evidence to support the view that the reason antioxidants have “failed” to show benefits in intervention studies is that (1) target biomarkers (such as levels of oxidative stress) have not been established at baseline, and (2) that antioxidants should not have been expected to improve people with low levels of oxidative stress or other biomarker of disease risk.

In the new study, researchers examined the effects of vitamin E or vitamin C for two months on CRP levels in 396 healthy nonsmokers. The findings showed that, while vitamin E had no effect, vitamin C (1000 mg/day) reduced the median CRP by 25.3% (as compared to placebo) but only in those participants with elevated CRP (≥1.0 mg/L), indicative of elevated cardiovascular disease risk. When all participants were included in the analysis, no vitamin C effect on CRP was seen because the median baseline CRP was only 0.85 mg/L and no significant treatment effect was seen in those with CRP <1.0 mg/L.

Why Earlier Antioxidant Intervention Trials “Failed”

As the authors conclude, “[t]hese results may shed light on the mixed results found in large ‘antioxidant’ trials with clinical endpoints. No such trials have limited participants to persons with elevated CRP or oxidative stress, and most have not characterized participants with respect to those factors.” “If one mechanism of potential antioxidant treatment is reduction in CRP, inclusion of subjects without elevations in CRP would tend to have weakened such studies, particularly those involving healthy volunteers. In the present study of healthy volunteers, 55% of participants had CRP values <1.0 mg/L.”

Vitamin C as Effective as Statins in Reducing CRP

The authors also discuss several trials of statins on CRP levels and the effectiveness of vitamin C in this study as compared to statins. The 0.25 mg/L (16.7%) reduction of CRP by vitamin C found in the participants with baseline levels of CRP >1.0 mg/L “suggests an effect of vitamin C on CRP that is similar to that observed with statins.”

Reference

  1. Block et al. Vitamin C treatment reduces elevated C-reactive protein. Free Radic Biol Med 46:70-7 (2009).

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