Vitamin-C (Ascorbic Acid) Nutritional Supplement Health Benefits
What is Vitamin-C?Vitamin-C or L-Ascorbic Acid is a water soluble anti-oxidant vitamin that provides several vitally important, essential functions in your body. (A slightly more expensive oil-soluble form called Ester Vitamin C is also available, see below.) Some animals build Vitamin-C from foods, but the human body cannot make this vitamin from other nutrients. As a result, you must consume Vitamin-C every day to maintain health, either from foods or supplements.
New research on Vitamin-C has revealed how it functions in your body. It is directly involved as the leading actor in some important processes, and it contributes essential roles as a supporting actor in dozens of others.
Vitamin-C is the most popular natural health supplement in the world. More people take Vitamin-C than any other vitamin, including vitamin-e, vitamin-d, or even the popular B vitamins. Its popularity also towers over any herb, plant extract, or mineral supplement pill.
Another name for Vitamin-C is ascorbic acid. The name ascorbic acid comes from its ability to prevent Vitamin-C deficiency, which results in the disease known as scurvy. The term "ascorbic" means without scurvy. Only very small amounts of Vitamin-C are needed to prevent scurvy -- about 10/1000's of a gram per day. There are about 26 grams per ounce, so that is indeed a very small amount -- written as 10mg. You could get this much from eating only one slice, about 1/6 of an orange or small grapefruit per day. But Vitamin-C's role in health goes well beyond the prevention of scurvy. It is involved in hundreds of important metabolic reactions and body processes.
As a water soluble vitamin, Vitamin-C does its work mostly as it is circulated in the blood, or inside the watery areas of cells. It cannot penetrate the fatty-cell walls themselves, surrounding most tissues and organs. It also cannot penetrate the fatty structures of cholesterol, triglycerides and other lipids -- vitamin-e does that job. It does much work directly with the red blood cells, white blood cells, cholesterol, triglycerides and other blood lipids, and in recharging other anti-oxidants like vitamin-e, alpha lipoic acid and glutathione. Those 3 anti-oxidants are fat soluble and can work in or outside of cells in many roles to fight free radicals, neutralize oxidized LDL cholesterol and destroy intracellular oxidizing agents. Due to its power to recharge other anti-oxidants, Vitamin-C plays an important part all through the body; in the blood, in the liver, in the heart and brain, and inside and outside of cells in all your organs.
List of Vitamin-C BenefitsDirect and indirect roles for Vitamin-C in health include:
- Neutralizes free radicals in the blood and liver that are the normal by-product of your metabolism
- Donates an electron to recycle and re-activate vitamin-e, making it live to do its work up to 20-times longer
- Donates an electron to recycle and re-activate alpha lipoic acid and other anit-oxidants, enabling them to do their work many times longer
- Competes with Lipoprotein(a) to bind with artery tissues, preventing plaque build-up
- Helps strengthen cell walls by aiding the maintenance of the actual structure of wall itself, enabling them to better resist invasions from viruses and mechanical stresses
- Involved in neutralizing oxidized LDL-C molecules by regenerating vitamin-e, which can reduce the build-up of arterial plaques, thus improving many cardiovascular disease conditions
- Reduces risks of cancer by blocking certain growth promoting pro-tumor processes, encouraging normal "apoptis" or programmed cell death
- Used by white blood cells to enable killing bacteria and virus infective agents
- Improves your ability to handle the effects of physical and psychological stress
- Aids in the formation of collagen and cartilage, which is important for the formation of bones, tendons, joints and epidermal skin tissues
- Accelerates your body's ability to rebuild connective tissues after stress of exercise or injury, and to recover from wounds, wear and tear of joints or tendons, or to repair skin abrasions
How Much Vitamin-C Should You Take in Supplements?The FDA says the RDA for Vitamin-C is now between 75 and 90mg/day. Men are supposed to get at least the 90mg/day minimum in their diet. That would be the minimum. However, if you are interested in taking the optimum amount of Vitamin-C instead of just the minumum, you may want to consider taking at least 250mg/day, up to 1,000mg/day. To fight infections, chronic diseases, or to offset high stress, you may need several times that amount per day. If you are healthy, you will attain a full body saturation of Vitamin-C at around 1,000 milligrams per day. Since your body tends to reject more than about 200mg at a time, you should take several small 200mg doses scattered out through the day to total the amount you need. Or, you may wish to buy the timed-release or extended release type pills that do that for you.
