Benefits of Vitamin C
If you do not already do so, adding Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) into your life is possibly the simplest and single most effective change you can make for your overall health and wellbeing – the benefits of Vitamin C are just so far reaching.
In our recent articles following the theme of positive intentional living, we have highlighted some of the things we take for granted that could be improved upon by making simple changes. Today, in the first part of a two part article we are discussing a really positive thing you can do to increase your health, but which is too often overlooked as being too simple. Often the simplest things are the best!
Why is Vitamin C So Important?
The main antioxidant benefits of Vitamin C are that it can reduce inflammation and boost your immunity. It does this by donating an electron to unstable molecules that are missing an electron. These molecules are known as free radicals and are produced in the body as a result of oxidative stress that causes damage and instability in cells throughout our systems.
Being unstable, ie not in balance due to missing an electron, these free radicals take electrons from neighbouring molecules in order to restore their own balance. But in doing this, they turn the molecule that they have scavenged an electron from into a free radical, and the chain reaction continues. Vitamin C can stop this carnage by neutralising the free radicals, but you need to have enough of it in your system
Short Life Span in our Bodies
Whilst the benefits of Vitamin C are great, one of the drawbacks is that being a water soluble vitamin, it is quickly excreted from the body and needs to be replenished on a daily basis. The half-life of Vitamin C in the body, meaning how long it takes for half of the Vitamin to be used up or excreted is only a few hours. This is why, if using it to fight a cold, flu or something more serious, it is best to take doses every hour throughout the day.
When taking it for maintenance purposes, and not during an acute health issue, splitting your supplementation into two doses (morning and late afternoon) is fine.
Specific Benefits of Vitamin C
- Helps immune system, joints and arteries to heal and function properly.
- White blood cells (immune cells) need Vitamin C to survive attacks from pathogens and free radicals.
- Plays important role as an anti-histamine and reduces inflammation associated with colds, flu, fevers and allergies.
- Involved in the production of collagen, a major constituent in ligaments, tendons, bones, discs and skin.
- High dose Vitamin C improves the healing process throughout the body such as burns, cuts, sprains and broken bones.
- Also extremely important for eye health.
- Safe and effective for cancer patients in the correct doses..
- Reduces heart disease by protecting the arterial walls.
- Improves lung function and oxygenation throughout the body.
- It is an anti-oxidant when taken orally.
- It is a pro-oxidant when given intravenously and in this form acts like a chemotherapy agent in the treatment of cancer.
- Improves blood sugar stability which is very important to combat heart disease and diabetes by reducing Advanced Glycation End prodcuts caused by excess glucose in our systems.
As listed above, the benefits of Vitamin C taken orally are great but the problem with this method is that the absorption rate can be as low as 20%. This means that when you take a 1000 mg tablet/capsule only 200 mg is being absorbed into your system. The main reason for this is that there are limited receptor sites in the gut for Vitamin C and when these are occupied any excess Vitamin C passes through us. This is why people can have a “Vit C flush” (diarrhoea) when taking higher doses around 7,000 mgs.
The other reason it is poorly absorbed is that Vitamin C is water-soluble but the cells that it tries to get inside have fatty acid membranes. Oil and water do not mix well.
Intravenous Vitamin C can be very beneficial at getting a much larger amount into the blood stream where it acts as a pro-oxidant producing hydrogen peroxide and going after cancer cells. But whilst there might be high concentrations in the blood stream, it still has the same problem of entering the fatty membrane of cells in the blood.
Enter Liposomal Vitamin C
The benefits of Vitamin C in liposomal form is that because it is encapsulated in a lipid membrane (ie a fatty acid membrane) it is much like the cells in the body and so it is much easier for it to connect with and deliver nutrients to fatty membrane cells throughout the body. It does this by being processed in the liver and passing into the blood stream.
More next time ….(To be continued)
We take Vitamin C every day, Edith and Tim at CoolWellbeing Foundation
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