The Benefits of Vitamin C


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Benefits of Vitamin C and the Conditions it Treats

Benefits of Vitamin C

Buying Guide & Tips

The benefits of Vitamin C are best through natural and organic foods.

But, if supplementation is necessary, just make sure that the supplements you take are a natural form of Vitamin C, not synthetic.

myAlso be sure to take Vitamin C that includes bioflavonoids as they are said to increase the absorbability of Vitamin C.


My Own Experience...

I personally do pretty well with having a lot of Vitamin C in my diet already, but as far as actual remedies are concerned, here's one that I use all the time.

When I first get a hint of a cold, there are a few things I will do (you'll see them as you go through these pages). But one thing I always do is take a lot of powdered Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C Powder).

We get ours from Vitacost (not an affiliate link). I'll take about 1/2 teaspoon (double dose) in 8 oz of water every 2 hours until my symptoms go away. It usually takes a day or so, but the cold never gets beyond the sniffles.

That equals about 2100 mg of Vitamin C in one shot, and more than 10,000 mg in a day if I manage that much.

I've never had a problem with my stomach hurting, but my other half gets some gas and bloating when he mega doses like that, so you may want to start off more gradually.

We always have some on hand just in case.


Dosage:

All of the remedies listed below have the same dosage instructions unless otherwise noted. To fully experience the benefits of Vitamin C, simply make sure that your supplementation is from a natural source and not synthesized in a lab.

There are different opinions as to how much Vitamin C is needed per day, so I've listed a few differing doses along with who is recommending them:

  • United States and Health Canada: 90 mg per day for adult males and 75 mg per day for adult females.
  • United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency: 75 mg per day.
  • World Health Organization: 45 mg per day.
  • United States National Academy of Sciences: 60 - 95 mg per day.
  • Linus Pauling Institute: 400 mg per day. (It should be noted though that Linus Pauling personally took 6,000 to 18,000 mg per day.)
  • The Vitamin C Foundation: 3,000 mg per day (or up to 30,000 mg per day during illness.)
  • The Gerson Institute: 1,000 to 1,500 mg per day only in the form of ascorbic acid, not calcium ascorbate or sodium ascorbate
  • Thomas E. Levy, Colorado Integrative Medical Centre: 6,000 to 12,000 mg per day.

A note about Vitamin C megadosing (which some consider to be anything over 200 mg per day): Please work with your health practitioner when megadosing anything, including Vitamin C.

There have been many successful treatments with megadosing Vitamin C, and the popular opinion among those who advocate high dosages is that the recommended government intakes are just enough to prevent Scurvy, but not near enough to optimize your health.

Additionally, the US National Academy of Sciences has stated that 2,000 mg per day is the "tolerable upper intake level" for Vitamin C but there are many people who have taken much more than that and thrived on it.

Please use your best judgment and watch for side effects of too much Vitamin C. Diarrhea, which is what happens when you've exceeded what's called "bowel tolerance", is usually the first symptom. Simply lower your dosage until your bowels are regular again.


Conditions This Remedy Treats:

(Clicking on the name of underlined conditions below will take you to the page that discusses the causes and other remedies for that particular condition.)


Allergies

One of the benefits of Vitamin C is its anti-inflammatory properties. In the case of allergies, especially hay fever and asthma symptoms, Vitamin C will reduce the inflammatory response of these conditions, making them less of an issue.
See Common Dosage


Blood Pressure (High)

Studies have shown that one of the benefits of Vitamin C is that it can lower your blood pressure if it's too high.
See Common Dosage


Bruises

Taking extra Vitamin C will help heal bruises faster because it's a necessary component of collagen production, which is what capillaries are made out of. If you tend to bruise easily, the benefits of Vitamin C may remedy that as well because it's one of the early symptoms of chronic Scurvy.

Check with your health practitioner before jumping to any conclusions however, because easy bruising can also be a symptom of other illnesses.
See Common Dosage


Cancer

Many studies have been done on the possible benefits of Vitamin C for those who have Cancer.

In a study done on mice who were given either lymphoma cancer cells or liver cancer cells (both from humans), the cancer cells in the mice that were given Vitamin C supplementation stopped growing.

As an antioxidant, Vitamin C helps kill off the free-radicals that allow Cancer cells to grow. Talk to your health practitioner about Vitamin C's affects on Cancer.
See Common Dosage


Cholesterol

One of the symptoms of insufficient Vitamin C in the body is high cholesterol, so it makes sense that taking enough of this vitamin will lower cholesterol if it's too high.

It has been said that heart disease and high cholesterol are actually early symptoms of Scurvy.

Vitamin C is necessary for the formation of collagen, which is what our blood vessels are made out of. When those start to degenerate, the body uses cholesterol to patch them up by creating plaque to plug the holes and keep the blood vessels from leaking. The more damage there is to the blood vessels, the more your body will pump up your cholesterol levels to repair them.
See Common Dosage


Colds & Flu

One of the most well known benefits of Vitamin C is its effect on the Common Cold and the Flu. One reason for this is that a deficiency in Vitamin C can weaken your immune system, and that leaves you open to catching a cold in the first place.

