Vitamin C by Anni DahmsNils Lind
You can read Annis Newsletter in the following languages:
I think we all know that vitamin C is essential to life. However, I do think its importance and significance is slightly overshadowed by all the other exciting supplements that are currently on the market. I have therefore chosen that this month’s article will focus on this miraculous vitamin.
Sailors, 200 – 300 years ago, knew when they had been at sea more than a month that the first signs of the terrible disease scurvy might show itself. The symptoms were red and blue spots on the skin, wounds that did not heal, bleeding gums, loose teeth that would fall out, veins that would burst, swollen and weak legs, fatigue, muscle and bone pain, and a diminished appetite. It is estimated that between the year 1500 all the way to the 1900s a million sailors died of scurvy.
It was discovered in 1773, by the Scottish navy doctor James Lind, that scurvy could be prevented through the use of lemon juice.
Vitamin C is especially important for the formation of carnitine and noradrenaline. Carnitine is necessary to support the muscles, which was why the sailors often got tired. Noradrenaline has importance in mood regulation, which explains the sad moods people experience with scurvy.
The Nobel Prize laureate in chemistry Linus Pauling is seen as one of the greatest scientists ever. He suggested that vitamin C could cure colds. He emphasized that it is important to start treatment at the first sign of symptoms.
He also recommended upwards of 18 grams daily, which he took himself in his last years. Linus Pauling died of cancer in 1994 at the age of 93. He personally believed that his life had been extended by at least 20 years, due to his vitamin supplementation, especially large doses of vitamin C, which he claimed could overcome any disease and extend the life span.
Some experts do however advise against taking more than 1 gram vitamin C a day. They claim that it can lead to a slightly increased risk at large doses.
Vitamin C is ascorbic acid, and if you eat a lot of ascorbic acid then your urine will become sour. A researcher named Irwin Stone has said that this is good, because it reduces the formation of the soluble calcium phosphate, which can lead to kidney stones.
However, an opponent, Michael Briggs, says that there are also kidney stones made out of the insoluble calcium oxalate and in some people their content of calcium oxalate rises when consuming 4 grams or more of ascorbic acid daily. With such people the formation of kidney stones is increased. It is estimated that these people account for roughly 5% of the population.
These two types of kidney stones are the most common.
If you have had kidney stones and would like to know which kind it was, then you can get it analyzed, when you have passed the first stone, so you can get an idea as to whether you perhaps only need 500mg of vitamin C daily. If you are nervous about getting kidney stones, then you can most likely avoid it by taking magnesium and B6 at the same time
- Vitamin C takes part in roughly 300 chemical processes in the body.
- Vitamin C is necessary to create joint collagen, which keeps the body’s cells together. It is especially important for teeth, bones, and cartilage.
- You need to have vitamin C to have a good immune system, as it protects against viruses, bacteria, and other harmful microorganisms.
- 5 grams of vitamin C doubles the number of lymphocytes. Vitamin C is seen as a natural antihistamine and can be used to both prevent and treat allergy attacks.
- Vitamin C is necessary for the absorption and utilization of vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, iron, zinc, cobber, folic acid, and other amino acids.
- Vitamin C is necessary to heal wounds and high doses are thought to have a pain reliving and calming effect.
- Vitamin C is a detoxifier for many harmful substances, for instance heavy metals, medicine, heroin, etc.
- Vitamin C has a great influence on semen quality. It has been shown that men who take 200mg of vitamin C daily gains better protection of the sperm cells. A study conducted with infertile men, showed that they regained their fertility by taking just 200mg vitamin C daily.
- Vitamin C also has a positive effect on the heart. It can contribute to the lowering of the blood’s content of LDL-cholesterol (the bad one) and increase HDL-cholesterol (the good). Vitamin C also helps make the blood more fluid and lowers the blood pressure.
- It is best to take your vitamin C 3 – 4 times during the day, rather than a large dose in the morning, because you will cheat your cells, as most of it is excreted through the urine.
Individual need for vitamin C
The official recommendation of vitamin C is 75mg daily, for women especially when breastfeeding it is recommended to take 85 to 100mg daily.
