Vitamin C - A Key Ingredient for a Healthy Life
Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that plays a vital role in a variety of biological functions. It is also known as ascorbic acid which means "without scurvy", a disease that can occur as a result of a deficiency.
What is vitamin C? Everybody knows about vitamin C, but the world's most commonly used supplement has potential beyond what most users expect.
"Pure" Vitamin C Isn't the Best Vitamin C
Back in the 1930's, Hungarian chemist Albert Szent-Györgyi was hailed as the discoverer of vitamin C. A century after the British Navy discovered that limes and lemons could prevent the dread vitamin-deficiency disease scurvy, Szent-Györgyi discovered that the compound in limes, lemons, and many other plant foods that healed scurvy was vitamin C. Only that's not all of the story.
After the announcement of the discovery, the Hungarian Nobel laureate discovered that sometimes vitamin C powder cured scurvy, and sometimes it didn't. Vitamin C apparently needed some kind of co-factor to do its work. Szent-Györgyi experimented with various kinds of supplemental foods, and he finally discovered that scurvy patients who were given goulash got over their disease. The "something" in goulash that made them well, the scientist reasoned, had to be in the paprika, so he named the co-factor vitamin P.
In the English-speaking world we call this co-factor bioflavonoids. Whole food bioflavonoids are essential for vitamin C to do its job. We can get them from our diets, or we can get them with the vitamin C in supplements, but vitamin C never does all the work of healing on its own.
Unlike other animals, the human body cannot produce its own supply of vitamin C, and so we must ensure that we get adequate amounts of this nutrient from our daily diet.
As ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin it is stored only in restricted amounts in our body's tissues. Excess amounts can be ejected from the body through our urine, and so this vitamin is rarely related with toxicity.
What Does Vitamin C Do for the Body?
The body absorbs vitamin C along with salt and sugars released from the digestion of food. Vitamin C, for the most part, does not "seep" into the body. It has to be transported with sodium or certain kinds of sugar.
When we consume very little vitamin C, a very high percentage of the vitamin C in food is absorbed into the bloodstream. When consume a lot of vitamin C, a relatively low percentage of the vitamin C in food is absorbed into the bloodstream. If you only get 100 mg of vitamin C a day, about 98 mg will get into circulation. If you take 12,000 mg of vitamin C a day, about 2,000 mg will actually be absorbed. Higher amounts of vitamin C can be taken by injection, but your digestive tract can only handle about 2,000 mg a day.
Inside the body, the adrenal glands, retina, corpus luteum (progesterone-producing tissue in pregnant women and menstruating women during the second half of their menstrual cycle), pituitary, and thymus gland all concentrate vitamin C. This means that stress hormones, vision, women's reproductive cycles, most hormones, and immunity all respond to vitamin C.
Other organs that are especially dependent on vitamin C as an antioxidant include the brain, lungs, testicles in men, thyroid, and the lining of the intestine. A key but often overlooked function of vitamin C is to regulate the absorption of countless other digested substances from food.
Still More Functions of Vitamin C
Some other important but seldom publicized functions of vitamin C in human health include:
- Helping the brain break down excess dopamine, the chemical that drives obsessive behavior.
- Helping the skin make collagen to repair itself and to prevent wrinkling.
- Helping the body make its own L-carnitine, which helps the heart and brain keep working under conditions of oxygen deprivation.
- Helping the body make the hormones that regulate blood pressure and regulate blood sugar levels.
Of course, the best known application of vitamin C is fighting colds and flu. What vitamin C does realy isn't to kill the virus, but rather to stop the immune system from over-reacting to it. Taking vitamin C slows down the production of histamine that otherwise would literally explode inside cells lining the nose and throat, killing the cell to get rid of the virus by making mucus.
If you have a high metabolism, you probably don't need as much vitamin C. But if you are already run down before you catch a cold, stopping inflammation and mucus formation is probably exactly what you need in the first 24 to 48 hours of the infection. Vitamin C also helps fight allergies.
The Benefits of Vitamin C
- A Collagen Maker
Ascorbic acid plays a crucial role in the formation of collagen, which is the primary substance that holds the body together by binding the cells to form tissues. It is present in every part of our body, including our bones, skin, tendons, cartilage, blood vessels, and teeth.
The disease called scurvy that can arise from a deficiency of this vitamin is caused by breakdown of the collagen tissue throughout the body, which causes blood vessels to weaken and leak, bones and connective tissues to weaken and causes the skin to sag.