Once you re-introduce sufficient, or even large doses of Vitamin C, it not only gives your immune system that much needed boost, but it also, on its own, kills some of the bacteria and viruses that are causing your symptoms.
See Common Dosage


Gout

Vitamin C is said to increase the rate that uric acid is expelled from the body and will do this if you are taking 500 mg per day or more.

There is some research however that shows that it is the sudden change in uric acid levels in the body that trigger Gout, not necessarily just having high levels, so be careful when trying this remedy that you don't trigger a flare-up.
See Common Dosage


Heart Disease

Please see our entry on this page for Cholesterol.


General Properties:

The benefits of Vitamin C must come from our environment because we are one of the few mammals on the planet that can't make it ourselves.

It functions as an immune booster and an antioxidant, which means that it's very important in assisting our bodies in fighting off the free radicals that cause so many diseases.

Vitamin C in its natural form is called ascorbic acid. (So if your supplement says anything other than ascorbic acid, it's probably synthetic.) Our livers turn it into ascorbate which is then used to reduce the amount of free radicals in the body caused by oxidative stress. For more on free radicals and antioxidants, click here.

One of the other important benefits of Vitamin C is that it acts as a "partner" of sorts to certain enzymes by donating one of its electrons in order to create certain chemicals in the body that are necessary for our health and survival.

If there wasn't enough Vitamin C in your body then you would not be able to create new scar tissue, or create and maintain cartilage and blood vessels for example.


Possible Side Effects:

At normal doses, there are no side effects to Vitamin C intake. There have been reports of side effects for some who are taking more than 1000 mg per day.

If you are taking large amounts of Vitamin C and experience any of these symptoms, lower your dose and talk to your health professional about it.

Possible Vitamin C Side Effects:

  • Indigestion
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Flushing of the face
  • Vomiting

There are some reports that excess Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid is related to the formation of Kidney stones. There has not been a clear link established between the two however, so the relationship is unclear and there could be other factors involved that contribute to kidney stone formation.

If you are Pregnant and take high doses of Vitamin C, make sure that the Vitamin C you take also includes bioflavonoids and Vitamin K, especially in the first month. There have been studies that high Vitamin C intake in the first month without bioflavonoids and Vitamin K can cause early miscarriage. There are even anecdotal accounts that use Vitamin C in this way for home abortions.

Overdosing on Vitamin C is very difficult to do since the body will simply get rid of the excess through the urine.

The toxicity of Vitamin C is very low as well, meaning that for a rat to take a toxic dose of Vitamin C, it would have to consume the equivalent of over 11 grams per kilogram of body weight. Although the amount for a human is unknown, the rat's equivalent would be around 598 grams (598,000 mg) for an average human being. That's in one dose.


Drug Interactions:

Acetaminophen and Aspirin:

Large doses of Vitamin C has been known to allow the body to hold onto Acetaminophen longer thus requiring fewer doses. Talk to your health practitioner before changing your prescribed dosage however.


Ampicillin:

This drug is used as an antibiotic and reduces the amount of Vitamin C in your blood. The benefits of Vitamin C supplementation while taking this medication could be quite beneficial.


Carbidopa/Levodopa:

This drug is used to enhance neurotransmitter function in those with Parkinson's Disease. The benefits of Vitamin C supplementation may be beneficial while used with this drug, but more study is needed. Talk to your health practitioner to find out more about combining this drug with Vitamin C.


Cardec DM:

This is a combination drug commonly used for colds and hay fever. If you are taking more than 5 grams of Vitamin C per day, talk to your health practitioner as that could lower the effectiveness of the drug.


Chemotherapy:

Chemotherapy drugs are used to injure and kill cancer cells by creating oxidative damage in your body. There are some oncologists that conclude that any antioxidant therefore will interfere with the chemotherapy by stopping the drug from injuring the cancer cells and they may tell you not to take any antioxidants during this therapy. However, there isn't a lot of actual scientific evidence that supports this theory other than in a test tube.

There have been studies in animals as well as human breast cancer tissue in test tubes that show that the benefits of Vitamin C supplementation in particular actually increases the effectiveness of Chemotherapy drugs. Another study has shown that the combination of Vitamins E and C and N-actyl cysteine (NAC) protected against Chemotherapy-induced heart damage without interfering with the Chemotherapy treatment itself.


Clozapine:

This is an uncommonly used drug that is used to control symptoms of Schizophrenia when nothing else seems to work. Clozapine has a tendency to stop the formation of your immune cells that fight against invading organisms in your body. The benefits of Vitamin C while taking this drug could help stop that action by protecting your immune cells from the drug's damaging effects.


Dapsone:

This drug is an antibiotic that is effective against the bacteria that causes Leprosy and is also used to treat pneumonia in those who have the HIV virus.