Vitamin C for DiabeticsFor decades, doctors have recommended that diabetics take a wide range of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory supplements to help prevent damage due to Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy or Diabetic Peripheral Vascular Disease. If neglected, these problems often result in patients becoming immobilized, ultimately being confined to wheelchairs or suffering amputations and forced to use given prosthetic limbs. Diabetics suffer more amputations than any other group of people. These conditions result from many factors related to diabetes, including inflammation, high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other factors related to the degenerative condition. Diabetics need to strictly control their diet, take recommended prescription drugs, do daily exercise, and take daily supplements. Taking several inter-related anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories, like fish oil, borage or evening primrose oil, and vitamins C, E, and alpha lipoic acid can help minimize these problems. Nerve cells are damaged in peripheral neuropathy. Alpha lipoic acid, a nutrient that can fight oxidation inside nerve cells, is recharged by vitamin-c. Taken together, the combination can be up to 20 times more effective than either alone. That is a powerful combination. These supplements can help extend the active, happy years for many diabetics. Talk to your doctors about these issues and get their recommendations.
Why Ester Vitamin C is the Recommended TypeWe recommend buying the ester form of Vitamin-C, since it is easier on the stomach, and also works better. A buffered form is called "esterified" or an ester, when combined with a carboxyl alcohol to make it easier on the stomach, and more powerful or efficient. Here's why it works better: In ester form, the vitamin becomes oil-soluble, making it easier to transport throughout the body. Normal l-ascorbic acid dissolves only in water compounds, not oils. The ester form is therefore more efficient at doing the job of recharging the oil-soluable vitamin-e and other tasks around your organs, brain, and limbs. Taking enough vitamin c to make a difference in your health every day will be easier if you use the esterified, or buffered, form of the nutrient. Vitamin-C works to recycle other vitamins, including Vitamin-E, Alpha Lipoic Acid and others. It does this by donating an electron to the other vitamin, once that vitamin has been used by the body in reducing oxidized free radicals. This has an effect of calming down the dangerous oxidants throughout the body, lowering rates of ageing and cellular damage due to many factors, including digestion, energy production, pollutants, radiation, etc. Esterification of the ascorbic acid actually improves its performance as an anti-oxidant, and it also makes it more comfortable while in the stomach. Ester Vitamin-C is a patented product, U.S. Patent No. 4997958 (see the patent page for Ester Vitamin-C. Many companies now sell the product, licensed by the patent assignee, Hoffman, Roche LA. The esterized version of Vitamin-C is about 20-30% more expensive than the non-ester form, but is usually considered well worth the price.
Where to buy Ester Vitamin C (Esterized L-Ascorbic Acid)We don't directly sell nutritional or cooking products, but we do get a small commission from Amazon.com if you buy a product there after clicking one of the products we suggest here. By the way, the tiny commission is taken from Amazon's profits, and is NOT added to your price. Small as it is, this will help us "spread the word" about natural health, so we appreciate your consideration. Amazon's prices are usually about the lowest, or at least are very competitive. Amazon offers a wide range of high quality brands and a safe, private, secure and reliable ordering system.
for 240 Capsules
We Suggest Ester Vitamin C, from 1 to 2 Grams per Day
Where to Buy: We recommend Ester-C The Better Vitamin C, 1000 mg, 120 Tablets (Pack of 2) - about $27.28 for 2 bottles.
