Risk of angina pectoris and plasma concentrations of vitamins A, C, and E and carotene
The present clinical study by the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) examined the relationship between the concentrations of various antioxidant micronutrients in the blood and the risk of the occurrence of chest tightness (angina pectoris), a typical symptom of the coronary heart disease. The study involved 110 angina pectoris patients and 394 control subjects aged between 35-54 years. The study showed that a higher intake of vitamins C and E plus carotene was associated with a significantly lower risk of the occurrence of angina pectoris. When evaluating individual subgroups of the study, it turned out that smokers particularly benefited from a higher vitamin E intake. The results of the study suggest that antioxidants, especially vitamin E, may significantly reduce the risk for coronary heart disease.
The underlying disease process of coronary artery disease (CAD) is called arteriosclerosis. This process starts with a weakening of the blood vessel walls, most frequently caused by an insufficient dietary intake of vitamins and other micronutrients. This leads to an underproduction of collagen and other reinforcement molecules in the artery walls and to the initiation of a repair process to compensate for the growing instability of the wall. The arteriosclerotic plaques that – with time – narrow the blood flow in the coronary arteries is essentially an overshooting repair process for the vitamin-deficient coronary artery wall. A heart attack occurs when the already narrowed artery is clogged and the supply of oxygen and nutrients to billions of heart muscle cells is interrupted. Angina pectoris. Angina pectoris is the typical alarm signal for an increased risk of heart attack. Angina pectoris typically manifests as a sharp pain in the middle of the chest, which frequently radiates into the left arm, but can also manifest itself in other (untypical) symptoms.
Riemersma RA, Wood DA, Macintyre CC, Elton RA, Gey KF, Oliver MF. Risk of angina pectoris and plasma concentrations of vitamins A, C, and E and carotene. Lancet. 1991 Jan 5;337(8732):1-5.