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The Power of Vitamin C: Essential for Cardiovascular Health

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Food containing vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin renowned for its role in maintaining overall health. This essential nutrient cannot be synthesized by the human body, which means we must obtain it through our diet or supplements. Beyond its well-known function in preventing scurvy, Vitamin C is crucial for various bodily functions, including the maintenance of cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation, and combating oxidative stress. 

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a vital antioxidant that plays a significant role in the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues. It’s involved in many body functions, including the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C helps protect cells against the effects of free radicals—molecules produced when the body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation.

Vitamin C and Cardiovascular Health

The relationship between Vitamin C and cardiovascular health is supported by numerous studies. This essential vitamin aids in the production of collagen, which is crucial for the structural integrity of arteries and veins. By strengthening blood vessels, Vitamin C can help prevent the development of atherosclerosis—a condition characterized by the hardening and narrowing of arteries.

Moreover, Vitamin C is known to improve endothelial function. The endothelium is a thin membrane that lines the inside of the heart and blood vessels. It releases substances that control vascular relaxation and contraction, as well as enzymes that regulate blood clotting, immune function, and platelet adhesion. By improving endothelial function, Vitamin C enhances blood flow and reduces the risk of heart disease.

Reducing Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are key contributors to the development of cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin C’s potent antioxidant properties allow it to neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, which in turn diminishes inflammation. 

Studies have demonstrated that Vitamin C can lower markers of inflammation such as C-reactive protein (CRP). High levels of CRP are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. By reducing CRP levels, Vitamin C helps in lowering the risk of heart disease.

Furthermore, Vitamin C inhibits the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Oxidized LDL is a significant factor in the development of atherosclerosis. By preventing this oxidation, Vitamin C helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels and protects against plaque formation in the arteries.

Scientific Studies on Vitamin C

A quick search on PubMed.gov, the leading database for biomedical literature, reveals thousands of studies focused on Vitamin C. As of now, there are over 70,000 studies on Vitamin C, exploring its various health benefits, mechanisms of action, and therapeutic potential. This vast amount of research underscores the importance of Vitamin C in medical science and its potential benefits for health.

Best Food Sources of Vitamin C

While Vitamin C supplements are widely available, obtaining this nutrient from natural food sources is always beneficial. Here are some of the best food sources of Vitamin C:

  1. Citrus Fruits: Oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and limes are excellent sources.
  2. Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
  3. Kiwi: This small fruit packs a significant amount of Vitamin C.
  4. Bell Peppers: Both green and red bell peppers are rich in Vitamin C.
  5. Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.
  6. Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens.
  7. Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes and tomato juice.
  8. Avocado
  9. Beets
  10. Chlorella/spirulina

Reasons for Low Vitamin C Levels

Despite the abundance of Vitamin C-rich foods, some people still have low levels of this essential vitamin. Several factors can contribute to Vitamin C deficiency:

  1. Poor Diet: A diet lacking in fruits and vegetables is the most common cause.
  2. Smoking and Envirotoxins: Smokers have lower blood levels of Vitamin C due to increased oxidative stress and metabolic turnover.
  3. Chronic Illnesses: Conditions such as cancer and chronic kidney disease can deplete Vitamin C levels.
  4. Malabsorption Issues: Gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can impair nutrient absorption.
  5. Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with Vitamin C absorption and metabolism.

Testing for Vitamin C Levels

Testing for Vitamin C levels is not commonly performed in routine medical practice unless there is a specific concern for deficiency. However, it can be measured through a blood test. The best test for blood levels of C AND intracellular vitamin C can be found HERE

Vitamin C at NHD

Here are the products that we carry at NHD, produced by the best companies in the industry:

Conclusion

Vitamin C is indispensable for maintaining cardiovascular health and overall well-being. Its powerful antioxidant properties help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, key factors in the development of heart disease. By consuming a diet rich in Vitamin C or taking supplements as necessary, you can support your heart health and protect against various chronic conditions. With thousands of studies highlighting its benefits, Vitamin C remains a cornerstone of nutritional health. Ensure you get adequate amounts from natural food sources or consider supplementation, especially if you fall into a high-risk category for deficiency.

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Dr. Keith Smigiel is a regenerative medicine physician and pain management specialist. He takes an integrative approach to medicine, focusing on customized solutions tailored to individual needs. Using advanced, non-surgical treatments, Dr. Smigiel stimulates your body’s ability to naturally heal itself.

Dr. Smigiel helps people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain and erectile dysfunction, to hair loss and weight gain. Combining treatments such as PRP Therapy, Ozone, Neural Prolotherapy, and IV Infusions with functional rehabilitation, he helps you look and feel better.

He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

Dr. Smigiel is married to Angela and has two children, Sophia and Larz. When he’s not busy helping patients, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, motocross, and boating.

About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

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Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.