Scientific Support for Vitamin-C Nutritional SupplementsANTI-OXIDANT ROLE -- Vitamin-C neutralizes the electronic charge of highly ionized free radicals, by donating one of its electrons to the free radicle molecule. In doing so, Vitamin-C becomes itself a weaker free radical, and would be destroyed unless it is later recharged by another anti-oxidant. Many anti-oxidants can recharge Vitamin-C to enable it to go back to work, including alpha lipoic acid and glutathione, among others.
FREE RADICALS -- During the burning or oxidation of glucose and in the course of metabolizing other nutrients, the body generates highly charged oxidizing molecules known as free radicals. These positively charged molecules can rip electrons out of the molecules of anything they touch, unless they are first electronically neutralized by an anti-oxidant like Vitamin-C. Damage by free radicals results in the gradual wearing out or aging of all tissues in the body. Prevention of free radical damage is one of the major goals of health maintenance strategies.
Vitamin-C AND THE COMMON COLD -- Since the publication of Dr. Linus Pauling's 1940 book, "Vitamin C and the Common Cold", hundreds of studies have been published on Vitamin-C's ability to prevent, improve or reverse various infections -- cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer's, and many other diseases. Most of the study results have demonstrated beneficial results from taking Vitamin-C compared to placebo. However, a few results have failed to show significant affects of Vitamin-C on some diseases. Most of those negative results were financed wholy or in major part by pharaceutical or another interested party. Some of the negative studies used very low doses of the vitamin, or failed to include it in a synergistic combination with needed synergistic co-factors (vitamin-E, B-6, magnesium, etc.). As a result many of these negative studies were flawed. These so-called negative results have received tremendous publicity in radio, TV, newspapers and popular magazines -- all of whom receive millions and millons of dollars from pharmaceutical drug advertising. However, despite media discouragements, most American's continue to take this vitamin. They know from their experience that Vitamin-C can help them feel and look better, and helps improve many diseases.
The common experience of Americans backs up the overall positive reviews of the effectiveness of taking Vitamin-C supplements. Most authorities do continue to believe that taking Vitamin-C supplements is wise for many if not most people, in addition to eating a diet of foods high in anti-oxidants, fiber and moderate in omega-6 fats, animal fats, and avoiding sugary, or simple starches in foods.
Vitamin-C appears to lessen the severity of many viral infections, shorten the lost time from work, and to accelerate recovery time. It also appears to be valuable in an effort to prevent the formation of arterial plaques from high amounts of LDL cholesterol by neutralizing oxidize LDL-C before it can bind to artery walls or be ingested by macrophages to be included into existing plaques in the inner wall tissues of the arteries. Vitamin-C does improve the appearance of small lines in aged or damaged skin, adding to a younger look and preserving the skin's protective role in health. Vitamin-C together with some other important co-factors like glucosamine and chondroitin, aid in the maintenance of collagen, cartilage, or joint tissues, and in the prevention or improvement of arthritis.
What Are the Best Food Sources of Vitamin-C?Sources of Vitamin-C include citrus fruits like tangerines, oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes, as well as most other fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, strawberries and other brightly colored berries, cherries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peppers and cantaloupe. Vitamin-C often is damaged or destroyed completely when you cook food at high temperatures. It is best to eat a wide variety of fresh, raw or lightly cooked foods to maximize your Vitamin-C intake from food.
Vitamin-C Safety and Side EffectsEven very high doses of Vitamin-C are considered safe among most people. Any unneeded Vitamin-C is eliminated by the body in the urine. People who have chronic diseases or acute infections are able to absorb and use several grams of Vitamin-C per day without excreting much Vitamin-C at all, and suffer no apparent side effects of these very high doses. However, doses above 1000mg/day among health people for long periods of time, have in fact resulted in some people complaining about diarrhea, or cramps and nausea in the gastrointestinal tract. A very few people who take very high doses of Vitamin-C for long periods of time may have a higher risk of developing kidney stones.
Read research references about the benefits of vitamin-C related to this article.
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