Current Hypertension Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 27–30 | Cite as

Antioxidant vitamins and blood pressure

  • Sébastien Czernichow
  • Jacques Blacher
  • Serge Hercberg


Synthesis of free radicals might play a role in the cellular process of atherosclerosis. This process can be stopped by antioxidants such as betacarotene, vitamin C, or vitamin E, which will inactivate the effects of free radicals. Although antioxidant vitamins have not been proven to prevent cardiovascular diseases through the modulation of lipid peroxidation, it has been suggested that peroxidation might be a pathway to such prevention, mediated through the effects of antioxidants on blood pressure (BP) and arterial stiffness. Several observational epidemiologic studies and some clinical trials have suggested an inverse association between dietary intake of fruits and vegetables, and BP. An inverse link between serum levels of vitamin C and BP has also been determined in observational epidemiologic settings. Some relations between other antioxidant vitamins (retinol and betacarotene) and BP are reported; they confer the same inverse association. However, results from clinical trials testing the effect of a single, or a combination of antioxidants at high pharmacologic doses have revealed inconsistent BP findings. So far, no evidence confirms that oral antioxidant supplementation is effective in preventing or treating high BP. Additional large studies should be conducted to determine the effect on BP of antioxidant supplementation at nutritional doses.


Arterial Stiffness Betacarotene Vegetable Intake Antioxidant Vitamin Plasma Ascorbic Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References and Recommended Reading

  1. 1.
    Ounpuu S, Anand S, Yusuf S: The impending global epidemic of cardiovascular diseases. Eur Heart J 2000, 21:880–883.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sacks FM, Rosner B, Kass EH: Blood pressure in vegetarians. Am J Epidemiol 1974, 100:390–398.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Yoshioka M, Matsushita T, Chuman Y: Inverse association of serum ascorbic acid level and blood pressure or rate of hypertension in male adults aged 30–39 years. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1984, 54:343–347.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sakai N, Yokoyama T, Date C, et al.: An inverse relationship between serum vitamin C and blood pressure in a Japanese community. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 1998, 44:853–867.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Moran JP, Cohen L, Greene JM, et al.: Plasma ascorbic acid concentrations relate inversely to blood pressure in human subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 1993, 57:213–217.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ness AR, Khaw KT, Bingham S, Day NE: Vitamin C status and blood pressure. J Hypertens 1996, 14:503–508.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bates CJ, Walmsley CM, Prentice A, Finch S: Does vitamin C reduce blood pressure? Results of a large study of people aged 65 or older. J Hypertens 1998, 16:925–932.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Beitz R, Mensink GB, Fischer B: Blood pressure and vitamin C and fruit and vegetable intake. Ann Nutr Metab 2003, 47:214–220.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chen J, He J, Hamm L, et al.: Serum antioxidant vitamins and blood pressure in the United States population. Hypertension 2002, 40:810–816.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mc Carron DA, Morris CD, Henry HJ, Stanton JL: Blood pressure and nutrient intake in the United States. Science 1984, 224:1392–1398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Woo J, Ho SC, Donnan S, Swaminathan R: Nutritional correlates of blood pressure in elderly Chinese. J Hum Hypertens 1988, 1:287–291.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Jacques PF: A cross-sectional study of vitamin C intake and blood pressure in the elderly. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1992, 62:252–255.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Stamler J, Liu K, Ruth KJ, et al.: Eight-year blood pressure change in middle-aged men: relationship to multiple nutrients. Hypertension 2002, 39:1000–1006.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Appel LJ, Moore TJ, Obarzanek E, et al.: A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. DASH Collaborative Research Group. N Engl J Med 1997, 336:1117–1124. Results from a well-conducted, randomized trial on the effect of dietary pattern modifications that strongly decreased blood pressure, independent of salt intake.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Conlin PR, Chow D, Miller ER III, et al.: The effect of dietary patterns on blood pressure control in hypertensive patients: results from the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) trial. Am J Hypertens 2000, 13:949–955. Results from a well-conducted, randomized trial on the effect of dietary pattern modifications that strongly decreased blood pressure, independent of salt intake.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    John JH, Ziebland S, Yudkin P, et al.: Effects of fruit and vegetable consumption on plasma antioxidant concentrations and blood pressure: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2002, 359:1969–1974. A recent, long-term randomized trial that demonstrated the impact of a negotiation method to encourage an increase in the consumption of fruits and vegetables to decrease BP.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Block G, Mangels AR, Norkus EP, et al.: Ascorbic acid status and subsequent diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Hypertension 2001, 37:261–267.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Fotherby MD, Williams JC, Forster LA, et al.: Effect of vitamin C on ambulatory blood pressure and plasma lipids in older persons. J Hypertens 2000, 18:411–415.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Duffy SJ, Gokce N, Holbrook M, et al.: Treatment of hypertension with ascorbic acid. Lancet 1999, 354:2048–2049.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ness A, Sterne J: Hypertension and ascorbic acid. Lancet 2000, 355:1271.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hajjar IM, George V, Sasse EA, Kochar MS: A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial of vitamin C in the management of hypertension and lipids. Am J Ther 2002, 9:289–293.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Kim MK, Sasaki S, Sasazuki S, et al.: Lack of long-term effect of vitamin C supplementation on blood pressure. Hypertension 2002, 40:797–803.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mullan BA, Young IS, Fee H, McCance DR: Ascorbic acid reduces blood pressure and arterial stiffness in type 2 diabetes. Hypertension 2002, 40:804–809.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Miller ER III, Appel LJ, Levander OA, Levine DM: The effect of antioxidant vitamin supplementation on traditional cardiovascular risk factors. J Cardiovasc Risk 1997, 4:19–24. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of antioxidant vitamin supplementation that did not find any effect on BP after 2 to 4 months.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Galley HF, Thornton J, Howdle PD, et al.: Combination oral antioxidant supplementation reduces blood pressure. Clin Sci (Lond) 1997, 92:361–365. A randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study that has shown a protective effect of a high-dose antioxidant supplementation on BP in hypertensive and normotensive subjects.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Hercberg S, Preziosi P, Briancon S, et al.: A primary prevention trial using nutritional doses of antioxidant vitamins and minerals in cardiovascular diseases and cancers in a general population: the SUVIMAX study—design, methods, and participant characteristics. Supplementation en Vitamines et Mineraux Antioxydants. Control Clin Trials 1998, 19:336–351. This paper describes the basis of the design of the SUVIMAX clinical trial. It is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, primaryprevention trial designed to test the efficacy of daily supplementation with antioxidant vitamins (vitamin C, 120 mg; vitamin E, 30 mg; and beta-carotene, 6 mg) and minerals (selenium, 100 microg, and zinc, 20 mg) at nutrition-level doses. Results of this trial will be soon published.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Ninth European Nutrition Conference: Effects of long-term supplementation with nutritional doses of antioxidant vitamins and minerals on mortality and cancer: results of the SUVIMAX study. Ann Nutr Metab 2003, 47:416.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Current Science Inc 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sébastien Czernichow
    • 1
  • Jacques Blacher
    • 1
  • Serge Hercberg
    • 1
  1. 1.French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM, Unit 557), UMR (INSERM/INRA/CNAM)ParisFrance

Personalised recommendations