Reading about the benefits of Vitamin C, the first thing you realize is, like much else in nutrition, oodles of controversy surrounds it.
Why We Need It - The Many Advantages of Vitamin C
No one disputes that we need Vitamin C nor that it has many benefits physiologically.
It is an essential nutrient for healthy blood vessels; gums, bone and skin; adrenal and immune function; and cellular energy production to name a few benefits. Vitamin C also functions as an antioxidant and regenerator of other antioxidants. In adequate doses it has anti histamine, anti-inflammatory, anti-toxic, antibiotic and antiviral properties.
Without enough Vitamin C , as centuries of sailors who died from scurvy on long distance sea voyages attest, we will die.Timed Release Vitamin C with Rose Hips 90 tablets
Because we need it and our bodies don’t make it, Vitamin C is classified as a vitamin – a nutrient essential for life that we must get from food or supplements. The debate, and we will learn there is considerable, is not about how safe Vitamin C is but rather about how much we need to maintain health and prevent and cure illness.
To obtain all the benefits Vitamin C possibly offers, it appears you would need to take more than the conventional medical community currently recommends with the US government’s RDA.
Understanding the Nature of Vitamin C to Understand its Benefits
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin like the B Vitamins. It permeates and protects the fluid within cells.
| The Queen of Vitamin C Fruits
The West Indian acerola cherry contains a whopping 1644 mg of Vitamin C in each cup (250 ml).
Unlike fat soluble vitamins including Vitamins A and E that protect the outer layer of the cell; the body can’t store water soluble vitamins. Instead, excess Vitamin C is excreted in urine. To keep sufficient stores in your cell, you need a regular intake of Vitamin C rich foods or supplements, or risk suffering Vitamin C deficiency conditions and losing out on the benefits of Vitamin C.
And Vitamin C benefits include much more than just avoiding scurvy.
The Benefits of Vitamin C - Vitamin C Deficiency Conditions – No longer Just scurvy
While scurvy is the classic Vitamin C deficiency disease, it is rare today in the developed world.
| Vitamin C ‘s Antiviral and Anti Infectious Effects
Some scientists have theorized that vitamin C’s antiviral and antibiotic properties arise from vitamin C saturated tissue’s effect on leukocytes, the white blood cells that immobilize viruses and infections. Most claims of vitamin C’s success in preventing or curing infectious or viral conditions is based on large mega-doses on a frequent basis of up to dozens of grams per day for extended periods. For clinical examples of the vitamin C therapy see the collection of Dr. Frederick R. Klenner and other clinicians’ papers who use vitamin C as therapy. Robert McCracken’s book Injectable Vitamin C and The Treatments of Viral and Other Diseases – A compilation of Pioneering Literature, 2nd Edition outlines many of these.
Other than the severely sick or dedicated junk food consumer who avoids even the pickle, most people manage to get the minimal amount of Vitamin C to prevent scurvy. Scurvy's hallmark symptoms include fatigue, bruising, bleeding gums, loose teeth, poor wound healing, bone and muscle pain, heart irregularities followed by death.
Not a nice way to go!
Despite scurvy being uncommon, there are other conditions that many in the medical community increasingly recognize as being caused, in whole or in part, by inadequate Vitamin C and other antioxidant nutrients.
The medical conditions that may benefit from additional Vitamin C read like the “A” list of common chronic diseases of the industrialized world. They includes cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, diabetes, and viral conditions like hepatitis, herpes and cytomegalovirus. Recent research has found that Vitamin C kills TB.
Vitamin C, whether through diet or supplements, has a role in prevention and treatment of many health conditions, making Vitamin C one of the key nutrients for living well in the stress-filled epidemic-rife 21st century.
Make sure you don’t miss the benefits of Vitamin C.
The Controversy Surrounding Vitamin C Supplements versus Dietary Sources – What is the best way to gain the benefits of Vitamin C?
If everyone agrees Vitamin C is essential and has many benefits, what’s the fuss?
In large part the controversy surrounds how much Vitamin C we need on a daily basis to maintain health, let alone manage sickness, stress, aging or extreme exercise.
In addition to what dose is best, there is vivid discussion among health experts about the purported benefits of Vitamin C, especially as they relate to specific health conditions.
Press here for a list of purported Vitamin C deficiency conditions.
|A Cochrane Review of the Benefits of Vitamin C for the Common Cold found vitamin C affected the duration of the cold – not the severity of symptoms or frequency of contraction. Vitamin C therapy boosters criticize this meta-analysis for including studies of low dose and low frequency vitamin C therapy. Studies showing positive effect of vitamin C on the common cold frequently involve large doses of C.|
One camp argues that a well balanced diet alone can provide sufficient Vitamin C and that no more than 100 mg per day for an adult is needed; another camp claims that to get enough Vitamin C for optimal health, let alone curing or resolving specific medical conditions, diet is inadequate and supplemental Vitamin C, sometimes in many gram doses, is needed. The last would involve either Vitamin C via oral, or even intravenous or intramuscular injection.
The Benefits of Vitamin C – What Humans, Monkeys, Fruit Bats and Guinea Pigs Have in Common – A little bit of evolutionary biology
Most animals generate their own Vitamin C internally in amounts equivalent to several grams per day for a human of comparable weight. Not the case for humans, primates, fruit bats, guinea pigs and some bird species. They need to get their Vitamin C from food (or supplements) or they will die!
On an evolutionary scale it appears that humans or more accurately their immediate ancestors lost the ability to synthesize Vitamin C millions of years ago, when the enzyme by which much of the rest of the animal kingdom produces Vitamin C was deactivated in our species.
Producing Vitamin C internally, is an energy intensive exercise and losing our in-house Vitamin C factory may have ensured our species’ survival during lean times when all energy was required for essential functions.
| Who Discovered Vitamin C and Its Many Benefits?
It wasn’t until the 20th century that scientists identified vitamin C as the cause of scurvy. Albert Szent Gyorgi identified and distilled the nutrient that later became known as vitamin C, a discovery for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1937. Later he became a proponent of the many health benefits of vitamin C along with high dose Vitamin C supplementation.
As long as humans survived long enough to reproduce, it didn’t matter that they might succumb to various chronic diseases of old age caused or worsened by Vitamin C deficiency, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes osteoporosis, or infectious diseases.
It’s no surprise that many of the conditions of Vitamin C deficiency in the modern age are today’s chronic conditions of old age.
The Many Benefits of Vitamin C in the Body
The benefits of Vitamin C are varied.
Some of the most recognized functions and benefits of Vitamin C are as follows:
|Additional Benefits of Vitamin C for Ocular Health Because of Vitamin C’s collagen forming role and importance in maintaining healthy blood vessels, Vitamin C is key for the blood vessel rich eyes. Vitamin C concentration is high in eye tissue.|
Vitamin C - So what?
As you can see, getting enough Vitamin C is essential for not only avoiding Vitamin C deficiency disease like scurvy but for general good health.
Vitamin D Foods
Cancer & Nutrition
Click here to read more about recent Vitamin C research regarding TB and how Vitamin C combats the world's second most prevalent infectious disease, TB.
Press here to read about Vitamin C Deficiency conditions.
Press here to read about How Much Vitamin C you need.
Press here to read about dietary and supplemental sources of Vitamin C.
Click here to read more about Antioxidant Levels of Food (ORAC Values).
Click here to read more about the Benefits of Vitamin D.
Click here to read more about the Benefits of Magnesium.
Click here to read more about the Benefits of Zinc.
Click here to read more about the Benefits of Supplements including the Benefits of Vitamin C Supplements.
Click here to go to Healthy Diet Healthy You home.