- A Potent Antioxidant
This vitamin is an important antioxidant that protects our bodies from the free radicals that damage the cells and weaken the immune system and are the major cause of aging and disease.
Ascorbic acid also works in conjunction with vitamin E and the enzyme glutathione peroxidase to minimize the oxidative damage to DNA and other molecules.
It also helps to prevent heart attacks since the bad cholesterol, called LDL, becomes harmful only when damaged by free radicals.
- Helps in the treatment of anemia, as it helps in the absorption of iron.
- Helps delay or prevent the formation of cataracts, as research indicates that low vitamin C levels are associated with an increased risk of cataracts.
- Protects against many forms of cancer.
- Prevents the accumulation of the toxic mineral lead.
- Can be used in the prevention and treatment of the common cold.
Other Benefits of Vitamin C
Why Do We Need Vitamin C Supplements?
Or do we need vitamin C supplements? For fighting cancer, it's really necessary to get vitamin C by intravenous (IV) infusion, or you just don't get enough. And for day to day function, it's not that hard to get enough vitamin C if you eat your recommended nine servings of fruit and vegetables every day. For the rest of us, at least a little supplemental vitamin C won't hurt. You just don't need very high doses. A maintenance dose of up to 500 mg a day, but no more, is best.
Are There People Who Should Not Take Vitamin C Supplements?
Some people should not take vitamin C supplements. If you have the iron overload disease called hereditary hemochromatosis, taking vitamin C will cause your gut to absorb too much iron from food. If are pregnant, then it's important to take vitamin C with bioflavonoids and vitamin K for the stability of the womb. And if you feel you need more than 2,000 mg of vitamin C a day for any reason, be aware that stomach upset is a real possibility. Otherwise, however, vitamin C is safe and remarkably cost effective insurance against vitamin deficiency.
Where Can I Find Vitamin C?
This vitamin is plentiful in many foods. Some of the best sources include: Citrus fruits such as oranges, limes, grapefruit, tangerines, and lemons. Green and leafy vegetables, including tomatoes, green peppers, cauliflower, potatoes and peas.
Be aware, however, that ascorbic acid is easily destroyed by heat, water, air, cooking, light and smoking.
What Causes a Deficiency of Vitamin C?
Why is it becoming more and more difficult to obtain sufficient amounts of vitamin C through diet alone? Because the nutrient content of fruits and veggies is decreasing with every passing day due to modern farming methods which deplete the soil. Other factors, including the excessive processing and refining of foods, certain storage and cooking methods, all result in a serious reduction in the nutritional quality of our food sources.
The Symptoms of a Vitamin C Deficiency
A serious deficiency of vitamin C leads to scurvy. Poor wound healing, bleeding gums, and easy bruising are the major symptoms of this condition and, if untreated, it can eventually lead to death.
But though most of us consume enough of this vitamin to avoid this disease, our bodies frequently do not have enough to allow our bodies to function optimally, which causes various diseases in the long term.
Since vitamin C plays an important role in preventing many illnesses, a lack of this vitamin is associated with the development of such diseases as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and some infectious diseases.
What's the Value of Buffered Vitamin C?
About 15 years ago, some German researchers made an astonishing discovery about vitamin C. Searching for the "female Viagra," researchers found that people under 30 (who are, as we all know, usually quite interested in sex) who for various reasons had lost their sex drives could recover sexual interest and sexual performance by taking vitamin C. The only kind of vitamin C that had this effect, however, was buffered vitamin C.
Buffered vitamin C is a government-approved treatment for sexual dysfunction in both men and women in Germany, Austria, and Hungary. It has never caught on in the USA, Canada, Britain, or Australia, because drug companies want to keep their markets open for much more expensive products.
What is Buffered Vitamin C?
First of all, it helps to understand what buffered vitamin C is not. Buffered vitamin C is not a "natural" vitamin C like rose hip powder or acerola. These products offer their own special benefits by providing bioflavonoids that balance the effects of vitamin C, but you can get your bioflavonoids from food by eating vegetables, berries, and fruit every day, not just by taking the natural vitamin C.
Buffered vitamin is also not Ester-C. This is a very useful product that uses a chemical product to make a form of vitamin C that is very quickly absorbed. This is a very useful product for fighting the very first signs of infection, but it is not buffered vitamin C.
