We all know of the importance of vitamin C and many take multivitamins each day (including vitamin C) together with a glass of orange juice or some fresh lemon added to their food to ward off colds and flu. But we are not aware of how many extra health benefits there are in taking a higher dosage of vitamin C (along with foods that are rich in the vitamin) each and every day.
Why do we need vitamin C?
Animals manufacture vitamin C but unfortunately humans do not. Apparently, they lost this ability during the course of evolution. This is the reason why in the past, cats survived voyages to the New World while sailors died of scurvy.
Here are just some of those incredible health benefits
- Lowering risks for certain cancers plus there is evidence that massive doses of Vitamin C IV are effective against some cancers. An injection of a high dose of vitamin C may be able to hold back the advance of cancers according to US scientists. The vitamin may start a destructive chain reaction within the cancer cell as reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
- Lowering the risk of strokes. A recent British study followed 20,649 people for an average of 9.5 years, finding that those with the highest levels of vitamin C in their blood had a huge 42% reduction in risk. The researchers tested the blood levels of vitamin C ensuring highly objective results.
- Improving cholesterol. Not only does vitamin C inhibit the same enzyme that the statins drugs do, without any of their side effects, the amount of the enzyme inhibition depends on the amount of vitamin C someone takes. If their cholesterol levels are too high, they can take several grams of vitamin C daily without lowering the cholesterol levels too much. Vitamin C also regulates cholesterol in a different way because it converts it into a substance called a bile acid, which is then broken down by the liver. Vitamin C deficiency slows the above conversion, which can then make excess cholesterol accumulate in the arteries and also cause gallstones. There is much evidence now that a vitamin C deficiency can also raises cholesterol levels above normal.
- Improving type 1 diabetes symptoms. Antioxidants such as vitamin C can repair damaged blood vessels, and could be a lifesaver for anyone suffering from type I diabetes. The disease often damages blood vessels, and this can lead to heart disease, amputation, kidney disease and blindness.
- Increasing white blood cell counts.
- Improving regulation of blood glucose levels.
- Boosting mental reasoning abilities.
- Reducing the occurrence of asthma. British scientists at the Institute of Public Health in Cambridge studied 515 adults with asthma and 515 matched controls. They found that adults with symptomatic asthma had the lowest intake of fruit, especially citrus fruit, and low plasma vitamin C levels, suggesting diet may be a potentially modifiable risk factor for the development of asthma.
- Lowering the risk of developing cataracts.
- Improving eye and heart health – Dr. Sydney Bush (a distinguished English professor of optometry) prescribed high doses of vitamin C to patients suffering from eye infections and allergies. At the same time, he took photos of the retina (the back part of the eye) before vitamin C was given and again one year later. The retina is the only part of the body where doctors can see arteries and veins. He discovered that large doses of vitamin C caused cholesterol deposits to decrease in size, arteries became larger and there was increased blood flow to the retina. What happens to arteries in the retina must also happen to arteries in the heart, showing that hardening of arteries can be reversed. The heart is not healthy until the eyes say so.
- Burning more unwanted body fat and keeping the pounds away. Some scientists think this may be because vitamin C is a co-factor for the biosynthesis of carnitine, a molecule your body needs to oxidize fatty acids. They concluded inadequate vitamin C could explain why some people have such a hard time losing and keeping off excess pounds.
- Helping improve dental health. Research published in the Journal of Periodontology showed that people with too little vitamin C have higher rates of periodontal disease while the National Institutes of Health reports inadequate C is associated with weakened tooth enamel and gingivitis.
- Anti-ageing and guarding your looks as rough, dry and scaly skin can be signs of too little vitamin C along with dry hair and split ends. Research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition pointed out that those who eat a lot of vitamin C-rich foods have fewer wrinkles than those who do not.
- Protecting from cardiovascular disease. Finnish researchers have published a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggesting higher doses of supplemental vitamin C cause the incidence of major coronary heart disease events like heart attacks to plummet.
Just how much vitamin C you need?
Most experts agree that you can take large amounts of vitamin C – the suggested dose is to supplement with 2 grams a day in two separate doses. This is a safe dose. If it is too much then you would experience some diarrhea or other stomach upset and could then simply cut back on the dose. The good thing is that vitamin C is not stored in the body so toxicity is highly unlikely.
Make sure to give your children plenty of vitamin C too. Chewables are the easy way for children to take their supplement but just watch out for and avoid artificial colors and sweeteners as well as any sugar additives.
If you feel the symptoms of a cold or flu starting, then boost up your supplementation to a gram every couple of hours together with echinacea and some zinc for almost immediate relief.
You can increase the vitamin C in your diet by eating the following vitamin C rich foods
- Vegetables such as green peppers, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, turnip greens and other leafy greens, winter squash, red peppers, tomatoes, sweet and white potatoes. Another way is to juice green veggies.
If you want to take your vitamin C in the form of juice, then make your own fresh fruit juice such as orange or grapefruit from real whole fruit (preferably organic). Stay away from cartons of store bought orange juice which are not the real thing at all.
- Fruits high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, papayas, mangoes, watermelons, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, pineapples and cantaloupes.