I believe the official recommendation is set way too low for our daily lives. I think we have to have at least between 200 – 300mg daily. I also believe that we can easily go higher, I personally take 2 grams a day.
It is of course individual how much vitamin C you should take. There can be many situations, where there is an increased need, for instance if you smoke, then you use 25mg vitamin C per cigarette. You can also have an increased need if you drink a lot of alcohol, are stressed, are burden by the climate with cold or heat, take birth control pills, or exercise your sweet tooth often. Even if you work with harmful substances you should keep in mind that you might have a greater need for vitamin C. The same applies if you are an athlete.
Why is vitamin C so important?
Some researchers are of the opinion that many of us suffer from undiscovered and invisible vitamin C deficiency, which robs us of some of our youth and decreases the population’s health as a whole. American studies have shown that a fourth of the American population do not get the minimal dosage of vitamin C, which is necessary for the basic biological functions.
I also believe that many people on our latitude are not getting enough vitamin C, especially in the late winter and early spring until the new potatoes and fresh fruits start to appear in the stores. The body can store up to 1500mg for about 3 months. If no vitamin C is added in the meantime, then the deficiency symptoms will start to show, as humans cannot create vitamin C on their own, unlike animals. You should therefore ensure that you get a daily supply of vitamin C. Keep in mind that vitamin C is lost when heating or in sunlight, as well as when frozen and in the preservation process. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant, which protects the cell membranes and aids in the prevention of aging and cancer and Linus Pauling even was of the opinion that taking 3 to 12 grams a day can lengthen life by 2 – 18 years.
One exception to this is if you suffer from the rare disease hemochromatosis (genetic iron poisoning), then you should consult your doctor before starting with a vitamin C supplement.
Different types of vitamin C
If you use large doses of vitamin C, then it can cause stomach aches, especially with people who have a sensitive stomach or a tendency to develop ulcers.
You can avoid stomach troubles by using vitamin C effervescent tablets or taking vitamin C after your meal. There are also acid neutral vitamin C options.
Large doses of vitamin C can give diarrhea. It can be avoided if you slowly work your way up to the desired large dosage. If you wish to reduce the dosage, then it should be done gradually.
Large doses for longer periods of time can cause chemical bladder inflammation, due to irritation of the bladder mucosa. In these cases, it would be beneficial to use an acid neutral vitamin C.
If you are using large doses of vitamin C, then it might be a good idea to use calcium ascorbate, which does not give acid problems like ascorbic acid.
Some C vitamin supplements have added bioflavonoids, which protects against oxidation and strengthens the C vitamin’s effect twenty-fold. The bioflavonoids are usually rutin, rosehip, lemon, etc.
Some C vitamin supplements are made in such a way that they release slowly over a 12 – 24 hour period.
The latest in C vitamin are liposomal C vitamins. It is said that they are easier to absorb and better at raising the blood’s vitamin C levels, because the C vitamin is surrounded by liposomes (certain fats). Just like other forms are vitamin C, is it assumed that it is not dangerous to take in large doses.
With certain very sick individuals vitamin C can be delivered straight into the blood. It is used especially for people with cancer or serious mercury poisoning. It should be administered by doctors who are specialists in these kinds of injections. However, this is rarely done.
A vitamin C rich diet
When you are cooking you should ensure that the C vitamin is not destroyed by air, light, heat, storage, preservation, or winter storage of vegetables.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C. Even if you take a supplement, you should remember the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, which are filled with antioxidants that keeps us fresh and healthy.
Foods which have high vitamin C contents are Spanish pepper, many tropical fruits, rosehip, oranges, peppers, lemons, grape melon, papaya, strawberry, kiwi, broccoli, cauliflower, green mango, tomatoes, and potatoes. You can preferably eat 5 meals a day where the above mentioned is included. There is also a little bit in nuts, seeds, dairy, meat, and fish.
All sugary foods, such as sodas, candy, cakes have to be avoided if you wish to take advantage of your vitamin C supplementation, as they decrease the C vitamin’s ability to bind to the cells, as the space will be taken up by the sugar.