Buffered vitamin C combines vitamin C with essential minerals. Usually a buffered vitamin C product includes vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other trace minerals. The advantage of combining vitamin with these alkalizing minerals is that you don't get stomach upset even if you take large amounts of vitamin C to support specific kinds of healing. And the only application of buffered vitamin C is not helping young people recover their sex drives.
Who Needs Buffered Vitamin C?
If you are fighting off the flu, buffered vitamin C makes sure your body has a constant supply of vitamin C without stomach upset or the added calories of orange juice. Ester-C actually is more effective for the first hour or two you have an infection, but after that first two hours you are better off taking buffered vitamin C.
Buffered vitamin C is the only form of C to take if you have peptic ulcers, heartburn, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), or a sensitive stomach. And buffered vitamin C is best if you need to take a calcium supplement for healthy bones.
The best kind of vitamin C to keep on hand for day-to-day nutritional supplementation is buffered vitamin C. Along with five or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day, buffered C can support your health, vitality, sensuality, and normal weight.
What is Lyo-Spheric Vitamin C?
There is no tool of nutritional healing that is better known than vitamin C. This nutrient is essential for the body to make the collagen that forms the framework for skin, muscles, vital organs, and bone. It plays a role in regulating blood pressure, blood sugar, and appetite.
In lower doses, it fights allergies and asthma. In higher doses, it fights infections and cancer. The problem, however, is that getting higher doses of vitamin C when you need them used to require taking lots and lots vitamin C capsules, so many that your digestive tract literally can't break them all down. That's where lyo-spheric vitamin C is the innovation you need.
Why You Need Lyo-Spheric Vitamin C
Vitamin C capsules combine the vitamin with a binding agent, usually magnesium stearate. This mineral has a consistency a little like talcum powder, which makes it much easier for high-speed machines to make millions of capsules in a quick daily run. The magnesium stearate isn't all that good for your body.
Many forms of magnesium, like of Milk of Magnesia, cause diarrhea. If you have diarrhea, your body is not going to absorb vitamins! And the drying agents and waxes on the pill to keep the vitamin C inside from reacting to the atmosphere are not good for your body, either.
Some companies tried making a liquid vitamin C stored in a bottle. The very first dose of liquid vitamin C will be full strength. But the air in the bottle after your open it contaminated the vitamin C in the liquid.
Lyo-Spheric Vitamin C is a Better Way
Lyo-Spheric Vitamin C is a packaged powder you add to a beverage. Since it's a dry product sealed in a package, the full vitamin potency is just waiting for your use. And since you add it to a beverage, your digestive tract does not have to deal with all the magnesium stearate, wax, and coloring agents needed to make capsules.
Lyo-spheric vitamin C is a liposome form of vitamin C that your body can absorb easily and keep in circulation, but it's also a drinkable form of vitamin C that passes into your lower digestive tract quickly. There are no binders, fillers, dyes, gelatins, flavorings, or sugar. There are no animal products used to make capsules, because there are no capsules!
There is just a combination of a substance called phosphatidylcholine with vitamin C. The addition of phosphatidylcholine is very important. This compound is the building block for healthy cell membranes.
Sick cells that have been damaged by infection, or by free radicals released during the process of inflammation, grab the phosphatidylcholine they need to repair themselves with the lyo-spheric vitamin C flows by them in the bloodstream. They get the "cement" they need to rebuild their defenses along with vitamin C for antioxidant health.
If you take vitamin C for your heart, for your joints, or just to make sure you don't catch colds and flu, lyo-sphere vitamin C is the best form of vitamin C for you. Every packet gives you a combination of not just one but two 1,000-mg doses of the two nutrients your body needs most for ongoing antioxidant protection.
What Is Liposomal Vitamin C?
For over 30 years leading medical researchers, including Nobel laureate Linus Pauling, have made numerous claims about the healing properties of vitamin C. Vitamin C has been shown to fight infection and even put cancer into remission - but none of the most promising claims for vitamin C are easy to prove.
The problem, it turns out, is that all kinds of vitamin C are not equally absorbed. Intravenous vitamin C and liposomal vitamin C are vastly superior to everyday vitamin C supplements.
The Power of Intravenous Vitamin C
Most of us think of vitamin C as an antioxidant. Taken in low doses, it is. When high-dose vitamin C is used to treat cancer, however, it does its work by acting as a pro-oxidant, actually increasing the action of free radicals against cancer cells.
