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FREE RADICAL FIGHTERS
Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals. Many experts believe this damage plays a part in a number of chronic diseases, including hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), cancer, and arthritis. Free radicals can also interfere with your immune system. So, fighting off damage with antioxidants helps keep your immune system strong, making you better able to ward off colds, flu, and other infections.
Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize the cellular-damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are produced naturally in your body, but when you exercise hard, your body pumps out more free radicals. Environmental factors such as pollution, the sun, cigarette smoke, and herbicides can also spawn free radicals. The danger is that free-radical damage may lead to cancer. Antioxidants interact with and stabilize free radicals and may prevent some of the damage that free radicals otherwise might cause. As an active person, more antioxidants may help you slow the aging process, ward off cancer and stress, and promote good health.
VITAMIN C DESCRIPTION
AN ESSENTIAL ANTIOXIDANT NUTRIENT
Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid, L-ascorbic acid, or simply ascorbate - the anion of ascorbic acid), is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. Vitamin C refers to a number of vitamers that have vitamin C activity in animals, including ascorbic acid and its salts, and some oxidized forms of the molecule like dehydroascorbic acid. Ascorbate and ascorbic acid are both naturally present in the body when either of these is introduced into cells, since the forms interconvert according to pH. Ascorbate is required for a range of essential metabolic reactions in all animals and plants. In humans, it is not made internally and is required in the diet (making it an essential nutrient). Deficiency of this vitamin causes the disease scurvy in humans. Ascorbic acid is also widely used as a food additive to prevent oxidation.
Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant that also protects and recharges other antioxidants, such as Vitamin E, to keep them potent. Its water solubility makes it an efficient free radical scavenger in body fluids. Some studies have shown that Vitamin C is the first line of antioxidant defense in plasma against many different kinds of free radicals. The cells of the brain and spinal cord, which frequently incur free radical damage, can be protected by significant amounts of Vitamin C. Vitamin C acts as a more potent free radical scavenger in the presence of a bioflavonoid called Hesperidin. Combinations of antioxidants seem to improve wound healing.
In addition to its role as an antioxidant, Vitamin C detoxifies many harmful substances and plays a key role in immunity. Vitamin C is found in high concentrations in immune cells, and is consumed quickly during infections. It increases the synthesis of interferon, a natural antiviral substance produced by the body, and stimulates the activity of certain key immune cells. Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine. It both prevents histamin release and increases the detoxificaion of histamine. A 1992 study found that taking 2 grams (2000 mg) of viamin C daily lowered blood histamine levels 38 percent in healthy adults in just one week. It has been noted that low concentrations of serum vitamin C has been correlated with increased serum histamine levels. Histamine plays a role in allergic responses in sensitive individuals suffering from allergies.
Natural sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, papaya, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and strawberries.
VITAMIN C USES, HEALTH BENEFITS & SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is an important nutrient necessary for human life. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is required for the production of collagen, tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function, and healthy gums. There are several different types of collagen that serve a variety of functions in our bodies. Some of those types are found in the connective tissue of skin, bone, teeth, tendons, ligaments, fascia, organ capsules, liver, spleen, kidneys, and cartilage. Vitamin C is also important in protecting the fat-soluble vitamins A and E as well as fatty acids from oxidation, and it stimulates the immune system. It also aids in the production of anti-stress hormones and interferon, and is needed for the metabolism of folic acid, tyrosine, and phenylalanine. It protects against the harmful effects of pollution, helps to prevent cancer, protects against infection, and enhances immunity. Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron. It also may reduce the cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, and prevent atherosclerosis. Essential in the formation of collagen, Vitamin C protects against blood clotting and bruising, and promotes the healing of wounds and burns.
New evidence indicates that Vitamin C works synergistically with Vitamin E - that is, when these vitamins work together, they have a greater effect than when they work separately. Vitamin E scavenges for dangerous free radicals in cell membranes, while Vitamin C attacks free radicals in biologic fluids. These vitamins reinforce and extend each other's antioxidant activity.
Because the body cannot manufacture Vitamin C, it must be obtained through the diet or in the form of supplements. Unfortunately, most of the Vitamin C consumed in the diet is lost in the urine. When larger amounts of Vitamin C are required due to serious illness, such as cancer, it is more effective to take Vitamin C intravenously, under the advisement and supervision of a health care provider, than it is to take high doses orally.
In addition to collagen production, Vitamin C prevents and cures the disease scurvy, which is rare, except in alcoholics who receive their entire calorie intake from alcohol. It is also beneficial in the treatment of Iron Deficiency Anemia. Some people claim regular use has limited the number of colds they get.
Scurvy is a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency. It is characterized by poor wound healing, soft and spongy bleeding gums, edema, extreme weakness, and "pinpoint" hemorrhages under the skin. Fortunately, this condition is rare in Western societies. More common are signs of lesser degrees of deficiency, including gums that bleed when brushed; increased susceptibility to infection, especially colds and bronchial infections; joint pains; lack of energy; poor digestion; prolonged healing time; a tendency to bruise easily; and tooth loss.
IMMUNE BOOSTER & DETOXIFIER
Vitamin C is perhaps best known for its ability to strengthen the immune system. But this potent nutrient also has many other important roles that control significant aspects of our health. When we get enough in our diets, vitamin C helps detoxify our bodies, promotes healing of all of our cells, and allows us to better deal with stress. It also supports the good bacteria in our gut, destroys detrimental bacteria and viruses, neutralizes harmful free radicals, removes heavy metals, protects us from pollution, and much more. Unfortunately, most Americans are not getting anywhere near enough of this vitamin to experience these health benefits. That is especially true for our children. One reason why we fall so short is that our diet simply does not consist of nearly enough raw fruits and vegetables. Another reason is that the RDA of 90 mg for vitamin C is set much too low, which is the same problem we see with vitamin D. Such a low RDA leads people into a false sense of security that they are meeting their daily requirements. It also makes them wary of taking the much higher dosages that are required for good health. So the question becomes just how much vitamin C does a human need? A good starting point is to look at animals that are able to synthesize their own vitamin C.
All animals except humans, primates, guinea pigs, and a handful of other species are able to make their own vitamin C. We know that the vast majority of animals make approximately 30 mg per kg of body weight. That works out to be about 2 grams (2000 mg) of vitamin C for a 150 pound person. We also know that when animals are under stress, injured, or sick, they can make up to ten times more vitamin C than their normal daily requirements. Since humans are unable to make vitamin C, we must get it from our diets. When the differences in body weights are equalized, primates and guinea pigs consume 20 to 80 times the RDA suggested amount. The great apes, our closest living relatives, require anywhere from 2 to 6 grams (2,000 to 6,000 mg) of Vitamin C per day under normal healthy conditions. How much we humans need can be a bit more complicated, as it depends on many variables such as diet, age, stress level, amount of exposure to pollutants, amount of medications we take, and overall health. A generic amount is around 1 to 4 grams (1,000 to 4,000 mg) per day for a healthy individual. People with serious illnesses will need much, much more.
Vitamin C is the most popular single vitamin. Besides taking it to treat colds, people take vitamin C hoping that it will cure numerous ailments. There is now scientific evidence to support some of that hope. Scientifically controlled studies using vitamin C for colds show that it can reduce the severity of cold symptoms, acting as a natural antihistamine. The vitamin may be useful for allergy control for the same reason: It may reduce histamine levels. By giving the immune system one of the important nutrients it needs, extra vitamin C can often shorten the duration of the cold as well. However, studies have been unable to prove that megadoses of the vitamin can actually prevent the common cold.
As an important factor in collagen production, vitamin C is useful in wound healing of all types. From cuts and broken bones to burns and recovery from surgical wounds, vitamin C taken orally helps wounds to heal faster and better. Applied topically, vitamin C may protect the skin from free radical damage after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Vitamin C makes the headlines when it comes to cancer prevention. Its antioxidant properties protect cells and their DNA from damage and mutation. It supports the body's immune system, the first line of defense against cancer, and prevents certain cancer-causing compounds from forming in the body. Vitamin C reduces the risk of getting almost all types of cancer. It appears that this nutrient doesn't directly attack cancer that has already occurred, but it helps keep the immune system nourished, enabling it to battle the cancer.
