Vitamin C is the most widely taken nutritional supplement on the market and is available in a variety of forms, including tablets, drink mixes, crystals in capsules or bulk powdered crystals. Vitamin C is present in mother’s milk and, in lower amounts, in raw cow’s milk, with pasteurized milk containing only trace amounts. This vitamin is most present in the liver and least present in the muscle but needed through out the body.
Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen, an important structural component of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, skin, and bone. Vitamin C can regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin E; in the body vitamin E can regenerate C as well. This vitamin is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. Relatively large doses of vitamin C may cause indigestion, particularly when taken on an empty stomach.
It has been shown that smokers who have diets poor in vitamin C are at a higher risk of lung-borne diseases than those smokers who have higher concentrations of Vitamin C in the blood. Biological tissues that accumulate over 100 times the level in blood plasma of vitamin C are the adrenal glands, pituitary, thymus, corpus luteum, and retina.
Studies suggest the presence of large quantities of sugar either in the intestines or in the blood can slow absorption of this vitamin. Several studies have demonstrated a blood pressure lowering effect of vitamin C supplementation. Also, when consumed in high doses it appears to interfere with the blood thinning effects of warfarin by lowering prothrombin time, as noted in case reports in the 1970s so consult your doctor if on medications..
In one Study, researchers instructed patients with documented coronary artery disease to take a single oral dose of either 2 g vitamin C or a placebo. Results, the researchers discovered that high doses of vitamin C can help prevent blood platelet sticking and fight cholesterol oxidation. Also, researchers discovered this vitamin can reduce the formation of potentially carcinogenic nitrogen-containing compounds in the stomach, offering protection from stomach cancer, researchers have reported.
French and German researchers found that vitamin C appeared to keep cells in the blood vessel wall from dying. The researchers, who studied immune indicators, such as serum immunoglobulin and neutrophil phagocytosis (how well your white blood cells can engulf and digest foreign bodies), concluded that vitamin C exerts a remarkable immuno-modulating action, in other words, improved immune function in all those who consumed vitamin C on a regular basis.
What are deficiency symptoms for vitamin C?
Scurvy is a disease resulting from lack of vitamin C, since without this vitamin, the synthesized collagen is too unstable to perform its function. Scurvy was common among those with poor access to fresh fruit and vegetables, such as remote, isolated sailors and soldiers. The amount of vitamin C required to prevent “chronic disease” appears to be more than that required for prevention of scurvy which is 30 – 60 milligrams per day. Based on scientific research, vitamin C also appears to improve oral absorption of iron, which is good news for those that are anemic.
Half of us in the United States will die from heart disease. The foundation of heart disease is atherosclerosis, the narrowing of our arteries with plaque. Treatment with vitamin C has consistently resulted in improved dilation of blood vessels in individuals with atherosclerosis as well as those with angina pectoris, congestive heart failure, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Researchers believe this protection from cell death could explain previous study findings which suggest that vitamin C benefits blood vessel function in people with congestive heart failure.
Vitamin C supplements are also generally regarded as safe in most individuals in recommended amounts, although there are rarely reported side effects including nausea, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal cramps, and headache. In addition, this vitamin is required for the synthesis of l-Carnitine, a small amino acid that is essential for the transport of fat to cellular organelles called mitochondria, for conversion to energy. If you have chronic fatigue syndrome, vitamin C may help by boosting energy production through the mitochondria.
Therefore, as in many studies of vitamin C intake and cardiovascular disease risk, it is difficult to separate the effects of vitamin C on stroke risk from the effects of other components such as diet and the consumption of fruits and vegetables. As with all dietitians an emphasis on the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is important to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. If one can not consume fruits and vegetables on a daily basis then supplementation of vitamin C is need in either capsule of tablet to fight the risk of disease.