I always harp on about the importance of Vitamin C, and that everyone should take it. Usually when some of my friends or colleagues complain that they are getting sick, I ask them if they are taking Vitamin C, and they say no. I then insist that they should take it, and they get better a lot sooner, sometimes without even having to visit the doctor.
Vitamin C can do so much more for you than just help your immune system, but more about that later. First we need to quickly have a look at what Vitamin C is.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin, and probably the most well-known vitamin of them all. It is mostly found in fruit, vegetables and even in some animal products. The recommended daily allowance (US) is 50-60mg a day, and the tolerable upper intake limit is 2000mg a day. It is well known that the RDA (50-60mg a day) is too low to be of any benefit, and once you realise how this vitamin can be of benefit to you, then you can see that we need to increase our intake of Vitamin C.
Now for the surprisingly long list of benefits of Vitamin C:
- It helps your body produce collagen. Collagen is a key component in bone, cartilage, tendons, and other connective tissue. It also plays a vital part in supporting health in blood vessels. When your collagen levels decrease as you get older, your skin begins to lose elasticity and starts to sag. So more Vitamin C helps your body make more collagen, which helps your skin stay firm;
- It reduces your risk of having heart disease by protecting tissue from free radical damage, and studies have shown that it can increase life expectancy;
- It helps the nervous system function by converting certain amino acids into neurotransmitters;
- It supports your respiratory system, and can prevent diseases such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, and others;
- It lowers the risk of breast cancer, as well as cancers of the cervix, colon, rectum, esophagus, larynx, lungs, mouth, prostate, and stomach. Research has shown that the Vitamin C molecule actually destroys the cancer cells when it is absorbed;
- It helps you maintain healthy skin and glands;
- It is a great anti-oxidant, and it will help against ageing, cell and DNA damage;
- It can assist in a slight decrease in systolic blood pressure;
- It is a natural antihistamine;
- It reduces serum uric acid levels, which in short, means that it helps against gout;
- It reduces your risk of suffering a stroke.
As you can see, beyond just helping you fight off illness, Vitamin C has many many other properties and benefits.
Now, as with anything you can do or take, there are side-effects if you overdo it. Some side-effects of Vitamin C overdose include indigestion (if taken on an empty stomach), diarrhea (in very large dosages). In extremely large dosages (6000mg) you may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, flushing of the face, headaches, fatigue, and disturbed sleep.
Vitamin C aids in iron absorption, so large dosages of Vitamin C over extended periods can cause iron poisoning in individuals with iron overload disorders. Some believe that Vitamin C causes kidney stones, but there is very little medical evidence of this.
The LD50 (the dose that will kill 50% of a population) in rats is about 12 grams per kilogram of body weight when given orally, but the LD50 for humans are not yet known. Death resulting from Vitamin C overdose would basically be mechanical rather than chemical, due to the enormous amount of Vitamin C which needs to be ingested.
There is a plethora of Vitamin C food sources (a list can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_c)
I currently take 1000mg in the morning and 1000mg at night. When I feel that I am falling ill I take another 1000mg in the middle of the day. I have found that by doing this I am reducing not only the duration of the illness, but also the effects the illness and toxins have on my body.
I urge you to have a look at your Vitamin C intake. You don’t have to take 2000mg a day, but I know this: 50-60mg a day isn’t nearly enough.
Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet and/or supplements.
Sources http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_c and http://www.vitamin-supplements-store.net/vitamins/vitamin-c.html