As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps to prevent cataracts - the clouding of the lens of the eye that can lead to blindness in older adults. The lens needs a lot of vitamin C to counteract all the free radicals that form as a result of sunlight on the eye. Vitamin C is concentrated in the lens. When there is plenty of this vitamin floating through your system, it is easy for the body to pull it out of your blood and put it into the lens, protecting it from damage. It is possible that 1,000 mg per day of vitamin C might stop cataracts in their tracks and possibly improve vision.
As with the other antioxidants, vitamin C helps to prevent heart disease by preventing free radicals from damaging artery walls, which could lead to plaque formation. This nutrient also keeps cholesterol in the bloodstream from oxidizing, another early step in the progression towards heart disease and stroke. Vitamin C may help people who have marginal vitamin C status to obtain favorable blood cholesterol levels. High blood pressure may also improve in the presence of this wonder vitamin. All these factors combined make vitamin C an inexpensive and easy way to lower one's risk of heart disease and strokes.
Asthmatics tend to have higher needs for vitamin C because of its antioxidant function in the lungs and airways. Doses of 1,000 to 2,000 mg per day improve asthmatic symptoms and lessen the body's production of histamine, which contributes to inflammation.
People with diabetes can benefit from extra vitamin C, too. This nutrient can help regulate blood sugar levels. Since insulin helps vitamin C, as well as glucose, get into cells, people with diabetes may not have enough vitamin C inside many of their cells. Just like glucose, vitamin C cannot do its work if it is not inside of a cell. Supplementing vitamin C can force it into body cells, where it can protect against the many complications of diabetes.
A dose of 1,000 to 3,000 mg per day drives down glycosylated hemoglobin levels. This means that glucose molecules do not attach to blood cells. Glucose adhering to red blood cells is responsible for many diabetic complications such as poor wound healing, problems with capillaries, and sluggish circulation.
Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic acid and Dehydroascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for normal growth and development. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine. That means you need a continuous supply of such vitamins in your diet.
Vitamin C is needed for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It is used to form an important protein used to make skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Heal wounds and form scar tissue. Repair and maintain cartilage, bones, and teeth.
Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that block some of the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are made when your body breaks down food or when you are exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation. The buildup of free radicals over time is largely responsible for the aging process. Free radicals may play a role in cancer, heart disease, and conditions like arthritis.
For many years, vitamin C has been a popular remedy for the common cold. Research shows that for most people, vitamin C supplements or vitamin C-rich foods do not reduce the risk of getting the common cold. However, people who take vitamin C supplements regularly might have slightly shorter colds or somewhat milder symptoms. Taking a vitamin C supplement after a cold starts does not appear to be helpful.
NEWLY DISCOVERED HEALTH BENEFITS OF VITAMIN C
By Julius Goepp, MD
LE Magazine April 2008
Vitamin C is rapidly finding new applications in protecting against endothelial dysfunction, high blood pressure, and the blood vessel changes that precede heart disease. Additional research is discovering that vitamin C can be helpful in preventing asthma, protecting against cancer, and supporting healthy blood sugar levels in diabetics. While often taken for granted, vitamin C is a critical supplement in your program to improve cardiac health and avoid degenerative diseases.
VITAMIN C - BREAKTHROUGHS IN CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
One of the most intensely studied areas of vitamin C benefits is in the area of cardiovascular health. Researchers are finding that vitamin C impacts several aspects of cardiac health, ranging from blood pressure to endothelial health. Perhaps itís not surprising that as the relationship between oxidative damage, inflammation, and atherosclerosis becomes increasingly investigated by science, vitamin C is seen as a key protective element against many aspects of cardiovascular disease.
For years, scientists have warned us against the dangerous buildup of plaque that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Researchers are investigating the possibilities that vitamin C may play a role in reducing our risk of plaque buildup. In the early stages of atherosclerosis, white blood cells called monocytes migrate and stick to the walls of the endothelium. Once this process begins, our vessel walls begin to thicken and lose their elasticity, which paves the way for atherosclerosis. Interestingly, British researchers studied the effects of vitamin C supplementation (250 mg/day) on this adhesion process in 40 healthy adults. Before the study, subjects with low pre-supplementation levels of vitamin C had 30 percent greater monocyte adhesion than normal, putting them at higher risk for atherosclerosis. Impressively, after six weeks of supplementation, the rate of this dangerous monocyte adhesion actually fell by 37 percent. The researchers went on to demonstrate that the same small dose of vitamin C was able to normalize a molecule that white blood cells use to adhere to the endothelium. The findings indicated that through supplementation with vitamin C, scientists were able to regulate how specific genes produce vital proteins, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease at the molecular level.
Building on this important work, scientific researchers in 2005 studied the impact of antioxidant supplementation on degenerative aortic stenosis, an age-associated heart valve disorder that has an inflammatory component. The scientists studied 100 patients with mild-to-moderate aortic stenosis, randomly assigning 41 of them to receive vitamins C (1,000 mg/day) and E (400 IU/day), 39 to receive vitamin C only (1,000 mg/day), and 20 to serve as untreated controls. Both supplemented groups experienced significant reductions in levels of several important adhesion molecules, potentially reducing further inflammatory damage to the heart valves. And just as vitamin C helps preserve vascular integrity, it is also proving beneficial in combating other risk factors for endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular disease.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: VITAMIN C
Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is a potent antioxidant with increasingly diverse uses in health promotion and disease prevention. Every step in the progression of atherosclerosis can benefit from the antioxidant power of vitamin C, from preventing endothelial dysfunction and altering lipid profiles and coagulation factors to preventing blood vessel changes that can lead to strokes and other vascular catastrophes. Vitamin C supplements reduce cellular DNA damage that is the vital first step in cancer initiation and also reduce the inflammatory changes that allow a malignant cell to grow into a dangerous tumor. Vitamin C supplements enhance the health-promoting effects of exercise and reduce exercise-induced oxidative damage. Vitamin C supplements also dramatically combat the oxidative damage caused by smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke. In respiratory conditions, vitamin C supplements help avert or shorten the duration of common colds and may mitigate the risk of serious respiratory conditions like asthma. Vitamin C supplements can speed the clearance of the stomach disease-causing bacterium Helicobacter pylori and cut the risk of gastric cancer it causes.
LIPID PROFILES, BLOOD PRESSURE & BODY MASS INDEX
Most people have learned to pay attention to the amount and kinds of fats and cholesterol in their blood (lipid profiles), their blood pressure, and their body mass index (BMI), the most meaningful measure of how weight and health are related. This group of parameters not only influences endothelial function but is instrumental in laying down atherosclerotic plaque, helping set the stage for atherosclerosis. Data from just the past few years reveal that vitamin C plays an important role in helping to prevent such a scenario.
In 2000, British researchers reported a six-month, double-blind study of vitamin C 500 mg/day versus placebo in 40 men and women, aged 60 to 80 years. The study was a "crossover" design in which subjects took the assigned pills for three months, stopped them for one week, and then reversed their assignments for another three months; this is a particularly strong study design because it helps to eliminate individual differences. The results were impressive. Daytime systolic blood pressure dropped by an average of 2 mm Hg, with the greatest drop seen in subjects who had the highest initial pressures. Women in the study also had a modest increase in their beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. The authors concluded that these effects might "contribute to the reported association between higher vitamin C intake and lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke."
Researchers in South Carolina conducted a 2002 study of 31 patients with a mean age of 62 years, who were randomly assigned to take 500, 1,000, or 2,000 mg of vitamin C daily for eight months. This research group actually found a drop in both systolic (4.5 mm Hg) and diastolic (2.8 mm Hg) blood pressure over the course of supplementation, although there was no change in blood lipid levels. Interestingly, this study found no differences between the groups taking the various doses, though the number of subjects was small and a larger study might have demonstrated important dose-related differences.
Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference correlate well with risk for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. A landmark 2007 study from nutritionists at the University of Arizona explored the relationships between vitamin C levels, body mass index, and waist circumference. In 118 sedentary, non-smoking adults, 54 percent of whom were classified as obese and 24 percent overweight by BMI standards, lower vitamin C levels were significantly correlated with higher BMI, percentage of body fat, and waist circumference. Women with higher vitamin C levels also had higher levels of the fat-suppressing hormone, adiponectin. This remarkable study demonstrated a vital relationship between vitamin C levels and obesity-related risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
VASCULAR STIFFNESS & COAGULATION
The development of atherosclerosis involves dysfunction of the vascular endothelium. As plaque accumulates and as vessel walls thicken, blood vessels become increasingly stiff, making them less able to participate in blood pressure control and to deliver appropriate amounts of blood flow. Endothelial dysfunction increases the tendency for arterial blockage due to a blood clot, or thrombosis. Like several other "atherogenic" changes, these effects are related to the impact of free-radical damage. Vitamin Cís antioxidant characteristics are showing great power in reducing or even reversing some of these ominous vascular changes.