Common names for Dapsone are: Avosulfon, DDS, Diaphenylsulfone.

In large amounts, this drug can cause oxidative stress to your red blood cells and damage them. The benefits of Vitamin C and other antioxidants can help protect those blood cells from the damage caused by this drug.


Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine:

Common names for these drugs are: Balminil Decongestant, Boots Child Sugar-Free Decongestant Syrup, Boots Decongestant Tablets, Bronalin Decongestant Elixir, CAM, Drixoral N.D., Eltor 120, Galpseud, Novafed, Pretz-D, Pseudofrin, Sudafed, Vick's Vatrinol.

Common medications that contain Ephedrine or Pseudoephedrine are: Alka-Seltzer Plus, Allegra-D, Chlor-Trimeton 12 hour, Claritin-D, Nyquil, Nyquil Hot Therapy Powder, Primatene Dual Action, Theraflu, Tylenol Allergy Sinus, Tylenol Cold, Tylenol Flu Night Time Maximum Strength Powder, Tylenol Multi-symptom Hot Medication, Tylenol Sinus.

Vitamin C, and any other food that increases the acidity of the urine, will cause the elimination of these drugs to happen more quickly which could decrease their effectiveness.


Epinephrine:

Common names for this drug are:

Adrenaline, Adrenalin, Ana-guard, AsthmaHaler, AsthmaNefrin, Bronchaid, Bronkaid Mistometer, Bronkaid Mist, Brontin Mist, Epifin, Epinal, EpiPen, Epitrate, Eppy/N, Medihaler-Epi, Primatene Mist, S-2, Sus-Phrine.



This drug is commonly used to open up blocked airways in asthmatics and for those who have severe allergic reactions. Epinephrine has been shown to decrease levels of Vitamin C, potassium and magnesium in the body. If you take this drug, please increase your intake of these important nutrients.


Fenofibrate:

Common names for this drug are:

Lipantil, Supralip, Tricort.

This drug is used to lower cholesterol when all other programs have been ineffective. It has been said that one of the benefits of Vitamin C is to help reduce the side effect of this drug that causes sensitivity to sunlight. More studies are being conducted on this effect.


Indomethacin:

Common names for this drug are: Apo-Indomethacin, Flexin Continuous, Imbrilon, Indocid, Indocid-R, Indocin, Indolar SR, Indomax, Indomax 75 SR, Indometacin, Indomod, Indotard, Novo-Methacin, Nu-Indo, Pardelprin, Rheumacin LA, Rhodacine, Rimacid, Slo-Indo.

This drug is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which is used to reduce swelling, pain and temperature. The benefits of Vitamin C can be severely diminished while taking this drug. Talk to your health practitioner about adding more Vitamin C to your diet, or supplementation while taking this drug.


Mixed Amphetamines:

Common names for this drug are:

Adderall, Dexamphetamine, Dexadrine.

This drug is a combination of two nervous system stimulants: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It's used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) with Hyperactivity and Narcolepsy. Taking Vitamin C with this drug can reduce its bio-availability and effectiveness. It's recommended to take Vitamin C either one hour before or two hours after taking this medication.


Tacrine:

A common name for this drug is:

Cognex.

This drug is used to treat Alzheimer's Disease. This drug can cause liver damage in some people but test tube studies have shown that Vitamin C will block the formation of cell damaging substances that are created when Tacrine is broken down by the body. More studies are needed, but it's possible that one of the benefits of Vitamin C is to help slow down damage to the liver from using this drug.


Warfarin:

Common names for this drug are:

Coumadin, Marevan, and Warfilone.

Warfarin is a blood thinner and there have been reports of Vitamin C interfering with the effectiveness of this drug, but no official studies have been done to prove it. Ask your health practitioner about taking Vitamin C with Warfarin.


Did You Know…?

  • If you cook vegetables that contain Vitamin C it will destroy most of the benefits of Vitamin C that you may have gotten from them raw. How much the veggie retains will depend on the type of vegetable, and how long and at what heat it's cooked. But Broccoli seems to be able to retain more of its Vitamin C when cooked than any other vegetable.
  • Humans are among only a few mammals in the animal kingdom that cannot make their own Vitamin C, thus our need to take it from an external source. Other animals that don't make it themselves are most species of bats, guinea pigs, some species of birds and fish, and one of the suborders of primates called Anthropoidea (tarsiers, monkeys and apes, including humans).
  • In the 1700's in England, it was discovered that sailors and isolated soldiers who ate fresh citrus daily would not get Scurvy, although no one was sure why. Limes were much less expensive and more available in Great Britain than were lemons and were commonly used for this purpose. This led to the nickname "limey" used by Americans to describe the British folk.
  • Those who smoke and those with Diabetes need more Vitamin C than other people because (for different reasons) their bodies cannot absorb Vitamin C as readily as those who don't smoke or have Diabetes. By taking extra, they can experience the benefits of Vitamin C and will notice their deficiency symptoms decrease.

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