Vitamin C can help to speed wound healing and lower hypertension, according to two new studies.

In a double blind placebo controlled trial, 500 mg daily of vitamin C, over a period of 50 days, was found to cut in half the risk of developing reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) after a wrist fracture. Trauma to any site on the body, such as bone, muscle, nerve or blood vessel, can lead to a RSD, the symptoms of which can be swelling, pain and osteoporosis like symptoms. In this study, only 7 per cent of those taking the supplement developed RSD, compared to 14 per cent of those given a placebo (Lancet, 1999; 354: 2025-8).

The authors conclude that if C was effective in this small trial, it may also prove to be effective as a prophylaxis in other forms of trauma.

l Another recent trial has shown that hypertensive patients may benefit from supplementation with vitamin C. The randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study found that blood pressure dropped significantly after continuous supplementation (Lancet, 354: 1999: 2048-9).

Patients in the study were divided into two groups, one of which received an initial dose of 2 g ascorbic acid and the other placebo. Two hours after the initial dose, the mean, diastolic and systolic measurements were roughly the same in both groups. After one month’s supplementation with 500 mg daily of C, the treatment group experienced a drop in mean blood pressure from an average of 110 to 100 mmHg. Systolic pressure dropped on average from 155 to 142 mmHg, and diastolic measurements dropped from 85 to 80 mmHg. No adverse effects were observed.

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