The Many Wonders of Vitamin C

Photo credit: bigstock

Photo credit: bigstock

We begin learning about the importance of vitamin C in grade school but by the time we are adults, we tend to blow it off. Yeah, yeah, yeah, vitamin C to prevent scurvy, drink OJ in the morning, I got it, I got it!

We are just beginning to find out the many wonders of this simple vitamin. It does so much more for us than we ever imagined! If you have a spare tire around your belly that just won’t go away, or if you are looking to reduce diabetic symptoms, maybe you want some cardiovascular support, then vitamin C might be the answer for you! Besides all this, it can improve your immunity, lessen the body’s stress response, quiet inflammation, lower biomarkers which show you might have a risk of heart disease, and encourages sensitivity to insulin. Read also how Vitamin C can help treat cancer.

C-reactive protein is a well-known marker of inflammation. There is quite a bit of evidence that inflammation, especially chronic inflammation, is linked to heart disease, diabetes, even the risk of Alzheimer’s. In one study, subjects who took 500 mg supplements of vitamin C every day had a 24 percent decrease in plasma CRP levels after a two month test period. This study was conducted by the University of California at Berkeley. If this study is confirmed in other tests, then vitamin C could become an important intervention in doctors’ offices all over the world.

When you become injured or develop an infection, your body sends out inflammatory cytokines, which causes your liver to send out those CRP’s. Although scientists don’t know exactly how vitamin C is able to lower these CRP levels, but they believe it might be through the suppression of the production of cytokine.

Another study that was published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research showed that patients with type 2 diabetes that took vitamin C lowered blood glucose and lipid levels.84 subjects were given either 500 mg or 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily for a six week period. Researchers found that, at the conclusion of the study, the group that received the higher dose had significant declines in serum insulin and blood glucose levels. Those that took 500mg did not show any notable difference.

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Photo credit: bigstock

Photo credit: bigstock

There is also a connection between a deficiency of vitamin C, weight gain, and stress. When we are exposed to almost constant stress, no matter the source (find out 10 things that bring on chronic stress), our adrenal glands can become depleted due to an almost constant outpouring of stress hormones. Adrenal fatigue will eventually set in, which causes hair loss, exhaustion, depression, anxiety, muscle soreness, and susceptibility to illnesses. Weight gain around the midriff is a real problem as the higher cortisol levels due to that weight gain circulates throughout the body. If your adrenals are imbalanced, your thyroid glands will be affected, which only makes weight gain worse.

There is a new study, however, that gives us hope that vitamin C can minimize the body’s stress response, which can protect your thyroid and adrenal glands.

The University of Alabama at Huntsville discovered during the course of their research that rats that were fed 200 mg of vitamin C daily had reduced levels of stress hormones, as well as low indicators of emotional and physical stress. P. Samuel Campbell, PH.D., suggests that our ancestors most likely ate a large amount of fruits and, therefore, consumed large amounts of vitamin C. If this is the case, then our inherited biology might need far more vitamin C than our current RDA suggests.

Right now, it’s suggested that men get 90 mgs and women 75 mgs, smokers an additional 35mgs, but perhaps those suggestions are on the low side. Some studies have shown that people with higher levels of vitamin C in their bodies oxidize fat 30 percent better during exercise than those with vitamin C deficiencies, according to an article published in 2005 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

Eat more organic, vitamin rich foods, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits, or take supplements to ensure that you are getting all the benefits that this amazing vitamin has to offer us.

Sources:

Berkeley.edu

Medind.nic.in [PDF]

Sciencedaily.com

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

News.bbc.co.uk