As I glanced outside the window, my eyes were mesmerized by the changing hues outside. The smell of roasted chestnuts and fragrant teas awakened my senses while the delightful taste of mushrooms kept me on my chair. I looked a little bit farther and there I saw the leaves of Uncle Perry’s old oak tree racing to the ground. Ah, it’s already autumn.
The coming of fall tells us that that warm days are about to end. During this time of the year, Mother Nature is going through a lot of changes and adjustments —- and that includes us. Our bodies are trying to cope up with heat changes, reduced daylight hours and the knowledge that the cozy warms days are still many months away. Autumn is the season for headaches, runny noses, sore throats, annoying coughs, flus and excessive tiredness. How can I protect myself from such bacterial and viral illnesses?
Vitamin C – The Health Booster
What is vitamin C?
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a nutritional element that plays a very important role in keeping our body healthy and strong. We need Vitamin C to help contribute to good cellular growth, promote function of the circulatory system. Without this very powerful water-soluble vitamin, our body will succumb to illnesses faster. The lack of it will also cause the body to function improperly as Vitamin C help our bodies to develop and maintain themselves. Vitamin C is one of the most readily available vitamin in the world.
Why is vitamin C important to my health?
Inside the body, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that protects cells from damaged-causing free radicals. Free radicals are formed every time our body converts the food we eat into energy. These harmful compounds are also found in the environment — from air pollution, cigarette smoke to UV rays from the sun.
Collagen, a protein that is essential make our wounds heal, is produced by the body with the aid of Vitamin C. Ascorbic acid also increases the body’s efficiency in absorbing iron from plant-based foods. Additionally, Vitamin C boosts the body’s immune system allowing us to ward off infections, viruses and inflammations more effectively. Recent studies show that beside other Vitamin C benefits Vitamin C improves the body’s vascular health — decreasing the risks of heart attacks, strokes, atherosclerosis and various autoimmune problems.
Vitamin C’s healing prowess has been known centuries ago. During this time, nearly a third of the world’s population is suffering from scurvy — a disease characterized by muscle weakness, lethargy, poor wound healing and gum bleeding. The Scottish Physician, James Lind, was the first person to single out a cure for the disease when he administered daily dose of oranges and lemon to several scurvy-stricken men in the navy. It was not until 1932 when the vitamin was finally isolated by scientists.
Vitamin C Benefits:
- Protect against ill effects of stress – protecting the brain and nervous system from the harmful effects of stress
- Improve macular degeneration
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease
- Helps in lowering the body’s blood pressure – lowering hypertension – also helps in reducing the risk of stroke
- Protect against damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals which can build up and contribute to the development of health conditions as cancer, heart disease and arthritis
- Protect against toxic chemicals and pollutants like cigarette smoke
- Taking vitamin C for colds and flu can reduce the risk of developing further complication, such as pneumonia and lung infection
- Protect against immune system deficiencies, prenatal health problems
- Curing cataracts (eye disorder)
- Lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance, dryness of the skin, and a better skin-aging appearance
- Strengthen our skin, connective tissue,
- Improves blood flow
- Help grow and strengthen hair
- May reduce the development of neurological disorder – may help in reducing the progression of dementia and other neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
- Helps to repair wounds
- Helps to reduce symptoms of asthma
- Regulates sugar levels in diabetics
- Protects against cough and common cold
- Substantially reduce bronchoconstriction caused by exercise (bronchoconstriction – medical name for suffer from coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath after exercising)
- Lower risk of gout
- Reducing the risk of developing a urinary tract infection in pregnant women
- Helps lower cholesterol
- May help treat tuberculosis
How will I know that I am suffering from a vitamin C deficiency?
A variety of symptoms will show that an individual is suffering from a vitamin C deficiency. Here are some of the top signs of this kind of shortage in the system.
- Fatigue – Early on, someone with a vitamin C deficiency will tend to get tired easily and experience reduced energy. Because chronic fatigue is a symptom of so many illnesses, it can be hard to catch a specific condition based on this symptom.
- Mood Changes – Individuals with a vitamin C deficiency may become irritable or short tempered.
- Sudden Weight Loss – You could also experience sudden weight loss as a result of Vitamin C deficiency. While this discovery could make you jump for joy, it isn’t necessarily the healthiest way of losing weight. When your body starts losing vital nutrients, losing weight is a way to compensate. Losing weight this way is definitely not good for your body.
