An ounce of prevention | Vitamin C is vital – Jamaica Gleaner
‘More than ten thousand published scientific papers make it clear that there is not one body process or disease that is not influenced directly or indirectly by vitamin C.’
- Dr Emanuel Cheraskin.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a vitally important substance that is essential for life and health. Without it, we die. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce damage to the body’s cells caused by free radicals.
Most animals make their own vitamin C and can adjust how much they produce according to their needs. A sick animal can automatically increase its vitamin C production tenfold. Man is the rare exception and we must get our vitamin C from our diet or from supplements.
KEY BENEFITS OF VITAMIN C
It improves immune system function and helps to ward off viral and bacterial infections. At high dosages, it kills viruses. It also works as a natural antihistamine and helps reduce and prevent allergic reactions.
It promotes a healthy circulation by increasing the production of collagen for healthy blood vessels and skin. At the same time, it regulates cholesterol levels in the blood.
It helps us to manage stress as it supports the adrenal glands to reduce the impact of chronic stress and prevent adrenal fatigue. The adrenal glands have the highest levels of vitamin C in the body.
It enhances the body’s detoxification of harmful chemicals.
EVERYONE NEEDS VITAMIN C
Planet Earth is polluted, and our food supply is contaminated. Our modern methods of farming, storing, and cooking deplete the levels of vitamin C in our diet. For example, the USFDA reports that vitamin C content of today’s commercial broccoli is 30 per cent less than broccoli grown 30 years ago. If you slice up a cucumber and leave it on your kitchen table for only half an hour, it will lose 20 per cent of its vitamin C content.
We all need more vitamin C than we currently get from our diet. Why is this information not widely publicised? Perhaps it is because vitamin C is a natural substance and cannot be patented. There is, therefore, no great financial incentive for the pharmaceutical/medical industry to promote this extraordinary nutrient.
VITAMIN C: CRITICAL
How much Vitamin C do we need?
The answer is dependent on your state of health. The sicker you are, or the more unhealthy your lifestyle, the more you need. There is also a big difference between the amount required to prevent scurvy (severe vitamin C deficiency) and what’s needed for optimal health. The recommended daily allowance is less than 100 milligrams. However, that low intake will definitely make a cigarette smoker vitamin C deficient.
Almost all common illnesses, including stress, disorders, allergies, infections, traumas, cancers, strokes, and heart attacks, to name a few, dramatically increase the body’s need for vitamin C. So your requirements could vary from 1,000mg to 10,000mg per day.
HOW TO TAKE VITAMIN C
Eat foods that are rich in vitamin C. High vitamin C foods include oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, cherries, guavas, strawberries, pineapple, mangoes, sweet peppers, dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, melons, papaya, kiwi, bananas, and green peas.
These foods also provide other key nutrients and vitamins. However, to get even 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C from food alone you would have to eat the equivalent of 30 oranges per day. This is hardly possible. Supplementation is, therefore, very important.
For optimal wellness and healing, we need more vitamin C. This is available as tablets, effervescent tablets, or as a powder or crystals and is best taken in divided doses throughout the day. There is a simple method to decide how much is optimal for you. Start at 1,000mg twice daily and increase by an additional 1,000mg each day. When you exceed your optimal dose of vitamin C, you should experience loose stools, indicating that your body is fully saturated with the vitamin. Simply cut back the dose to a level where your stools return to normal, and this is your optimal daily dosage.
In situations involving severe fatigue, allergies, cancer, and other immune system problems, vitamin C can be given by a doctor in high doses via an intravenous drip.
SIDE EFFECTS OF VITAMIN C
This is an extremely safe and natural substance that is essential for the effective functioning of every cell in the body. The most common side effect of oral vitamin C at high doses is diarrhoea. As explained earlier, this can be used as a guide in determining your appropriate dose of the vitamin. A single large oral dose of vitamin C is a useful alternative for over-the-counter remedies for constipation.
Vitamin C is water-soluble and any excess is easily excreted in the urine. The vitamin C in the urine is not wasted as it helps to protect the kidneys and bladder from infections and cancer.
There is no credible evidence that vitamin C causes kidney stones. In fact, it may actually help to prevent them! Since vitamin C is acidic, persons with stomach acidity will benefit by taking a buffered form of this vitamin (calcium or magnesium ascorbate).
There is a rare genetic disorder called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, which may make some people intolerant of very high doses of vitamin C. If you are to take massive doses of vitamin C, a simple blood test to exclude that disorder should first be performed.