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Vit C and E for lower BP

A DIET rich in the antioxidant vitamins C and E may help lower high blood pressure, preliminary research suggests.

Adding vitamins C and E to rats' diet resulted in lower blood pressure levels. according to a report in the July issue of Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Vitamins C and E are antioxidants, compounds that neutralise cell damaging free radicals. Recent studies have shown that antioxidants may help reduce high blood pressure (hypertension), possibly by protecting, c-ting the body's supply of nitric oxide, a molecule that relaxes blood vessels.

"Antioxidants are ' powerful regulators of blood pressure, and our studies show that multiple types of these chemicals, found in a diet heavy in fruit and vegetables, could help mitigate high blood pressure," said Dr. Nostratola D. Vaziri, the study's lead author, in a statement issued by the University of California, Irvine.

Vaziri and colleagues add that the findings support the idea that oxidative stress can lead to hypertension. "If this was the case, lowering levels of free radicals -by giving antioxidants should improve nitric oxide availability and reduce blood pressure," Vaziri told Reuters.

To test this theory, the investigators artificially lowered levels of a natural antioxidant chemical, glutathione, to produce oxidative stress in rats. As a result, levels of nitric oxide decreased and blood pressure went up. But the addition of vitamins C and E to the rats' diet alleviated the degenerative process and led to higher levels of nitric oxide and a partial reduction in blood pressure.

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