VITAMIN C (ascorbic acid) really is the master vitamin. It is well known for its general health benefits especially because it helps boost the immune system. Vit C is the conductor of all other vitamins and is an essential nutrient for a vast number of functions within our body. It is a water-soluble compound with anti-oxidant properties that protects living organisms against oxidative stress. It is also essential for collagen synthesis, which is why insufficient amounts of this vitamin lead to scurvy. Its other functions include the synthesis of carnitine, neurotransmitters and the catabolism of tyrosine, among others
Almost all animals manufacture vitamin C in their liver. Criously most primates including chimps and humans; along with guinea pigs and some birds, have lost this ability and need to aquire the vitamin from their diets. Experiments have shown that rats will manufacture relatively large amounts of vitamin C when subjected to stress. Vitamin C is very much the stress vitamin, and our personal daily requirement will vary dramatically according to illness, emotions or other stress forms. It has been accurately demonstrated that our need for this vitamin increases substantially during times of acute infection, for example, heavy colds, pneumonia or AIDS.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier, and is necessary for the production of the protein collagen, which forms the basis for our bones and connective tissue. Thus it plays a major role in healing wounds and burns because of its facility to form connective tissue in the scar. Vitamin C assists in Iron absorption. It is possibly the most important nutrient for our immune system. So, think of Vitamin C for Immunity, Wound Healing and Detoxifying.
Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency include slow wound healing (also check protein deficiency), loose teeth, bleeding gums, weak bones and connective tissue, easy bruising and scurvy.
Best Natural Sources include all fresh fruits such as oranges and orange juice, red and green peppers, strawberries and blackcurrants and certain exotic fruits; all green vegetables, especially broccoli and brussels sprouts; plus potatoes and liver.
Supplemental Sources - Ascorbic Acid is pure vitamin C. Other varieties include mineral ascorbates like calcium and sodium ascorbate. These are calcium or sodium molecules bound to an ascorbate molecule. They are approximately 90% ascorbate (vitamin C) and 10% of the mineral, by weight. The recommended supplemental varieties are Ascorbic Acid or Sodium Ascorbate. The acid is pure, but can be too harsh for some stomachs. Sodium Ascorbate is cheap, neutral and well tolerated. The sodium molecule is split off at the renal interface and passes out of the body, unlike the sodium in table salt. Calcium Ascorbate, may be suitable if there is a deficiency of that particular mineral (e.g. calcium) but this should be tested first.
Official R.D.A. Intake - About 60 mg per day although up to 1,000mg per day may be safely taken for short periods when needed in times of infection. Sodium Ascorbate powder is sometimes taken orally at the rate of 2 level teaspoons per hour, for up to 18 hours per day. Diarrhoea will be experienced, when the body has sufficient C and no more can be absorbed across the gut wall. At this point, the dose can be slowly reduced. Note that if Megascorbate therapy (Vitamin C Therapy) is used it must not be discontinued abruptly. Always 'wean down' to the standard dose over a period of days. Vitamin C can't be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day.
Taking large amounts (more than 1,000mg per day) of vitamin C can cause stomach pain, diarrhoea or flatulence although these symptoms should disappear once you stop taking vitamin C supplements or reduce the dose.
Intravenous Ascorbate Therapy, using up to 60 grams of specially prepared sodium ascorbate daily, often produces spectacular results with viral infections, shingles, cancer, AIDS and many other diseases.
How do you ensure you get enough Vitamin C? Please do share your tips with our community. Feel free to ask any questions too.
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