Medical researchers explored the impact of vitamin C supplements on both arterial stiffness and platelet aggregation (an important early step in clot formation). They provided vitamin C in a single 2,000 mg oral dose, or placebo, to healthy male volunteers. Just six hours after supplementation, measures of arterial stiffness decreased by 10 percent in the supplemented group, and platelet aggregation (as stimulated chemically) by 35 percent, with no changes at all seen in the placebo group. As the authors point out, this impressive impact of vitamin C even in healthy subjects may imply an even greater effect in patients with atherosclerosis or cardiovascular risk factors, and that "vitamin C supplementation might prove an effective therapy in cardiovascular disease."
Many other studies have further advanced our understanding of how vitamin C might reduce atherosclerosis risk factors. Finnish researchers studied 440 adults aged 45 to 69 years with elevated total serum cholesterol. Subjects took daily doses of just 500 mg slow-release vitamin C and 272 IU vitamin E and were followed for six years for evidence of progression of atherosclerotic changes in blood vessels. The chief study outcome was the intima-media thickness, or IMT (an indicator of stroke risk) of the carotid arteries, which supply blood to the brain. Supplementation with vitamins C and E significantly decreased the rate of IMT increase over the six-year period by 26 percent. Importantly, this effect was even larger in people with low baseline vitamin C levels and those with pre-existing plaques in their coronary arteries. In other words, supplementation seemed to provide the greatest benefit to those with the greatest need. This study shows that supplementation with vitamin C slows down the progression of stroke-inducing atherosclerosis.
MAXIMIZING HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHOICES
In our efforts to reduce the risk of heart disease, regular exercise plays an important part in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The increased delivery of oxygen-rich blood to tissues is a vital part of the process - but it can also produce destructive free radicals. Clearly, the solution is not to stop exercising! Rather, a series of recent studies shows how supplementation with vitamin C can mitigate free-radical damage from intense exercise.
British researchers evaluated the effects of just two weeks of modest vitamin C supplementation (200 mg twice daily) on the recovery from an unaccustomed bout of exercise. Eight healthy men were given either a placebo or vitamin C supplementation each day, and after 14 days performed a 90-minute-long running test. The supplemented group had less muscle soreness, better muscle function, and lower blood levels of the oxidative stress-induced molecule malondialdehyde. And although both groups experienced post-exercise elevations in levels of the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6, increases in the supplemented group were smaller than in the placebo recipients. The scientists concluded that "prolonged vitamin C supplementation has some modest beneficial effects on recovery from unaccustomed exercise." Timing is critical, however. When the researchers repeated their study with subjects who took vitamin C only after exercise, no benefit was seen.
Oxidative stress during exercise induces significant changes in proteins, producing compounds known as protein carbonyls. Measuring levels of protein carbonyls is therefore a useful indicator of oxidation. Exercise scientists at the University of North Carolina studied the impact of vitamin C supplementation (500 or 1,000 mg/day for two weeks) compared with placebo on oxidative stress indicators in 12 healthy men. As expected, exercise acutely reduced total blood levels of antioxidants in both groups. Levels of protein carbonyls increased by nearly four-fold in the placebo group, while vitamin C recipients experienced little or no elevation. This vital study demonstrates that vitamin C can protect against exercise-induced protein oxidation in a dose-dependent fashion.
Muscle soreness after exercising can be a big disincentive to continue on a healthy fitness program. That is why the subsequent findings of that UNC group are so important. The scientists gave vitamin C supplements (3,000 mg/day) or placebo to a group of 18 healthy men for two weeks before and four days after performing 70 repetitions of an elbow extension exercise. Not surprisingly, considerable muscle soreness ensued, but it was significantly reduced in the supplemented group. The release of creatine kinase, an indicator of muscle damage, was also attenuated with vitamin C, compared with the placebo group. Blood levels of natural antioxidants fell significantly in placebo subjects, while vitamin C supplementation completely prevented this change. Results such as these suggest that the supplemented group would be much more enthusiastic about exercising the next day!
MINIMIZING UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHOICES
Vitamin C may offer important protective benefits for smokers and those who are passively exposed to tobacco smoke. Smoking has been linked with elevated levels of C-reactive (CRP) protein, an inflammatory marker linked with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. As Life Extension readers know, it is crucial to monitor your CRP levels through regular blood testing and to keep your CRP under control in order to limit cardiovascular problems. Fortunately, vitamin C has been shown to play a role in helping to combat excessive CRP levels.
Researchers in Berkeley evaluated the impact of antioxidant supplementation on blood levels of CRP in both active and passive smokers.24 They studied 160 healthy adults who were actively or passively exposed to cigarette smoke and randomly assigned to receive placebo, vitamin C (515 mg/day), or an antioxidant mixture (including vitamins C, E, and lipoic acid). Subjects in the vitamin C group underwent a significant 24 percent reduction in their plasma CRP concentrations, while neither of the other groups showed a significant change. This remarkable result provides strong support for chronic supplementation with vitamin C, whether or not you smoke.
Smoking causes cancer in part by directly damaging DNA, which is a vital first step in the onset of cancer. In studying the effect of vitamin C supplements on reducing DNA damage in blood cells, Danish researchers gave relatively low doses (500 mg/day) of vitamin C as plain-release or slow-release tablets combined with vitamin E (182 mg/day), or placebo, for four weeks to a group of male smokers. The slow-release formulation of vitamin C reduced the number of DNA damage sites measured in white blood cells just four and eight hours after a single tablet, a positive result that was still evident at four weeks. The plain-release tablets also exerted a protective effect at four hours, suggesting benefits of long-term vitamin C supplementation in minimizing DNA damage.
Once DNA is damaged, however, smoking induces pro-inflammatory changes that can allow a malignant cell to become a dangerous tumor as well as causing blood vessel damage associated with atherosclerosis. Vitamin C supplementation is a logical approach to reducing the impact of these inflammatory changes, as was shown recently by a British investigative team. They studied 10 smokers with the high-risk lipoprotein ApoE4 gene as well as 11 non-smokers, all of whom took just 60 mg/day of vitamin C for four weeks. Remarkably, these high-risk smokers on this low-dose regimen responded with a marked reduction in levels of a host of pro-inflammatory cytokines. As the authors themselves pointed out, this study identified core molecular mechanisms that help explain the known benefits of vitamin C supplementation in smokers.
Literally scores of other studies have been published demonstrating the benefits of vitamin C supplements in smokers and those passively exposed to cigarette smoke. One study found that 500 mg of vitamin C twice daily for just two weeks reduced the depletion of vitamin E caused by smoking by up to 50 percent.
Two other studies investigating low and high doses of vitamin C supplementation revealed its benefits in improving endothelial function, a cornerstone of cardiovascular health, known to be impaired in smokers. The first study showed that just 60 mg of vitamin C daily given to a group of smokers for 12 weeks improved endothelial function as assessed by flow-mediated vasodilation. In the second study, Dutch researchers found that 2,000 mg/day of vitamin C for two weeks reversed endothelial dysfunction caused by the abnormal migration of monocytes implicated in atherosclerosis.
Furthermore, Berkeley public health researchers successfully reduced levels of F2-isoprostanes, a sign of oxidative stress and cell damage, in a group of 67 passive smokers who were given vitamin C supplements daily for two months. The researchers stressed the value of these findings in preventing tobacco smoke-induced health damage in non-smokers.
VITAMIN C & THE IMPORTANCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS
Oxidative damage and the resultant inflammatory changes are now known to lie at the root of most common chronic conditions in humans, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Although for many years it was thought that tissue ischemia (lack of oxygen-rich blood) caused the damage from acute conditions such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke, today we recognize instead that it is the sudden restoration of vital oxygen and the consequent production of reactive oxygen species that wreak major havoc on surviving tissue. This so-called ischemia/reperfusion injury is also now recognized as a critical factor in brain injury following bleeding and head trauma.
