Vitamin C is just as good for you as walking, according to a new study.

A daily supplement of 500mg has been found to improve bloodflow and reduce the risk of vascular disease.

Doctors recommend walking as a simple treatment for obesity because the exercise counteracts the narrowing of veins caused by the protein endothelin (ET-1).

There may now be a solution in getting sufficient exercise for those who struggle to stand, or even the wheelchair-bound. Scientists from the University of Colorado conducted an experiment to compare the effects of vitamin C and exercise in widening blood vessels.

Over a period of three months, 15 inactive, overweight or obese patients undertook daily aerobic workouts. Meanwhile, 20 patients were given daily 500mg vitamin C supplements.

It was found that the vitamin C reduced the ET-1 activity in blood vessels – that is, made them less narrow – as much as the exercise did.

The scientists concluded that vitamin C is an effective weapon in tackling narrowed blood vessels – one of the biggest dangers of being overweight. Of course, exercise is not just for healthy arteries – it’s essential for overall health, and should not be abandoned for a diet of oranges and limes just yet.

NHS guidelines say that too much vitamin C – over 2000mg per day – can actually be dangerous. Instead, the official advice is: “You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need from your daily diet.”

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