How the antioxidant power of vitamin C could slay metabolic syndrome

According to researchers at Oregon State University, a diet high in saturated fat — like what most of us ate over the recent holidays — results in chronic low-grade inflammation in your body that in turn leads to the development of metabolic syndrome.

In fact, it’s estimated that 35 percent of us already suffer from the syndrome — a serious condition associated with everything from heart disease to fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes… even dementia.

Could you be at risk? If you have at least three of the following conditions, you’ve got the tell-tell symptoms of metabolic syndrome:

  • Abdominal obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Low levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol
  • High levels of triglycerides

Right off the bat, these are serious conditions that need to be dealt with one on one.

But, luckily, researchers in Oregon are onto a vitamin that could be a big help…

Antioxidant disruption cascade

Their findings published in Redox Biology show that the type of eating that leads to metabolic syndrome can result in imbalances in your gut microbiome, with impaired gut function contributing to toxins in your bloodstream. This results in vitamin C depletion, which damages your body’s ability to use vitamin E.

The scientists say that it’s a treadmill of antioxidant disruption that serves to make a bad situation worse. That’s because antioxidants like vitamins C and E protect your body from the oxidative stress brought on by inflammation and free radicals — those nasty unstable molecules that can damage your body’s cells.

As Maret Traber, a professor in the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences, says, “Vitamin C actually protects vitamin E, so when you have lipid peroxidation, vitamin E is used up and vitamin C can regenerate it. If you don’t have the vitamin C, the vitamin E gets lost and then you lose both of those antioxidants and end up in this vicious cycle of depleting your antioxidant protection.”

The fatty foods folly

So, how do fatty foods contribute to this dangerous cycle?

Well, according to the researchers, if there’s too much fat in your diet, it damages your gut — making it leaky and allowing bacteria to pass through into your body.

When this happens, your immune system kicks into high gear, sending out neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) to hunt the bacteria down and kill them with hypochlorous acid, a type of bleach.

“The white blood cells are scrubbing with bleach and that destroys vitamin C,” Traber said. “The body is destroying its own protection because it got tricked by the gut dysbiosis into thinking there was a bacterial invasion.”

So, if you have metabolic syndrome, this means if you take in the same amount of vitamin C as people without metabolic syndrome, you’ll always end up with lower plasma concentrations of the vitamin.

And, without intervention, this cycle just keeps repeating itself…

Vitamin C could help you defeat metabolic syndrome

That means, if you have metabolic syndrome or are at risk for developing it, you need to increase the amount of vitamin C you get.

The researchers suggest eating five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day to boost your vitamin C levels.

Now vitamin C, in its own right, is a powerful antioxidant, but why stop there?

Resveratrol is one of the most researched antioxidants in the world.

But that’s not all…

  • Exercising and following a healthy eating plan, like the Mediterranean diet, can give metabolic syndrome the old one-two punch.
  • Consider ditching sugar for stevia. Researchers closely examined several components of the stevia plant and determined that these compounds have the potential to fight and treat obesity, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol — all conditions associated with metabolic syndrome.

A colleague of mine once described metabolic syndrome as the ultimate gateway condition. It opens you up for the worst of the worst. So do what it takes to stop it in its tracks today.

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  1. Metabolic syndrome patients need more vitamin C to break cycle of antioxidant depletion — EurekAlert!
  2. 10+ signs you have this stroke syndrome — Easy Health Options®
  3. The sweetest way to slay metabolic syndrome — Easy Health Options®
Virginia Tims-Lawson

By Virginia Tims-Lawson

Virginia Tims-Lawson has dedicated her life to researching and studying natural health after her mother had a stroke that left her blind in one eye at the age of 47, and her grandmother and two great uncles died from heart attacks. Spurred by her family history, Virginia’s passion to improve her and her family’s health through alternative practices, nutrients and supplements has become a mission she shares through her writing. She is founder of the nutritional supplement company Peak Pure & Natural®.