Reactive oxygen species are harmful in other ways as well - they contribute to the DNA damage that is the first step in converting healthy cells into malignant cancers and they impair many of the checks and balances inherent in our immune systems, rendering us potentially vulnerable to deadly infections and their consequences. Finally, healthy lifestyle choices such as exercise and unhealthy activities such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption produce reactive oxygen species that must be controlled to prevent tissue injury. Scientists studying all of these conditions are rapidly developing a strong appreciation for vitamin C's powerful potential as a preventive and often therapeutic supplement.
OTHER RECENT ADVANCES IN VITAMIN C THERAPY
Nutritional researchers are constantly uncovering new health benefits for vitamin C. Recent findings include vitamin Cís role in the following applications:
Respiratory Illnesses: The impact of vitamin C in staving off the common cold has been hotly debated for more than three decades. Large, well-designed studies continue to show, however, that regular vitamin C supplements reduce the frequency and duration of the common cold. More serious illnesses also benefit from the antioxidant effects of vitamin C, particularly asthma. Asthmatic children given an antioxidant supplement containing 250 mg vitamin C and 50 mg vitamin E had markedly decreased responses to environmental asthma triggers. And vitamin C supplements (1,000 mg/day) also reduced the amount of long-term inhaled corticosteroids needed by adults with asthma.
Cancer: Exciting new work is showing that vitamin C supplementation may decrease the toxic effects of chemotherapy drugs (such as damage to heart tissue) and increase the anti-tumor activity of chemotherapy. Further, promising studies show that vitamin C may synergize with other antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutraceuticals to help fight cancer. Chronic supplementation with vitamin C and other antioxidants might also serve a vital chemopreventive role, reducing the risk of actually developing cancer in the first place.
Diabetes: Human studies have now demonstrated that vitamin C supplements may help lower blood glucose levels in diabetics, with additional beneficial reductions in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and plasma free radicals.
Stomach Health: Supplementing with vitamin C can also protect against oxidative damage wrought by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, a major cause of gastritis and stomach ulcers. Vitamin C supplements can also reduce the dose of antibiotics needed to eradicate the organism and may directly prevent the gastritis it causes. And there is encouraging evidence that higher vitamin C levels are associated with lower long-term gastric cancer risk.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension Health Advisor at 1-800-226-2370.
For complete article: LEF: Newly Discovered Benefits of Vitamin C
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23. Bryer SC, Goldfarb AH. Effect of high dose vitamin C supplementation on muscle soreness, damage, function, and oxidative stress to eccentric exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006 Jun;16(3):270-80.
24. Block G, Jensen C, Dietrich M, et al. Plasma C-reactive protein concentrations in active and passive smokers: influence of antioxidant supplementation. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Apr;23(2):141-7.
25. Moller P, Viscovich M, Lykkesfeldt J, et al. Vitamin C supplementation decreases oxidative DNA damage in mononuclear blood cells of smokers. Eur J Nutr. 2004 Oct;43(5):267-74.
26. Bruno RS, Leonard SW, Atkinson J, et al. Faster plasma vitamin E disappearance in smokers is normalized by vitamin C supplementation. Free Radic Biol Med. 2006 Feb 15;40(4):689-97.
27. Young JM, Shand BI, McGregor PM, Scott RS, Frampton CM. Comparative effects of enzogenol and vitamin C supplementation versus vitamin C alone on endothelial function and biochemical markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in chronic smokers. Free Radic Res. 2006 Jan;40(1):85-94.
28. Stadler N, Eggermann J, Voo S, Kranz A, Waltenberger J. Smoking-induced monocyte dysfunction is reversed by vitamin C supplementation in vivo. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2007 Jan;27(1):120-6.
29. Sasazuki S, Sasaki S, Tsubono Y, et al. Effect of vitamin C on common cold: randomized controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jan;60(1):9-17.
30. Van SM, Josling P. Preventing the common cold with a vitamin C supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Adv Ther. 2002 May;19(3):151-9.
31. Romieu I, Trenga C. Diet and obstructive lung diseases. Epidemiol Rev. 2001;23(2):268-87.
32. Trenga CA, Koenig JQ, Williams PV. Dietary antioxidants and ozone-induced bronchial hyperresponsiveness in adults with asthma. Arch Environ Health. 2001 May;56(3):242-9.
33. Tecklenburg SL, Mickleborough TD, Fly AD, Bai Y, Stager JM. Ascorbic acid supplementation attenuates exercise-induced bronchoconstriction in patients with asthma. Respir Med. 2007 Aug;101(8):1770-8.
34. Fogarty A, Lewis SA, Scrivener SL, et al. Corticosteroid sparing effects of vitamin C and magnesium in asthma: a randomised trial. Respir Med. 2006 Jan;100(1):174-9.
35. Bast A, Haenen GR, Bruynzeel AM, Van d, V. Protection by flavonoids against anthracycline cardiotoxicity: from chemistry to clinical trials. Cardiovasc Toxicol. 2007;7(2):154-9.
36. bdel-Latif MM, Raouf AA, Sabra K, Kelleher D, Reynolds JV. Vitamin C enhances chemosensitization of esophageal cancer cells in vitro. J Chemother. 2005 Oct;17(5):539-49.
37. Chen J, Kang J, Da W, Ou Y. Combination with water-soluble antioxidants increases the anticancer activity of quercetin in human leukemia cells. Pharmazie. 2004 Nov;59(11):859-63.
38. Chen J, Wanming D, Zhang D, Liu Q, Kang J. Water-soluble antioxidants improve the antioxidant and anticancer activity of low concentrations of curcumin in human leukemia cells. Pharmazie. 2005 Jan;60(1):57-61.
39. Correa P, Fontham ET, Bravo JC, et al. Chemoprevention of gastric dysplasia: randomized trial of antioxidant supplements and anti-helicobacter pylori therapy. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2000 Dec 6;92(23):1881-8.
40. Maramag C, Menon M, Balaji KC, Reddy PG, Laxmanan S. Effect of vitamin C on prostate cancer cells in vitro: effect on cell number, viability, and DNA synthesis. Prostate. 1997 Aug 1;32(3):188-95.
41. Wei DZ, Yang JY, Liu JW, Tong WY. Inhibition of liver cancer cell proliferation and migration by a combination of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate and ascorbic acid. J Chemother. 2003 Dec;15(6):591-5.
42. Paolisso G, Balbi V, Volpe C, et al. Metabolic benefits deriving from chronic vitamin C supplementation in aged non-insulin dependent diabetics. J Am Coll Nutr. 1995 Aug;14(4):387-92.
43. Chuang CH, Sheu BS, Kao AW, et al. Adjuvant effect of vitamin C on omeprazole-amoxicillin-clarithromycin triple therapy for Helicobacter pylori eradication. Hepatogastroenterology. 2007 Jan;54(73):320-4.
44. Sun YQ, Girgensone I, Leanderson P, Petersson F, Borch K. Effects of antioxidant vitamin supplements on Helicobacter pylori-induced gastritis in Mongolian gerbils. Helicobacter. 2005 Feb;10(1):33-42.
45. Waring AJ, Drake IM, Schorah CJ, et al. Ascorbic acid and total vitamin C concentrations in plasma, gastric juice, and gastrointestinal mucosa: effects of gastritis and oral supplementation. Gut. 1996 Feb;38(2):171-6.
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47. Available at: http://pdrhealth.com/search/search-results.aspx?searchTerm=vitamin+c. Accessed January 25, 2008.
48. Lenton KJ, Sane AT, Therriault H, et al. Vitamin C augments lymphocyte glutathione in subjects with ascorbate deficiency. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jan;77(1):189-95.
49. Tipoe GL, Leung TM, Hung MW, Fung ML. Green tea polyphenols as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent for cardiovascular protection. Cardiovasc Hematol Disord Drug Targets. 2007 Jun;7(2):135-44.
50. Comelli MC, Mengs U, Schneider C, Prosdocimi M. Toward the definition of the mechanism of action of silymarin: activities related to cellular protection from toxic damage induced by chemotherapy. Integr Cancer Ther. 2007 Jun;6(2):120-9.
51. Nicolls MR, Haskins K, Flores SC. Oxidant stress, immune dysregulation, and vascular function in type I diabetes. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2007 Jul;9(7):879-89.
52. Sureda A, Batle JM, Tauler P, et al. Hypoxia/reoxygenation and vitamin C intake influence NO synthesis and antioxidant defenses of neutrophils. Free Radic Biol Med. 2004 Dec 1;37(11):1744-55.