To get the very high concentrations of vitamin C needed to fight cancer, it's necessary to bypass the digestive tract. Intravenous vitamin C is prepared by a pharmacy and a health professional with the training to administer and monitor vitamin C, which usually must be ordered by a doctor, to give the equivalent of a 10,000 mg dose every day.
When vitamin C is administered through the veins, cancer can be treated. The US FDA is not, by the way, planning to restrict this therapy. Dozens of Internet sites erroneously reported that the FDA was making the treatment illegal when actually the problem was a single pharmacy that had not taken steps to prevent contamination of its product with tap water - not something you really want to drip into your veins. Intravenous vitamin C is a potent tool for powerful healing. But what if you don't need to treat cancer?
The Power of Liposomal Vitamin C
Sometimes you need a quick delivery of vitamin C to kill an infection, but you don't need a huge dose of vitamin C to fight an infection. And probably you don't want to give yourself an IV drip.
That's the time liposomal vitamin C is best. In fact, any time you want to take a vitamin C supplement, the liposomal form is best.
Liposomal vitamin C is a chemical combination of vitamin C and lecithin. Made by shaking vitamin C and lecithin with the help of ultrasound, liposomal vitamin C is converted into a form that not only dissolves in the fluids in your stomach, it also mixes with the healthy fats released by digestion in your small intestine.
Liposomal vitamin C "catches a ride" with healthy fats and is more completely and quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Liposomal vitamin C stays in your body longer and accumulates on the outside of cells to protect them against infection. Regular vitamin C is excreted in just a few hours and it's hard for your body to accumulate enough. But you can take liposomal vitamin C in smaller doses as an antioxidant for fighting the effects of cholesterol or joint health, or in larger doses for treating infections and supporting recovery from cancer.
How to Get Your Liposomal Vitamin C
There are recipes on the Internet for making liposomal vitamin C at home. There is a very special reason that you should not make your own. Making a liquid liposomal vitamin C creates a product that reacts with the air.
Just the tiny amount of air in the top of your bottle with make the liposomal vitamin C you make go bad in hours. And do you really have an hour or more to work with your liposomal vitamin C ingredients and ultrasound machine every time you need to take liposomal vitamin C?
It's always best to buy liposomal vitamin C in capsules. The product keeps better and longer if the bottle is not exposed to heat or light. You should not use liposomal vitamin C or any antioxidant past its expiration date. But encapsulated liposomal vitamin C is the most powerful antioxidant you can take for supporting good health.
Choosing Vitamin C Supplements Wisely
Adding ascorbic acid as a supplement to your daily diet seems is a sensible decision due to the decreased nutrient quality of the food we consume. Here are some tips and precautions to help you choose the right vitamin C supplement for you.
The Right Dosage
The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for this vitamin is 60mg but many health experts recommend a 500 mg dose, especially if you are at risk of a specific health condition. If you want to promote your general health with a multi-vitamin or nutritional supplement product, 40 to 60 mg of ascorbic acid would be a reasonable amount in the formula.
- Synergy with Other Nutrients
Vitamin C is more effective if the supplement also contains bioflavonoids, hesperidin, rutin , calcium and magnesium. Ascorbic acid also increases the effectiveness of vitamin E, which is another antioxidant vitamin.
Therefore, choosing a scientifically formulated nutritional supplement that contains the appropriate amount of ascorbic acid along with other essential nutrients can increase the health benefits of all the nutrients it contains.
- Finding the Right Manufacturer
Dietary supplements are not regulated strictly in the U.S. It is not a rare occasion where supplements don't contain the ingredients that they claim to have on the label or the products can include harmful substances for your health.
Therefore, ensuring the quality and purity of a nutritional supplement and choosing the right manufacturer is utmost importance, not only to get any benefits from health supplements but also not to give any harm to your body.
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Nagyova A, Krajcovicova-Kudlackova M, Horska A, et al. Lipid peroxidation in men after dietary supplementation with a mixture of antioxidant nutrients. Bratisl Lek Listy. 2004;105(7-8):277-80.
Salmaso S, Pappalardo JS, Sawant RR, Musacchio T, Rockwell K, Caliceti P, Torchilin VP. Targeting glioma cells in vitro with ascorbate-conjugated pharmaceutical nanocarriers. Bioconjug Chem. 2009 Dec;20(12):2348-55.
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