Vitamin-C and risk of death from stroke and coronary heart-disease in cohort of elderly people

Catharine R Gale, C N Martyn, P D Winter, C Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives-To determine whether vitamin C status, as measured by dietary intake and plasma ascorbic acid concentration, is related to mortality from stroke and coronary heart disease in people aged 65 and over.

Design-A 20 year follow up study of a cohort of randomly selected elderly people living in the community who had taken part in the 1973-4 Department of Health and Social Security nutritional survey and for whom dietary and other data had been recorded.

Setting-Eight areas in Britain (five in England, two in Scotland, and one in Wales).

Subjects-730 men and women who had completed a seven day dietary record and who had no history or symptoms of stroke, cerebral arteriosclerosis, or coronary heart disease when examined by a geriatrician in 1973-4.

Results-Mortality from stroke was highest in those with the lowest vitamin C status. Those in the highest third of the distribution of vitamin C intake had a relative risk of 0.5 (95% confidence interval 0.3 to 0.8) compared with those in the lowest third, after adjustment for age, sex, and established cardiovascular risk factors. The relation between Vitamin C intake and stroke was independent of social class and other dietary variables. A similar gradient in risk was present for plasma ascorbic acid concentrations. No association was found between vitamin C status and risk of death from coronary heart disease.

Conclusion-In elderly people vitamin C concentration, whether measured by dietary intake or plasma concentration of ascorbic acid, is strongly related to subsequent risk of death from stroke but not from coronary heart disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1563-1566
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Medical Journal (BMJ)
Issue number6994
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 1995


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