- Joint and Muscle Aches – A lack of Vitamin C in your diet could ultimately lead to the development of chronic pain in the muscle, joints and limbs. Also, you could experience stiffness in your joints if you make sudden movements. However, these symptoms can also be attributed to other conditions and diseases as well.
- Bruising – Individuals with a vitamin C deficiency will tend to bruise easily. Excessive bruising is a signthat the body’s chemistry needs to be improved.
- Dental Conditions – Just as a healthy daily dose of vitamin C contributes to healthy teeth and gums, a deficiency can cause deterioration of the gums. Periodontal problems are a symptom of a vitamin C deficiency that has been allowed to develop to a hazardous level. This kind of deficiency was classically called “scurvy” when it happened to mariners who had no access to nutrients (or sometimes even fresh water) on long trips at sea. In today’s world, it is a rare but frightening condition.
- Dry Hair and Skin – A change in hair and skin conditions can also signal that the body is not getting enough of vitamin C and other essential vitamins and minerals.
- Lowered Immunity – When a person is suffering from a deficiency of viamin C, it can have a negative impact the body. This is especially true when it comes to wounds healing and fighting off infections. This is because the immune system weakens as a result of this deficiency. When the white blood cell count decreases, your body is incapable of fighting off infections, making you more prone to contract common infections.
What are the foods that contain vitamin C?
Ascorbic acid is one of the most readily abundant vitamin in the world. It can be found on a wide variety of food:
- Citrus (orange, lemon, grapefruit)
- Green leafy vegetables (sprouts, cress)
- Brussels sprouts
- Herbs (cilantro, chives, basil, thyme, parsley)
- Baked potato with skin as the skin has the highest concentration of vitamin C
Thus, fruits and vegetables, it’s best to eat fresh and raw as prolonged storage and cooking may reduce the Vitamin C content of the food.
For young children under one year of age – babies are advised not to use herbs and be careful with the foods that are potential allergens (eg. strawberries).
It is important that we spread the foods containing vitamin C evenly throughout the day and consume them fresh and raw as much as we can. Vitamin C is very sensitive to heat, light and air, so it’s relatively quickly reduced to zero.
Here are some easy ways to work more fruit and vegetables into your diet each day:
- Add pureed or grated fruit and veg to recipes for muffins, spaghetti Bolognese and soups.
- Keep cut-up fruit and veg on hand so they are ready for a quick snack. You can even package them in portion sizes – about 80 grams is a portion of your five a day.
- Frozen fruit slices make a cool summer treat.
- Include dark lettuce, tomatoes and shredded broccoli slaw on all your sandwiches and wraps.
- Eat raw vegetables with hummus, low-fat dips and salsas.
- Add fresh or frozen berries to muffins, scones, cereal and salads.
- Throw a handful of dried fruit on top of your cereal or in a bag with nuts for an easy snack.
- Enjoy a glass of vegetable juice as a filling and low- calorie mid-afternoon snack.
Too much vitamin C?
Almost all food products from beverages to cereals nowadays are buffed up with levels of vitamins and minerals in it —- that includes vitamin C. That may sound great and promising for people who have awful diets but how about for those who are living a pretty healthy lifestyle? Are they in danger in getting too much of these vital vitamins and nutrients?
Most doctors believe that the answer is yes — if you are taking “mega doses” of it. According to WebMD, too much Vitamin C in the body can cause nausea, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Most people are not really taking 5 tablets of a 500 mg Vitamin C supplement a day. Right? But if one takes a Vitamin C-enriched cereal in the morning, an energy bar at 10 AM, a Vitamin C-fortified pasta for lunch and a daily dose of multivitamin then he or she will most likely go over the prescribed RDA for Vitamin C. Even for vitamins and minerals, too much is not necessarily better.
Here is a table of ascorbic acid RDAs from the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements:
|Life Stage||Recommended Amount|
|Birth to 6 months||40 mg|
|Infants 7–12 months||50 mg|
|Children 1–3 years||15 mg|
|Children 4–8 years||25 mg|
|Children 9–13 years||45 mg|
|Teens 14–18 years (boys)||75 mg|
|Teens 14–18 years (girls)||65 mg|
|Adults (men)||90 mg|
|Adults (women)||75 mg|
|Pregnant teens||80 mg|
|Pregnant women||85 mg|
|Breastfeeding teens||115 mg|
|Breastfeeding women||120 mg|
(Note: If you smoke, add 35 mg to the values above to calculate your RDA)
I have to step on the other side this time because I strongly believe that vitamin C is remarkably safe even in enormously high doses. Vitamin C is water-soluble. That means your body doesn’t store or accumulate it. That’s why daily intake is highly important.