53. Polidori MC, Mecocci P, Frei B. Plasma vitamin C levels are decreased and correlated with brain damage in patients with intracranial hemorrhage or head trauma. Stroke. 2001 Apr;32(4):898-902.
54. Mallette FA, Ferbeyre G. The DNA damage signaling pathway connects oncogenic stress to cellular senescence. Cell Cycle. 2007 Aug 1;6(15):1831-6.
55. Krohn K, Maier J, Paschke R. Mechanisms of disease: hydrogen peroxide, DNA damage and mutagenesis in the development of thyroid tumors. Nat Clin Pract Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Oct;3(10):713-20.
56. Wintergerst ES, Maggini S, Hornig DH. Contribution of selected vitamins and trace elements to immune function. Ann Nutr Metab. 2007;51(4):301-23.
57. Hughes DA. Effects of dietary antioxidants on the immune function of middle-aged adults. Proc Nutr Soc. 1999 Feb;58(1):79-84.
58. El-Taukhy MA, Salama SM, bou-Shousha SA, Ismail SS, Saleh M. Effects of chronic ethanol and vitamin C administration on production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6 in rats. Egypt J Immunol. 2006;13(1):1-10.
VITAMIN C DOSAGE INFORMATION
Several factors help determine how much vitamin C you should take, including your age and sex. People who smoke and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may also require more vitamin C. Dosing recommendations can range between 15 mg (for young children) and 120 mg (for breastfeeding women). Many foods already contain the vitamin, but additional vitamin C is often added to foods and beverages.
VITAMIN C DOSES & RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE (RDA)
The Institute of Medicine has developed two different dosing guidelines for vitamin C, the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) and UL (tolerable upper limit). The RDA is the intake recommended for the average person, and the UL is the maximum that can be taken without significant side effects or toxicity. Refer to the following table for RDA and UL values for vitamin C.
AGE VITAMIN C RDA VITAMIN C UL 1 to 3 Years 15 mg per day 400 mg per day 4 to 8 Years 25 mg per day 650 mg per day 9 to 13 Years 45 mg per day 1200 mg per day 14 to 18 Years Females 65 mg per day 1800 mg per day Males 75 mg per day 19 Years & Older Females 75 mg per day 2000 mg per day Males 90 mg per day Pregnant Women 18 Years & Under 80 mg per day 1800 mg per day 19 Years & Older 85 mg per day 2000 mg per day Breastfeeding Women 18 Years & Under 115 mg per day 1800 mg per day 19 Years & Older 120 mg per day 2000 mg per day
For smokers, an additional 35 mg of vitamin C overe the usual RDA is recommended.
Many people may be able to meet their RDA for vitamin C through food, since many foods naturally contain it. Also, additional vitamin C is often added to various foods and beverages. However, vitamin C content decreases when foods and beverages are cooked or stored. Frozen orange juice (the concentrated kind that is mixed with water) usually contains more active vitamin C than ready-to-drink orange juice. With time, the vitamin C in ready-to-drink orange juice oxidizes and becomes much more difficult to absorb.
VITAMIN C DIETARY SOURCES
The body is not able to make vitamin C on its own, and it does not store vitamin C. It is therefore important to include plenty of vitamin C-containing foods in your daily diet. All fruits and vegetables contain some amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C is found in berries, citrus fruits, and green vegetables. Good sources include acerola cherries, asparagus, avocados, beet greens, black currants, blueberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, camu camu fruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower, chili peppers, collards, cranberries, dandelion greens, dulse, grapefruit, green peppers, kale, kiwi fruit, lemons, mangos, mustard greens, onions, oranges, papayas, green peas, sweet peppers, persimmons, pineapple, radishes, red peppers, rose hips, raspberries, spinach, strawberries, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatoes and tomato juice, turnip greens and other leafy greens, watercress, watermelon, white potatoes, winter squash and yams.
Some cereals and other foods and beverages are fortified with vitamin C. Fortified means a vitamin or mineral has been added to the food. Check the product labels to see how much vitamin C is in the product. Cooking vitamin C-rich foods or storing them for a long period of time can reduce the vitamin c content. Microwaving and steaming vitamin C-rich foods may reduce cooking losses. The best food sources of vitamin C are uncooked or raw fruits and vegetables.
Herbs that contain vitamin C include Acerola, Alfalfa, Burdock Root, Cayenne, Chickweed, Eyebright, Fennel Seed, Fenugreek, Hops, Horsetail, Kelp, Mullein, Nettle, Oat Straw, Paprika, Parsley, Peppermint, Pine Needle, Plantain, Red Clover, Red Raspberry Leaf, Rose Hips, Skullcap, Violet Leaves, Yarrow, and Yellow Dock.
PLANT SOURCES OF VITAMIN C
While plants are generally a good source of vitamin C, the amount in foods of plant origin depends on the precise variety of the plant, soil condition, climate where it grew, length of time since it was picked, storage conditions, and method of preparation. The following table is approximate and shows the relative abundance in different raw plant sources. As some plants were analyzed fresh while others were dried (thus, artifactually increasing concentration of individual constituents like vitamin C), the data are subject to potential variation and difficulties for comparison. The amount is given in milligrams per 100 grams of fruit or vegetable and is a rounded average from multiple authoritative sources:
PLANT SOURCE AMOUNT
PLANT SOURCE AMOUNT
PLANT SOURCE AMOUNT
Kakadu Plum 1000 to 5300 Papaya 60 Grape 10 Camu Camu 2800 Strawberry 60 Apricot 10 Acerola 1677 Orange 53 Plum 10 Seabuckthorn 695 Lemon 53 Watermelon 10 Mica Muro 500 Cauliflower 48 Banana 9 Indian Gooseberry 445 Kale 41 Avocado 8 Rose Hip 426 Melon, Cantaloupe 40 Crabapple 8 Baobab 400 Garlic 31 Onion 7.4 Chili Pepper, Green 244 Grapefruit 30 Cherry 7 Guava, Common Raw 228.3 Raspberry 30 Peach 7 Black Currant 200 Tangerine 30 Carrot 6 Red Pepper 190 Mandarin Orange 30 Apple 6 Chili Pepper, Red 144 Passion Fruit 30 Asparagus 6 Parsley 130 Spinach 30 Horned Melon 5.3 Kiwi Fruit 90 Cabbage, Raw Green 30 Beetroot 5 Broccoli 90 Lime 30 Chokecherry 5 Loganberry 80 Mango 28 Pear 4 Red Currant 80 Blackberry 21 Lettuce 4 Brussels Sprouts 80 Potato 20 Cucumber 3 Wolfberry (Goji) 73 * Melon, Honeydew 20 Eggplant 2 Lychee 70 Tomato, Red 13.7 Raisin 2 Persimmon, Native Raw 66 Cranberry 13 Fig 2 Cloudberry 60 Blueberry 10 Bilberry 1 Elderberry 60 Pineapple 10 Medlar 0.3
* Average of 3 ounces, dried.
ANIMAL SOURCES OF VITAMIN C
The overwhelming majority of species of animals (but not humans or guinea pigs) and plants synthesise their own vitamin C. Therefore, some animal products can be used as sources of dietary vitamin C. Vitamin C is most present in the liver and least present in the muscle. Since muscle provides the majority of meat consumed in the western human diet, animal products are not a reliable source of the vitamin. Vitamin C is present in human breast milk, but not present in raw cow's milk. All excess vitamin C is disposed of through the urinary system. The following table shows the relative abundance of vitamin C in various foods of animal origin, given in milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams of food.
ANIMAL SOURCE AMOUNT
ANIMAL SOURCE AMOUNT
ANIMAL SOURCE AMOUNT
Calf Liver, Raw 36 Lamb Brain, Boiled 17 Lamb Tongue, Stewed 6 Beef Liver, Raw 31 Chicken Liver, Fried 13 Camel Milk, Fresh 5 Oysters, Raw 30 Lamb Liver, Fried 12 Human Milk, Fresh 4 Cod Roe, Fried 26 Calf Adrenals, Raw 11 Goat Milk, Fresh 2 Pork Liver, Raw 23 Lamb Heart, Roast 11 Cow Milk, Fresh 2
Vitamin C chemically decomposes under certain conditions, many of which may occur during the cooking of food. Vitamin C concentrations in various food substances decrease with time in proportion to the temperature they are stored at and cooking can reduce the Vitamin C content of vegetables by around 60 percent possibly partly due to increased enzymatic destruction as it may be more significant at sub-boiling temperatures. Longer cooking times also add to this effect, as will copper food vessels, which catalyse the decomposition.
