Vitamins C and E improve cardiovascular health in children with high cholesterol, study says

An estimated 50 million children have high levels of the "bad" cholesterol--known as LDL--that puts them at high risk for suffering heart attacks as adults. Most of these children have inherited disorders causing these abnormal cholesterol levels. Because prescription drugs that successfully lower cholesterol levels in adults are not usually recommended for use in children, scientists have begun to look at possible dietary interventions for children with these disorders.

In a study appearing in the August 11 online edition of Circulation, a UCSF-led team of researchers reports that adding antioxidant vitamin supplements to the diets of children with inherited lipid disorders increased their cardiovascular health. "When we gave these children moderate doses of vitamins C and E for six weeks, we saw a significant improvement in blood-vessel function, which is an important indicator of cardiovascular health" said lead author, Marguerite M. Engler, PhD, RN, UCSF professor and vice chair of physiological nursing.

The findings, to published in the September 2 print issue of the journal, are the first to be reported from the EARLY (Endothelial Assessment of Risk from Lipids in Youth) trial, a five-year study sponsored by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). The goal of the study is to determine whether or not dietary interventions can improve cardiovascular health in children with inherited hyperlipidemias, the genetic disorders that cause abnormally high cholesterol levels.

"The findings of this study suggest hope for children with abnormally high cholesterol levels that their condition can be improved through vitamin supplements," said NINR'S director, Patricia Grady, PhD, RN, FAAN. "We look forward to additional research from the EARLY project, which is designed to uncover and verify ways to promote lipid control in this difficult to treat population," Grady said.

Over the years, large population studies have revealed that

Contact: Camille Mojica Rey
University of California - San Francisco

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