The benefits of Vitamin C are so many. It is the most popular single vitamin and antioxidant. Besides taking it to treat colds, people pop vitamin C capsules hoping that it will cure numerous ailments. There is now scientific evidence to support some of that hope.
Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) is a vitamin only because it is a nutrient essential for life that is not manufactured in the body and must be obtained from outside sources. Every living thing on this planet except primates (including man) guinea pigs and swine produce their own Vitamin C internally, and do not require it in their diet, and do not suffer from a host of diseases and maladies caused by Vitamin C deficiencies as we do.
Vitamin C is manufactured internally from glucose by a four-step process, each requiring a specific enzyme. Humans have the first three enzymes but the fourth is damaged and non functional apparently from a genetic mutation that occurred in our evolutionary history.
Scientifically controlled studies using vitamin C for colds show that it can reduce the severity of cold symptoms, acting as a natural antihistamine.
Vitamin C may be useful for allergy control for the same reason: It reduces histamine levels
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. However, studies have been unable to prove that mega doses of the vitamin can actually prevent the common cold. I have however, anecdotal evidence that dosing to bowel tolerance can in fact shorten the duration of colds. I have taken myself as well, recommended to several of my clients to take approximately 1000mg of buffered vitamin c powder every hour until diarrhea occurs. This is what I mean by "bowel tolerance". The only negative side effect of high doses of C is in fact diarrhea.
To prevent colds, make sure your immune system is optimized with Vitamin A!
Vitamin C makes the headlines when it comes to cancer prevention. Its antioxidant properties protect cells and their DNA from damage and mutation. It supports the body's immune system, the first line of defense against cancer, and prevents certain cancer-causing compounds from forming in the body. This I believe one of the largest benefits of Vitamin C.
As an antioxidant, benefits of vitamin C help to prevent cataracts -- the clouding of the lens of the eye that can lead to blindness in older adults. The lens needs a lot of vitamin C to counteract all the free radicals that form as a result of sunlight on the eye. Vitamin C is concentrated in the lens. When there's plenty of this vitamin floating through your system, it's easy for the body to pull it out of your blood and put it into the lens, protecting it from damage. It's possible that 1,000 mg per day of vitamin C might stop cataracts in their tracks and possibly improve vision.
As with the other antioxidants, vitamin C helps to prevent heart disease by preventing free radicals from damaging artery walls, which could lead to plaque formation. This nutrient also keeps cholesterol in the bloodstream from oxidizing, another early step in the progression towards heart disease and stroke.
Vitamin C may help people who have marginal vitamin C status to obtain favorable blood cholesterol levels. High blood pressure may also improve in the presence of this wonder vitamin. All these factors combined make vitamin C an inexpensive and easy way to lower one's risk of heart disease and strokes.
Asthmatics tend to have higher needs for vitamin C because of its antioxidant function in the lungs and airways. Doses of 1,000 to 2,000 mg per day improve asthmatic symptoms and lessen the body's production of histamine, which contributes to inflammation.
People with diabetes can benefit from extra vitamin C, too. This
nutrient can help regulate blood sugar levels. Since insulin helps
vitamin C, as well as glucose, get into cells, people with diabetes may
not have enough vitamin C inside many of their cells.
Symptoms of mild vitamin C deficiency include ecchymoses (large areas of bleeding into the skin), corkscrew hairs, and the formation of petechiae (small pinpoint hemorrhages in the skin) due to increased capillary fragility. These symptoms can be explained by weaken collagen fibrils. Severe deficiency results in scurvy.
Scurvy itself is associated with decreased wound healing, osteoporosis, hemorrhaging, bleeding into the skin anemia, and bleeding gums with loosened teeth (gingivitis).
A child with scurvy may
prefer to lie on his/her back with legs and arms layed out in the so called "frog position'' because of pain in joints. The osteoporosis results
from the inability to maintain organic matrix of the bone followed by
demineralization. The anemia results from the extensive hemorrhaging
coupled with defects in iron absorption and folate activation. This is a perfect example of the intricate symbiotic relationship of our nutrients.
Many fruits and vegetables provide benefits of Vitamin C. While the proper daily dosage varies from 40 to 120 milligrams of the nutrient per day depending on an individual’s health, age, and metabolism – some recommendations may even be as high as 1,000 mg for the healthy person.
The foods richest in the nutrient that supply 10 percent or more of the recommended daily dosage and include:
Those in bold are those that are conducive to a controlled carbohydrate program:
The following while contain Vitamin C, do not contain the higher amounts of Vitamin C as the previous foods list above.
Proper care during storage is important to maintain freshness which dictates nutrient values of foods. For example, storing a cut cucumber in the refrigerator for 24 hours can reduce the Benefits of Vitamin C content by as much as 50%.