Another cause of vitamin C being lost from food is leaching, where the water-soluble vitamin dissolves into the cooking water, which is later poured away and not consumed. However, vitamin C does not leach in all vegetables at the same rate; research shows broccoli seems to retain more than any other. Research has also shown that fresh-cut fruits do not lose significant nutrients when stored in the refrigerator for a few days.
VITAMIN C SUPPLEMENTS
Vitamin C is water-soluble and comes in tablets, caplets, capsules, and drink mix packets. It is in multi-vitamin formulations, multiple antioxidant formulations, and as crystalline powder. Timed release versions are available, as are formulations containing bioflavonoids such as quercetin, hesperidin, and rutin. Tablet and capsule sizes range from 25 mg to 1500 mg. Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) crystals are typically available in bottles containin 300 grams to 1 kilogram of powder (a 5 milliliter teaspoon of vitamin C crystals equals 5,000 mg). The bottles are usually airtight and brown or opaque in order to prevent oxidation, in which case the vitamin C would become useless, if not damaging.
Read product label directions for use. Many chewable vitamin C products contain sugar, and all are highly acidic (which can be damaging to tooth enamel). It is probably a good idea to brush your teeth after taking a dose of a chewable vitamin C product. The more vitamin C you take, the more that gets excreted through your urine. While taking high doses of vitamin C is usually not dangerous since excess is eliminated by the body, it is not usually beneficial either. For better absorption of a water-soluble supplement, such as vitamin C, it is best to take lower multiple doses throughout the day than to take one large daily dosage.
For maximum effectiveness, supplemental Vitamin C should be taken in divided doses, twice daily. Esterified vitamin C (Ester-C) is a remarkably effective form of vitamin C, especially for those suffering from chronic illness such as cancer and AIDS. It is created by having the vitamin C react with a necessary mineral, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, or zinc. This results in a form of the vitamin that is non-acidic and that contains vitamin C metabolites identical to those produced by the body. Esterified vitamin C enters the bloodstream and tissues four times faster than standard vitamin C, moves into the blood cells more efficiently, and also stays in the body tissues longer. The levels of vitamin C in white blood cells achieved by taking esterified vitamin C are four times higher than those achieved with standard vitamin C. Further, only 1/3 as much is lost through excretion in the urine. Natrol produces supplements of Ester-C in combination with other valuable nutrients: one with the antioxidants Pycnogenol and proanthocyanidins; another with the herb echinacea; and still another with garlic.
Health Therapy: Ascorbic Acid Flush
Because vitamin C (ascorbic acid) promotes the healing of wounds and protects the body from bacterial infection, allergens, and other pollutants, it is often beneficial to flush the body with ascorbic acid. This therapy can help treat chemical allergies and chemical poisoning, arsenic and radiation poisoning, influenza, and sprains, and it can help prevent other illnesses, including cancer and AIDS.
If you are unsure about anything related to your dosage or vitamin C dosing in general, please talk with your health care provider.
VITAMIN C SAFETY, CAUTIONS & INTERACTIONS
HIGH DOSE SIDE EFFECTS
If aspirin and standard Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) are taken together in large doses, stomach irritation can occur, possibly leading to ulcers, particularly if taken on an empty stomach. However, taking Vitamin C in the form of sodium ascorbate and calcium ascorbate may minimize this effect. If you take aspirin regularly, use an esterified form of vitamin C. When taken in large doses, ascorbic acid causes diarrhea in healthy subjects. In one trial in 1936, doses up to 6 grams of ascorbic acid were given to 29 infants, 93 children of preschool and school age, and 20 adults for more than 1400 days. With the higher doses, toxic manifestations were observed in five adults and four infants. The signs and symptoms in adults were nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, flushing of the face, headache, fatigue and disturbed sleep. The main toxic reactions in the infants were skin rashes.
If you are pregnant, do not take more than 5,000 mg of Vitamin C daily. In a study conducted on rats, during the first month of pregnancy, high doses of vitamin C may suppress the production of progesterone from the corpus luteum. Progesterone, necessary for the maintenance of a pregnancy, is produced by the corpus luteum for the first few weeks, until the placenta is developed enough to produce its own source. By blocking this function of the corpus luteum, high doses of vitamin C (greater than 1000 mg) are theorized to induce an early miscarriage. In a group of spontaneously aborting women at the end of the first trimester, the mean values of vitamin C were significantly higher in the aborting group. However, the authors do state: 'This could not be interpreted as an evidence of causal association.' However, in a previous study of 79 women with threatened, previous spontaneous, or habitual abortion, Javert and Stander (1943) had 91 percent success with 33 patients who received vitamin C together with bioflavonoids and vitamin K (only three abortions), whereas all of the 46 patients who did not receive the vitamins aborted. It has also been suggested that infants may become dependent on this supplement and develop scurvy when deprived of the accustomed megadoses after birth.
As vitamin C enhances iron absorption, iron poisoning can become an issue to people with rare iron overload disorders, such as hemochromatosis. A genetic condition that results in inadequate levels of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) can cause sufferers to develop hemolytic anemia after ingesting specific oxidizing substances, such as very large dosages of vitamin C.
Avoid using chewable Vitamin C supplements, as these can damage tooth enamel. Brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth after taking a chewable supplement will help prevent or minimize this problem.
VITAMIN C OVERDOSE
Vitamin C is water soluble, with dietary excesses not absorbed, and excesses in the blood rapidly excreted in the urine. It exhibits remarkably low toxicity. The LD50 (the lethal dose that will kill 50 percent of a population) in rats is generally accepted to be 11.9 grams per kilogram of body weight when given by forced gavage (orally). The mechanism of death from such doses (1.2 percent of body weight, or 0.84 kg for a 70 kg human) is unknown, but may be more mechanical than chemical. The LD50 in humans remains unknown, given lack of any accidental or intentional poisoning death data. However, as with all substances tested in this way, the rat LD50 is taken as a guide to its toxicity in humans.
VITAMIN C DEFICIENCY
Vitamin C deficiency can lead to fatigue, external bleeding, irritability, and bleeding gums. Scurvy is an avitaminosis resulting from lack of vitamin C, since without this vitamin, the synthesised collagen is too unstable to perform its function. Scurvy leads to the formation of brown spots on the skin, spongy gums, and bleeding from all mucous membranes. The spots are most abundant on the thighs and legs, and a person with the ailment looks pale, feels depressed, and is partially immobilized. In advanced scurvy there are open, suppurating wounds and loss of teeth and, eventually, death. The human body can store only a certain amount of vitamin C, and so the body stores are depleted if fresh supplies are not consumed. The time frame for onset of symptoms of scurvy in unstressed adults on a completely vitamin C free diet, however, may range from one month to more than six months, depending on previous loading of vitamin C. It has been shown that smokers who have diets poor in vitamin C are at a higher risk of lung-borne diseases than those smokers who have higher concentrations of vitamin C in the blood. Nobel prize winners Linus Pauling and G. C. Willis have asserted that chronic long term low blood levels of vitamin C (chronic scurvy) is a cause of atherosclerosis.
Notable human dietary studies of experimentally induced scurvy have been conducted on conscientious objectors during WW II in Britain, and on Iowa state prisoners in the late 1960s. These studies both found that all obvious symptoms of scurvy previously induced by an experimental scorbutic diet with extremely low vitamin C content could be completely reversed by additional vitamin C supplementation of only 10 mg a day.
VITAMIN C INTERACTIONS
Alcohol, analgesics, antidepressants, anticoagulants, oral contraceptives, and steroids may reduce levels of Vitamin C in the body. Smoking causes a serious depletion of Vitamin C.
Diabetes medications such as chlorpropamide (Diabinese) and sulfa drugs may not be as effective when taken with Vitamin C. Taking high doses of Vitamin C may cause a false-negative reading in tests for blood in the stool.
Vitamin C is absorbed by the intestines using a sodium-ion dependent-channel. It is transported through the intestine via both glucose-sensitive and glucose-insensitive mechanisms. The presence of large quantities of sugar either in the intestines or in the blood can slow absorption.
VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID) & RELATED BIOFLAVONOID PRODUCTS
QUALITY PRODUCTS & SUPPLEMENTS
VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID) PRODUCTS
Vitamin C provides antioxidant protection for many of the body's' important enzyme systems. White blood cells utilize Vitamin C to help produce cytotoxic enzymes which they use to eliminate foreign matter. Vitamin C promotes immune function and reduces inflammation. A powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger that is necessary for tissue repair. Immune system enhancer that reduces allergies, protects the brain and spinal cord, keeps white blood cells healthy, fights fatigue, and increases energy. Take 3,000 to 10,000 mg daily in divided doses or as recommended by a health care provider.
STARWEST BOTANICALS PRODUCTS
Starwest Botanicals: Vitamin C, Fine Granules, 100% Pure, 3000 mg/teaspoon, 1 lb.
Starwest Botanicals: Vitamin C Complex Tablets, 500 mg, 100 Tabs
Starwest Botanicals: Vitamin C Complex Tablets, 500 mg, 500 Tabs
HerbsPro: Vitamin C, Childrens Orange Flavor, Thompson Nutritional Products, 100 mg, 100 Tabs (35743)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Big Friends Chewables, Tangy Orange, Natural Factors, 250 mg, 90 Chewable Tabs (84255)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C, Thompson Nutritional Products, Orange Flavor, 250 mg, 100 Chews (35741)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C, Buffered, Thompson Nutritional Products, 500 mg, 60 Tabs (35738)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Chewables, Juicy Orange Flavor, Solgar, 500 mg, 90 Tabs (100194)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Chewables, Cran Raspberry Flavor, Solgar, 500 mg, 90 Tabs (100195)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C With Rose Hips, Solgar, 500 mg, 100 Tabs (36857)
HerbsPro: Ester-C Ascorbate Complex Vitamin C Plus, Solgar, 500 mg, 100 VCaps (36388)
HerbsPro: Natural Fruit Vitamin C Chews, Jungle Juice, Natural Factors, 500 mg, 180 Chewable Tabs (84250)
HerbsPro: Natural Fruit Vitamin C Chews, Tangy Orange, Natural Factors, 500 mg, 180 Chewable Tabs (84251)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C-500, Ascorbate Buffered, Natures Way, 500 mg, 250 Caps (18136)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C With Rose Hips, Solgar, 500 mg, 250 Tabs (36858)
HerbsPro: Ester-C Ascorbate Complex Vitamin C Plus, Solgar, 500 mg, 250 VCaps (36389)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Plus Citrus Bioflavonoids, Buffered Antioxidant, Jarrow Formulas, 750 mg, 100 Tabs (37641)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C, Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex, BlueBonnet Nutrition, 750 mg, 180 VCaps (100611)
HerbsPro: Ester-C Ascorbate Complex Vitamin C Plus, Solgar, 1000 mg, 30 Tabs (36400)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Plus Rose Hips & Acerola, Thompson Nutritional Products, 1000 mg, 30 Caps (35749)
HerbsPro: Ester-C Ascorbate Complex Vitamin C Plus, Solgar, 1000 mg, 60 Tabs (36401)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C, Thompson Nutritional Products, 1000 mg (1 Gram), 60 Caps (35747)
HerbsPro: Ester-C Ascorbate Complex Vitamin C Plus, Solgar, 1000 mg, 90 Tabs (36402)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C-1000 With Rose Hips, Now Foods, 1000 mg, 100 Tabs (67851)
HerbsPro: Ester-C Ascorbate Complex Vitamin C Plus, Solgar, 1000 mg, 180 Tabs (36399)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C-1000 Complex, Now Foods, 1000 mg, 180 Tabs (67844)
HerbsPro: Maxi-C Complex Vitamin C, Country Life, 1000 mg, 180 Tabs (37309)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C-1000, Now Foods, 1000 mg, 250 Tabs (67852)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C-1000 Time Release With Rose Hips, Now Foods, 1000 mg, 250 Tabs (67854)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C-1000 With Rose Hips, Natures Way, 1000 mg, 250 Caps (18134)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C With Bioflavonoids, Buffered, Country Life, 1000 mg, 250 Tabs (37032)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C, Solgar, 1000 mg, 250 VCaps (36841)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C With Rose Hips, Solgar, 1500 mg, 180 Tabs (36852)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C-1500, Source Naturals, 1500 mg, 250 Tabs (6153)
HerbsPro: Emergen-C Vitamin D & Calcium, Mixed Berry, Alacer, 30 Packets (61108)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Crystals, Eclectic Institute, 4 oz. (76306)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Crystals, Buffered, Thompson Nutritional Products, 4 oz. (35745)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Crystals Powder, Thompson Nutritional Products, 4 oz. (35746)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C-Crystals, Country Life, 4 oz. (37535)
HerbsPro: Alive Vitamin C Powder, Natures Way, 120 Grams (74714)
HerbsPro: Purely-C Bulk Powder, North American Herb & Spice, 310 mg, 120 grams (75133)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Powder, Thompson Nutritional Products, 8 oz. (35750)
HerbsPro: Ascorbyl Palmitate Powder (Vitamin C Ester), Source Naturals, 8 oz. (31652)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Crystals, Country Life, 1500 mg, 8 oz. (37536)
HerbsPro: Ascorbate C Powder, TwinLab, 2000 mg, 8 oz. (19428)
HerbsPro: Super Ascorbate C Powder, TwinLab, 2000 mg, 8 oz. (19875)
HerbsPro: Super C Powder, TwinLab, 2000 mg, 8 oz. (19882)
HerbsPro: Buffered C Crystals Powder, Unflavored, Natures Life, 3600 mg, 8 oz. (89893)
HerbsPro: Pure C Crystals Powder, Unflavored, Natures Life, 5000 mg, 8 oz. (90137)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Crystals, Solgar, 1125 mg, 8.8 oz. (36848)
HerbsPro: Buffered Vitamin C Crystals, BlueBonnet Nutrition, 4100 mg, 8.8 oz. (100597)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Crystals, BlueBonnet Nutrition, 4500 mg, 8.8 oz. (100595)
HerbsPro: Buffered Vitamin C Powder, Nutricology-Allergy Research Group (18311)
HerbsPro: Organic Rosehip Powder, Starwest Botanicals, 1 lb. (71365)
HerbsPro: Ascorbic Acid Vitamin C Crystals, Instant Dissolve, Source Naturals, 16 oz. (6098)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Powder, Buffered, Life Extension, 454.6 Grams (91740)
HerbsPro: Vitamin C, Sugar Free Liquid, Buffered, World Organics, 4 fl. oz. (20240)
HerbsPro: Liquid C With Calcium Ascorbate, TwinLab, 300 mg, 16 fl. oz. (19671)
HerbsPro: Ester-C Ultra-C Eye Lift Anti-Aging Vitamin C Cream, Jason Naturals, 0.47 oz. (16171)
HerbsPro: Ester-C Super-C Anti-Aging Vitamin C Skin Care Cleanser, Jason Natural Products, 6 oz. (16154)
TakeHerb: Buffered Vitamin C, Good'n Natural, Promotes Immune System Function, 500 mg, 100 Tabs
Kalyx: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Powder, Pure, Nutricology, 1000 mg, 120 Grams (4.2 oz): N
Kalyx: Vitamin C, Pure, Nutricology, 1000 mg, 100 Caps: N
Kalyx: HerbaLozenges Orange C, Zand, 125 mg, 15 Per Bag: K
Kalyx: Ester-C Chewable Wafers, American Health, 250 mg, 125 Wafers: K
Amazon: Vitamin C Supplement Products
Amazon: Buffered Vitamin C Supplement Products
Amazon: Vitamin C & Bioflavonoids Complex Supplement Products
Amazon: Ascorbic Acid Supplement Products
The above merchants have many more Vitamin C products not listed on this page. If you do not see the product you want listed above, click on one of the above products and do a search on the merchant's website.
Nutrition Basics: Vitamin C Information
VITAMIN C - BUFFERED SUPPLEMENT PRODUCTS
HerbsPro: Vitamin C, Buffered, Thompson Nutritional Products, 500 mg, 60 Tabs
HerbsPro: Vitamin C-500, Buffered Calcium Ascorbate-C, Now Foods, 500 mg, 250 Caps
HerbsPro: Vitamin C-500, Ascorbate Buffered, Natures Way, 500 mg, 250 Caps
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Plus Citrus Bioflavonoids, Buffered, Provides Antioxidant Protection, Jarrow Formulas, 750 mg, 100 Tabs
HerbsPro: Buffered Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids, Country Life, 1000 mg, 250 Tabs
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Buffered Powder (Calcium Ascorbate), 100% Pure, Now Foods, 890 mg, 8 oz.