The first physician to aggressively use vitamin C to cure diseases was Frederick R. Klenner, M.D. beginning back in the early 1940’s. Dr. Klenner successfully treated all of the following with aggressive vitamin C therapy:
- Herpes Zoster (shingles)
- Herpes Simplex
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
- Bladder Infection
- Some Cancers
- Ruptured Intervertebral Disc
- High Cholesterol
- Corneal Ulcer
- Burns and secondary infection
- Heat Stroke
- Radiation Burns
- Heavy Metal Poisoning (Mercury, Lead)
- Venomous Bites (insects, snakes)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Chronic Fatigue
- Complications of Surgery.
This seems like an impossible list of vitamin C cures. At this point, you can either dismiss the subject or investigate further. Dr. Klenner chose to investigate. The result? He used massive doses of vitamin C for over forty years of family practice. He wrote dozens of medical papers about Vitamin C Benefits. (A complete list of them is in the Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C, edited by Lendon H. Smith, M.D., Life Science Press, Tacoma, WA (1988)).
It is difficult to ignore his success, but it has been done. Dr. Klenner wrote: “Some physicians would stand by and see their patient die rather teach the patient about Vitamin C Benefits and use ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) because in their finite minds it exist only as a vitamin.”
How much vitamin C is an effective therapeutic dose?
Dr. Klenner gave up to 300,000 milligrams (mg) per day. Generally, he gave 350 to 700 mg per kilogram body weight per day. That is a lot of Vitamin C. But then again, look at that list of successes. Dr. Klenner emphasizes that small amounts do not work. He said, “If you want results, use adequate ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).” (source: doctoryourself.com/)
But again, what is recommended daily amount of Vitamin C? For those who are living a pretty healthy lifestyle here is homeopathy recommended daily amount of Vitamin C to use all the Vitamin C benefits (btw: homeopathy is working remarkably for our family in so many cases)
|Life Stage||Recommended Amount|
|Birth to 12 Months||Not established|
|Children 1-3 years||400 mg|
|Children 4-8 years||650 mg|
|Children 9-13 years||1,200 mg|
|Teens 14-18 years||1,800 mg|
Our days are busy, full of tasks…probably we don’t have enough time every day to absorb as much vitamin C with foods as needed. Is there any other ways to consume vitamin C?
Most multivitamins have vitamin C. Vitamin C is also available alone as a dietary supplement or in combination with other nutrients. The vitamin C in dietary supplements is usually in the form of ascorbic acid, but some supplements have other forms, such as sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, other mineral ascorbates, and ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids. Research has not shown that any form of vitamin C is better than the other forms.
Scientifically controlled studies using vitamin C for colds show that it can reduce the severity of cold symptoms, acting as a natural antihistamine.
By giving the immune system one of the important nutrients it needs, extra vitamin C can often shorten the duration of the cold as well.
If you want to learn more about vitamin C benefits and the therapeutic uses of vitamin C, you can read:
Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C by Lendon H. Smith, M.D. – http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/198x/smith-lh-clinical_guide_1988.htm
The Healing Factor: Vitamin C Against Disease by Irwin Stone – http://vitamincfoundation.org/stone/
I also can’t wait to see the movie “That Vitamin Movie” – the movie that could change your health forever.
The movie will talk that it’s been known for 60 years that there are certain vitamins and supplements which can radically improve your health and why this is not common knowledge? Why is the evidence suppressed and ignored?
The 90 min documentary attempts to answer those questions and, for the first time ever in a movie, show you exactly HOW you can use this knowledge yourself.
The movie will be released worldwide on 1st January 2016.
You can check what is goin on here – www.thatvitaminmovie.com.
My conclusion about vitamin C benefits is
I saw the increased amount of vitamin C is good for me and my family. We are healthy this autumn and more resistant to catching cold, the kids are not bringing colds and red noses from school and kindergarten.
I really recommend that you take some more research about vitamin C doses, try a little bit bigger doses and then judge if it helps or not.