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VITAMIN C: THE “C’s” HAVE IT
- Water-soluble vitamin C provides a support of everything from cancer prevention and the cardiovascular system to collagen production and common cold management.
- A powerful anti-oxidant, vitamin C supports a strong immune system by staving off free radicals that can damage DNA and accelerate illness.
- Vitamin C can primarily be found in citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables as part of a nutritionally balanced diet.
A vitamin multitasker
Anyone researching the benefits of vitamin C would no doubt conclude that the “C” stands for “comprehensive.” A water-soluble vitamin and formidable antioxidant, this nutritional powerhouse deftly supports everything from heart health and cancer prevention to eye health and wound healing. All while obtained from a well-balanced diet replete with fresh fruits and vegetables, because the body can’t make vitamin C itself. It has to derive all that it needs for optimal functionality from foods and dietary supplements.
According to the National Institutes of Health, for men and women age 19 and up, the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) is 90 mg and 75 mg, respectively – a level that should be easy to attain, and maintain, through a nutritionally sound diet and the judicious addition of dietary supplements as needed.
Cancer, colds, collagen and the cardiovascular system
Charged with a myriad of critical bodily functions, some of vitamin C’s most pivotal supporting roles coincide with medical conditions starting with the same letter of the alphabet. Let’s start with cancer. Some experts purport that consuming a vitamin C-rich diet of fresh fruits and vegetables may support your efforts to decrease the risk of breast, colon, lung and skin cancers.
Those already diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy may also get support from vitamin C administered intravenously – an effective way for the body to receive this nutrient in much higher dosages than can be tolerated via the mouth. Not only is IV therapy a highly efficient delivery method, it also allows the vitamin C to be enriched with minerals and other vitamins and nutrients. Because it is such a specialized treatment protocol, IV therapy is best administered by a trained holistic specialist like Dr. Sergey Kalitenko.
Vitamin C’s contribution to support of your fight with the common cold has mixed reviews. While many people view it as a go-to remedy, vitamin C may only be able to support your efforts to reduce cold symptoms and shorten its duration for those who regularly take supplements. Suddenly popping vitamin C after a cold has begun may have little to no support.
In the area of collagen, vitamin C is a clear winner. This water-soluble nutrient supports the body make collagen, a protein that in turn helps form and regenerate skin, tendons, cartilage, ligaments, blood vessels and connective tissue. Speaking of skin, vitamin C also supports your efforts to decreases the appearance of wrinkles, facilitates burn and wound healing, supports your efforts to protect the skin against ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, and supports your efforts to mitigates the effects of sun damage.
The last – but by no means the least – “C” is vitamin C’s support of the cardiovascular system. Along with supporting balancing blood pressure, some studies suggest that vitamin C may support your efforts to help keep arteries flexible and neutralize the effect of LDL cholesterol, which can then decrease the rate of atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in blood vessels) that can lead to stroke, heart attack or peripheral artery disease.
But that’s not all
In addition to the “four C’s,” vitamin C can also support your efforts to protect the eyes against developing macular degeneration, address allergy-related conditions like asthma and eczema, decrease blood pressure for those with diabetes, and prevent pre-eclampsia for high-risk women. As a powerful anti-oxidant, vitamin C also supports the immune system and supports your efforts to stave off free radicals that can damage DNA, contribute to the aging process, or promote illness, infection or disease.
Best sources of vitamin C
Vitamin C can be found in a wide variety of natural and fortified food sources, including (in alphabetical order):
- Citrus fruits (grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, limes and oranges)
- Dark leafy greens, including kale, spinach and turnip greens
- Fortified breads, cereals and grains
- Melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon)
- Peppers, particularly red peppers
Since the body can only hold and use about 200 to 250 mg a day (any excess is eliminated through urine), vitamin C is typically regarded as relatively safe in the medical community provided that given under doctor’s supervision. While most people should be able to get what they need from a variety of citrus fruits and leafy vegetables, supplementation may be advised for those with specific medical conditions or dietary insufficiencies. Available in tablet, capsule or chewable form in dosages ranging from 25 to 1,000 mg, vitamin C supplements should be taken two to three times per day with meals. This protocol, like all supplementation, should be thoroughly discussed with your physician or a skilled holistic practitioner prior to implementation.
What’s the bottom line?
The “C’s” have it when it comes to optimizing health and well-being. Vitamin C is a nutrient powerhouse that seamlessly manages everything from cancer and the cardiovascular system to collage production and a healthy immune system. Gleaned primarily from a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, vitamin C can also be obtained through supplementation under the skillful eye of a medical professional or skilled holistic practitioner. Keep in mind that not everybody can take vitamin C. Consult your doctor before making any health decisions.