HerbsPro: Buffered Vitamin C Powder, Cassava Powder, Nutricology, 10.6 oz.
This vitamin C is formulated with carbonates of potassium, calcium and magnesium, giving it an acid-alkaline buffering action (pH 7.0 in water) potentially improving bowel tolerance and minimizing hyperacidity.
HerbsPro: Vitamin C Buffered Powder (Calcium Ascorbate), 100% Pure, Now Foods, 890 mg, 3 lb.
Amazon: Vitamin C Supplement Products
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Nutrition Basics: Vitamin C Antioxidant Information Nutrition Basics: Vitamin C Supplement Information
CITRUS BIOFLAVONOID PRODUCTS
Bioflavonoids are not true vitamins in the strictest sense, sometimes being referred to as vitamin P, and may be found in herbal plants, fruits, nuts and bark; and because they cannot be manufactured by the body, they must be supplied through the diet. The letter ''P'' represents permeability factor, and it was given to this group of nutrients because they improve capillary strength and permeability. Citrus Bioflavonoids are a class of flavonoids that includes Rutin, Hesperidin, Quercitin, Eriodictyl and Citron, and they are essential for the absorption of vitamin C, which should be taken simultaneously, so they may act synergistically for maximum benefit. Citrus fruits are well known for providing ample amounts of vitamin C, but they also provide Citrus Bioflavonoids, which are located in the white material just beneath the peel of citrus fruits and may be found in grapefruits, lemons, tangerines, limes and oranges. Other sources of bioflavonoids include apricots, nuts, peppers, buckwheat, blackberries, black currants cherries, grapes, plums, prunes and rose hips. In addition, several herbs also provide bioflavonoids, including Chervil, Elderberry, Hawthorne Berry, Horsetail and Shepherd's Purse.
HerbsPro: Citrus Bioflavonoids Fluid Complex, Organic With Rosehips, Natures Answer, 5000 mg / Teaspoon, 8 fl oz.
HerbsPro: Bioflavonoids Complex, FoodScience of Vermont, 1000 mg, 60 Tabs
Kalyx: Citrus Bioflavonoids, Twinlab, 750 mg 100 Caps: HF
Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex (containing 50% total bioflavonoids consisting of flavanones - hesperidin, eriocitrin, naringen and naringenin, flavanols and flavones)) (700 mg/Capsule), Rutin (50 mg/Capsule). Twinlab Citrus Bioflavonoid Caps are easier to swallow and assimilate. Contains one of the purest sources of citrus bioflavonoids available. Well tolerated by most individuals. Free of tablet binders, coatings and colorings. Added flavorings, salt, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and salicylates.
Kalyx: Ester-C, American Health, 250 mg, 125 Chewable Wafers: K
Non-Acidic Unique Gentle Form of Vitamin C. Patented Formula. 100% Vegetarian 24-Hour Immune Support. GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) Dietary Supplement. Non-acidic Ester-C is a breakthrough patented formula that contains naturally-occurring Vitamin C metabolites and is quickly absorbed. Its unique manufacturing process neutralizes pH, making it gentle on the digestive system. Ester-C delivers advanced antioxidant protection, remaining active in the immune system for up to 24 hours.
Kalyx: Citrus Bioflavonoid Powdered Extract, 10% Total Bioflavonoids, Kalyx, 1 kg (2.2 lbs): EB
Kalyx: Citrus Bioflavonoid Powdered Extract, 20% Total Bioflavonoids, Kalyx, 1 kg (2.2 lbs): EB
Amazon: Vitamin C Supplement Products
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Nutrition Basics: Flavonoids Antioxidant Information Nutrition Basics: Bioflavonoids Supplement Information
AROMATHERAPY: ESSENTIAL OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Allspice Leaf Oil Angelica Oil Anise Oil Baobab Oil Basil Oil Bay Laurel Oil Bay Oil Benzoin Oil Bergamot Oil Black Pepper Oil Chamomile (German) Oil Cajuput Oil Calamus Oil Camphor (White) Oil Caraway Oil Cardamom Oil Carrot Seed Oil Catnip Oil Cedarwood Oil Chamomile Oil Cinnamon Oil Citronella Oil Clary-Sage Oil Clove Oil Coriander Oil Cypress Oil Dill Oil Eucalyptus Oil Fennel Oil Fir Needle Oil Frankincense Oil Geranium Oil German Chamomile Oil Ginger Oil Grapefruit Oil Helichrysum Oil Hyssop Oil Iris-Root Oil Jasmine Oil Juniper Oil Labdanum Oil Lavender Oil Lemon-Balm Oil Lemongrass Oil Lemon Oil Lime Oil Longleaf-Pine Oil Mandarin Oil Marjoram Oil Mimosa Oil Myrrh Oil Myrtle Oil Neroli Oil Niaouli Oil Nutmeg Oil Orange Oil Oregano Oil Palmarosa Oil Patchouli Oil Peppermint Oil Peru-Balsam Oil Petitgrain Oil Pine-Long Leaf Oil Pine-Needle Oil Pine-Swiss Oil Rosemary Oil Rose Oil Rosewood Oil Sage Oil Sandalwood Oil Savory Oil Spearmint Oil Spikenard Oil Swiss-Pine Oil Tangerine Oil Tea-Tree Oil Thyme Oil Vanilla Oil Verbena Oil Vetiver Oil Violet Oil White-Camphor Oil Yarrow Oil Ylang-Ylang Oil Aromatherapy
Healing Baths For Colds
Using Essential Oils
AROMATHERAPY: HERBAL & CARRIER OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Almond, Sweet Oil Apricot Kernel Oil Argan Oil Arnica Oil Avocado Oil Baobab Oil Black Cumin Oil Black Currant Oil Black Seed Oil Borage Seed Oil Calendula Oil Camelina Oil Castor Oil Coconut Oil Comfrey Oil Evening Primrose Oil Flaxseed Oil Grapeseed Oil Hazelnut Oil Hemp Seed Oil Jojoba Oil Kukui Nut Oil Macadamia Nut Oil Meadowfoam Seed Oil Mullein Oil Neem Oil Olive Oil Palm Oil Plantain Oil Plum Kernel Oil Poke Root Oil Pomegranate Seed Oil Pumpkin Seed Oil Rosehip Seed Oil Safflower Oil Sea Buckthorn Oil Sesame Seed Oil Shea Nut Oil Soybean Oil St. Johns Wort Oil Sunflower Oil Tamanu Oil Vitamin E Oil Wheat Germ Oil
HELPFUL RELATED MOONDRAGON NUTRITION BASICS LINKS
MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Amino Acids Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Antioxidants Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Enzymes Information MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Herbs Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Homeopathics Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Hydrosols Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Minerals Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Mineral Introduction MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary & Cosmetic Supplements Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary Supplements Introduction MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Specialty Supplements MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Introduction
NUTRITION BASICS ARTICLES
MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: 4 Basic Nutrients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Foods That Contain Additives & Artificial Ingredients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Is Aspartame A Safe Sugar Substitute? MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Guidelines For Selecting & Preparing Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Destroy MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Heal MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: The Micronutrients: Vitamins & Minerals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Overcooking Your Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Phytochemicals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Increase Your Consumption of Raw Produce MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Limit Your Use of Salt MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Use Proper Cooking Utensils MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Choosing The Best Water & Types of Water
RELATED MOONDRAGON HEALTH LINKS & INFORMATION
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Therapy Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Analysis Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Diet Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Recipe Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Therapy: Preparing Produce for Juicing MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Additives Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Safety Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Index MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Articles MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Back Pain MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Labor & Birth MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Blending Chart MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Essential Oil Details MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Miscarriage MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Post Partum MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Childbearing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Problems in Pregnancy & Birthing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #1 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #2 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Tips MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Uses MoonDragon's Alternative Health Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information Overview MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Touch & Movement Therapies Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy: Touch & Movement: Aromatherapy MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Touch & Movement - Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Therapeutic Massage MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 1 MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 2 MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Nutrition Basics Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hydrotherapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Pain Control Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Relaxation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Steam Inhalation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy - Herbal Oils Index
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MOONDRAGON'S REALM - WEBSITE DIRECTORY
A website map to help you find what you are looking for on MoonDragon.org's Website. Available pages have been listed under appropriate directory headings.