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DOSE OF VITAMIN C FOUND TO LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE

Heart patients with high blood pressure may receive substantial benefit from a daily dose of vitamin C -- something researchers said could be an inexpensive alternative to prescription drugs.

A dose of 500 milligrams each day lowered blood pressure by up to 9 percent, a level comparable to expensive prescription drugs, according to researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

"It may provide a way to bring their blood pressure back within acceptable levels without the cost or possible side effects of prescription drugs," said Balz Frei, director of Linus Pauling Institute and one of the lead researchers.

He was quick to caution, however, that more study is needed and that vitamin C is not a substitute for medication.

"It's not an alternative therapy," Frei said. "We certainly don't want people to discontinue their medication."

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