Vitamin C

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General Description:

  • water-soluble
  • most vitamin C is made from corn where corn is chemically converted to sugar (d-glucose) and crystallized and then the chemical is converted to pure, synthetic ascorbic acid
  • the best rosehip powder contains only a few milligrams of vitamin C/ounce and thus a 1000 mg. pill made of rosehip powder would be the size of a baseball
  • acerola powder, made from the acerola cherries, is the most expensive and most common source of natural vitamin C
  • acerola powder contains approximately 200 mg of natural vitamin C/gram of powder

Actions:

  • preventing and alleviating colds, but requires B6, B12, zinc, folic acid, and choline to do so
  • cancer prevention
  • absorption of iron
  • fighting infection – the vitamin C concentration in neutrophils and macrophages is approximately 150 times the plasma C concentration
  • essential for the hydroxylation of the amino acids proline and lysine necessary for the formation of collagen, a substance essential to the health of body tissues
  • formation of the brain chemicals norepinephrine and serotonin
  • metabolism of folate
  • metabolism of protein
  • wound healing
  • daily excretion of this water-soluble vitamin is a normal function that helps to protect the urinary tract
  • essential for the proper functioning of adrenal and thyroid glands
  • specific protector against the toxic effects of cadmium
  • specific against fever, all sorts of infections, and GI disorders

Deficiency:

  • early signs are loss of appetite, irritability, and weight loss
  • tooth decay, soft gums (pyorrhea), anemia, and slow healing of sores and wounds
  • premature aging
  • thyroid insufficiency
  • as deficiency progresses there is pain on movement and tenderness in the limbs, and bleeding in the tissues and certain types of anemia may follow
  • scurvy, noted by tissue disintegration, is the final stage of inadequate vitamin C intake
  • if you were to remove all the vitamin C from your diet, within 4 weeks the blood vitamin C level would equal zero, and in another 12 weeks the symptoms of scurvy would start

Interactions and Toxicity:

  • high doses of vitamin C can interfere with anti clotting drugs, cause kidney stones, and cause rebound scurvy when dosage is stopped
  • vitamin C may enhance the toxicity of certain metals, diminish your ability to adjust rapidly to changes in altitude, lower fertility, and accelerate the loss of calcium and other minerals from the bones due to it’s acidic nature
  • vitamin C breaks down to oxalic acid in the body
  • oxalic acid is often found in kidney stones which have formed due to high amounts of oxalic acid in the urine
  • it should be noted that although some people have a greater tendency to excrete oxalic acid in the urine that, regardless of one’s tendency to turn vitamin C into oxalate, major increases in urine oxalic levels occurred only at very high doses if viamin C (starting at 4000 mg./day)
  • in other words, those that are at a higher risk of kidney stones are there with or without vitamin C supplementation
  • in men high doses of vitamin C may push copper levels too low
  • people who already have serious kidney disease or kidney failure should avoid large doses of vitamin C
  • the effect of vitamin C on copper nutrition in females may differ because a woman’s estrogen hormones affect copper nutrition
  • symptoms of iron overload: odd bronze pigment or discoloration of the skin, cirrhosis of the liver, disease of the heart muscle, folic acid deficiency, leukemia, polycynthemia (an increase in the total cell mass of the blood), and thalassemia
  • rebound scurvy may occur after withdrawing from large doses of vitamin C because the body becomes dependent on the high intake of vitamin C
  • daily chewing of vitamin C tablets can lead to severe dental erosion because they are approximately three times more acidic than saliva
  • vitamin C has been shown to damage vitamin B12 but only large doses would put a healthy person, consuming enough B12, at risk of deficiency
  • vitamin C enhances iron absorption which is important for two reasons: 1) the body only absorbs a small fraction of the iron taken in and 2) some people take in too little iron
  • people with hemochromatosis, or simply iron overload, need to avoid both iron and vitamin C supplements
  • vitamin C seems to help with the mucus build-up of colds and so it may also decrease the cervical mucus needed for conception
  • pregnancy is not a good time to experiment with high doses of vitamin C
  • vitamin C reduces the effectiveness of the anti clotting drug warfarin, amphetamines and tricyclic antidepressants
  • drugs that increase the body’s need for vitamin C include: barbiturates, birth control pills, cortisone’s, L-dopa, phenacetin, salicyclates, sulfonamides and tetracycline
  • large doses of aspirin cause more vitamin C to be excreted
  • overdosing on vitamin C will cause urgent diarrhea in anyone

Sources:

  • rosehips, citrus fruits, black currants, strawberries, persimmons, guavas, acerola cherries, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, turnip greens, and green bell peppers

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