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WHAT IS VITAMIN C?
Vitamin C is essential to the body and must be obtained through diet or supplementation. Some of the foods that contain Vitamin C are fruits and vegetables such as red peppers, broccoli, cranberries, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries and citrus fruits. Cigarette smoking causes a significant depletion of Vitamin C, and alcohol, antidepressants, analgesics, anticoagulants, steroids and contraceptives may also reduce Vitamin C levels. Those in poor health or under physical or emotional stress require higher doses of Vitamin C. Since it is a water soluable antioxidant, it can reach and protect the watery (or blood) portions of the cells, and what is not utilized will be excreted in the urine. Vitamin C works with Vitamin E, Co-Q 10, Alpha Lipoic Acid and Glutathione enhancing their effects and producing an antioxidant network with powerful protection against free radical damage. Some symptoms of Vitamin C deficiencies are: bleeding and spongy gums, bruises, poor wound healing, rough skin, painful joints, weakness and listlessness. Lack of this essential vitamin can lead to Scurvy, although this is currently rare in Western cultures.
Vitamin C, as a water soluable molecule, can easily penetrate the inner parts of the cells to provide antioxidant protection, whereas other antioxidants protect only the cell membranes. It protects against nitrosamines, which are found in foods, such as bacon and other processed and smoked foods. Nitrosamines are cancer-causing chemicals, which are responsible for mouth, stomach and colon cancers. Since Vitamin C also protects sperm from free radical damage, supplementation is advised for men who are trying to conceive children. Along with Vitamin E, Co-Q 10, Alpha Lipoic Acid, and Glutathione, Vitamin C works synergistically to produce a powerful defensive system and "disarm" free radicals from attacking healthy tissue. When combined they enhance and strengthen antioxidant effects, including protection against UV radiation, which is the major factor in the aging of skin.
Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production, which is essential for ligament formation and healthy joints. It helps metabolize Lysine and Proline in the formation of this connective tissue. It is also necessary for the formation of blood vessels and is the protein, which forms the connective tissue in skin.
Vitamin C helps maintain strong capillaries and prevents the oxidation of lipoproteins, helping to lower cholesterol levels. A study at UCLA showed that men who took 300 mg. per day had a lower risk of heart disease than those taking only 49 mg. daily. In another study in 1997 at the U. of Maryland and reported in the N.E. Journal of Med., volunteers were given 1000 mg. of Vitamin C plus 800 IU of Vitamin E prior to a high-fat meal. Others were given high-fat meals without supplementation, while still others ate a low fat meal. High fat impairs endothelial cells from functioning properly, disrupting proper blood flow, which is an early sign of heart disease. Those who were pretreated with the vitamins had no negative blood flow impairment, as well as those on a low fat meal; however those without Vitamin C and E who ate a high-fat meal without this supplementation, measured negative blood flow for up to 4 hours.
This vitamin has antibacterial and antiviral properties and has been associated with suppressing viral genes including the rhinovirus, which causes colds. Studies have noted decreases in bronchitis, tonsillitis and other common espiratory infections in schoolchildren who have been supplemented with Vitamin C. Antioxidant expert, Lester Packer, Ph.D., Berkley, theorizes that Vitamin C antioxidant properties may prevent viruses from activating, and the collagen production capabilities of the vitamin may build protective barriers preventing the viruses from entering the cells.
OTHER BENEFITS OF VITAMIN C
• Wound healing and prevention of cataract formation.
• For diabetics, who tend to be deficient in vitamin C and more prone to heart disease. However those on medications such as chlorpropamide (Diabinese) should not take vitamin C, since it may interfere with the absorption of this drug.
• Gallbladder disease. Vitamin C may help prevent gallbladder disease as reported by Dr. J. Simon, U. of Cal., S.F., April 2000, Archives of Internal Medicine. It was noted that since Vitamin C regulates the conversion of cholesterol into bile acids, low levels of Vitamin C may be a risk for human gallbladder disease.
• Neurological health. Vitamin C is necessary for the metabolism of tyrosine, phenylalanine and tryptophan into neurotransmitters.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before starting any exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using these or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.