Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
The Most Famous of Vitamins
We call Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, "the most famous of vitamins" because it really is the best known. It is the first one schoolchildren learn. It is the most cited cure for the common cold. Most people can rhyme off at least a few foods that contain vitamin C. And vitamin C is the single most searched nutrient -- vitamin, mineral, herb, or any other -- on the Internet.
Hans Larson writes in the International Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine:
"When tallying the achievements of medical research in the latter part of the 20th century one discovery will stand out - the discovery that vitamin-C is uniquely important to the health and wellbeing of humans."
The U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 50-60 milligrams per day. In France, it is 110; in Germany and Japan it is 100 milligrams. But, as you will read below, that is far below what you should be consuming.
Below, we will share with you some vitamin C benefits, how vitamin c works, some vitamin c sources, and a few more vitamin c facts.
Vitamin C Benefits
Vitamin C helps form collagen, a glue-like fibrous protein in bone, cartilage, tendons and other connective tissue. Vitamin C helps give structure and maintain such body parts as bones, cartilage, muscle, veins, capillaries and teeth. Imagine your body with soft bones or week blood vessels.
A UK study found that low levels of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in the blood of elderly patients was a strong predictor of mortality. In other words, those patients with normal or high levels of vitamin C in their blood would more likely survive a disease or heart problem. A 1992 study showed that people with high vitamin C levels in their blood tend to live six years longer than people with low levels.
Vitamin C supports the cardiovascular system by facilitating fat metabolism and protecting tissues from free radical damage. According to The Vitamin C Foundation, it is estimated that vitamin C saved 250,000 to 500,000 or more lives from heart disease in the USA in 1999. It is that important.
Vitamin C helps the nervous system function by converting certain amino acids into neurotransmitters.
A 2004 study found that vitamin C prevents symptoms from such airway diseases as cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and possibly others.
Vitamin C has been shown in various studies to lower the risk of breast cancer, as well as cancers in the cervix, the colon, the rectum, the esophagus, the larynx, the lung, the mouth, the prostate, and the stomach. That's because it helps the immune system to battle foreign invaders and tumor cells.
Vitamin C has also been cited as important for the healthy maintenance of skin and glands.
Vitamin C's most important role is probably as the chief water-soluble antioxidant in the human body.
The bottom line: don't cut yourself short on this essential vitamin.
Vitamin C Sources
Most animals manufacture their own vitamin C. Primates, such as humans, gorillas, and monkeys, have somehow lost this ability. Which is why we need to get our vitamin C from our diets.
It is well known that citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, tangerines, limes, mandarins and others contain vitamin C.
In fact, vitamin C comes almost exclusively from fruits and vegetables.
Other good sources are tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, peppers, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, rutabagas, cantaloupe, kiwi, papayas, potatoes, paprika and watermelon. Many other fruits and vegetables contain small amounts of vitamin C, too.
Liver also contains some vitamin C, which helps digest the iron in it.
According to Doctor Gary Null, writing in the Townsend Letter for Doctors:
Since the absorption mechanisms in the gut and kidneys can reach a saturation point, it is better to take multiple doses of vitamin C throughout the day than one large dose."
One place that is NOT a good source are vitamin C pills, which the body just cannot absorb properly. This is a water soluble vitamin best taken in its natural juice or in a liquid supplement.
Get the Most From Your Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that if you consume too much, your body will get rid of excess. It also means that your body does not store it for long periods of time. You can't "stock up" on it; you need vitamin C every day.
Being a water-soluble vitamin, you lose it when you boil foods. For instance, if you boil your broccoli, you will lose the vitamin C. However, if you boil your broccoli in a soup, you will get the broccoli's vitamin C in the broth.
Do not soak or store fruits or vegetables in water, for you can lose the vitamin C that way. In short, the fresher cut the fruit or vegetable, and the less cooked, the more vitamin C you will get.
A Few More Facts About Vitamin C
Nobel Prize winning biochemist Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi first isolated vitamin C in 1928. (As someone of Hungarian descent, I find this a touch exciting.) Vitamin C first got its reputation for beating the common cold in 1970, when fellow Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling published his bestselling book "Vitamin C and the Common Cold". In it, he suggested that taking vitamin C at levels well above the USA RDA could strengthen the immune system and help ward off the common cold.
Like all vitamins and minerals, Vitamin C is most effective when combined with other nutrients. For example, one of the big benefits of vitamin C is that it helps the body digest and absorb iron, an essential mineral for good health.
It has also been found that vitamin C and E work together to help stave off Alzheimer's disease.
But how much vitamin C do we really need? Here is what Hans Larson writes:
"The RDA is simply the amount required to avoid scurvy, the most obvious deficiency disease. Actually the RDA is based on the vitamin C content of the average diet. The logic goes somewhat like this: 'The average "healthy" North American diet provides about 60 mg/day of vitamin C, so since scurvy is virtually unknown in the USA today 60 mg/day must be adequate.' So much for science!"
Remember that vitamin C is water soluble, making it hard (but not impossible) to overdose on it. Essential Nectar Liquid Vitamin Supplement contains 250% of the US RDA, making it a good vitamin C supplement for your diet. Click here to get your Essential Nectar now.
FACT: Water soluble vitamins are best absorbed in liquid form, such as in their natural juices or in a liquid vitamin supplement.