Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is required for at least 300 metabolic functions within the body. It is an electron donor, and a potent water-soluble antioxidant.
One of its most common roles in health is its role in immune system support, by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system. It also supports epithelial barrier function against pathogens and is an effective antioxidant, protecting the body from oxidative stress.
Its antioxidant status lends it clinical use for conditions such as sepsis and trauma where oxidative stress has occurred. In these instances, vitamin C is usually administrated intravenously. Furthermore, in cancer, studies have shown that vitamin C targets many of the mechanisms that cancer cells utilize for their survival and growth. It is therefore commonly used in natural approaches to cancer care and prevention protocols.
Vitamin C supports the cardiovascular system through a few different mechanisms. One being by inhibiting oxidation of LDL-protein, thereby reducing atherosclerosis. Supplementation has also shown improvements in lipid profiles, arterial stiffness, and endothelial function. In some cases, variable heart disease risks have appeared dependant on plasma vitamin C concentration, even within the normal range.
Another benefit of vitamin C is its support with adrenal production of cortisol. During times of stress, we release cortisol from our adrenals and if this process becomes chronic it can result in feelings of fatigue. Intravenous vitamin C has been shown to fortify the endogenous activities of both cortisol and testosterone – both hormones involved in stress. Therefore, it is a useful supplement to consider for those who are experiencing stress.
Vitamin C supplementation aids in wound healing, it is needed in the inflammatory phase as it is required for neutrophil apoptosis and clearance. It also contributes towards synthesis, maturation, secretion and degradation of collagen, which makes it a popular choice for anti-ageing regimes and products. Collagen is also an important protein for healthy joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Supplementing with vitamin C accelerates bone healing and studies have shown it also significantly increases in type I collagen fibers and scar tissue formation and reduce oxidative stress parameters compared with control groups.
Vitamin C is needed for nonheme iron absorption, which is crucial for people on vegetarian or vegan diets. It is a powerful enhancer of absorption here and can reverse the inhibiting effects of calcium and tannins from tea. Pairing nonheme iron foods (such as spinach and other greens) with vitamin C rich foods has a crucial role in good health for diets with restricted heme iron (red meat) sources.
The need for Vitamin C increases with smoking, alcohol, insulin resistance and many medications including the oral contraceptive pill. We also cannot manufacture it in the body so it must come from external sources such as food and supplements.
Common deficiency signs include bleeding gums during brushing, susceptibility to infection, joint pain, lack of energy, poor digestion and easy bruising.
Food sources of vitamin C are citrus fruit, kiwis, green vegetables, peppers, broccoli, red cabbage, strawberries, papaya and mango. Herbs and spices which contain Vitamin C are thyme, coriander, parsley, saffron and cloves.
Scarring , Stress , Adrenal Fatigue , Collagen Production , Pain , Immunity , Colds , Flu , Inflammation , Acne Marks , Mouth Ulcers , Chest Infection , Bronchitis , Glandular Fever , Chronic Fatigue , Viral Infection , Cough , Gum Health , Energy , Exhaustion , Fatigue , Age spots , Sports Injuries
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