Heath And Nutriton: What Are The Benefits Of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an important nutrient which must be obtained through diet. It is useful in the prevention and treatment of many illnesses and diseases.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid is an important nutrient that is not produced by the body and must be obtained through the diet. Some ascorbic acid is stored in the body, where it often concentrates in the organs of higher metabolic activity such as the adrenal glands, pituitary, brain, eyes, ovaries, and testes.This vitamin is easily absorbed through the intestines. The body uses Vitamin C within about 4 hours. Vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin meaning it helps prevent oxidation of molecules that in turn could create free radicals, something that could cause disease and illness.

Vitamin C has many important functions in the body. One important function is that Vitamin C helps maintain collagen, which is a connective tissue. Ascorbic acid aids thyroid hormone production and in cholesterol metabolism, increasing its elimination and thereby assisting in lowering blood cholesterol. Vitamin C stimulates adrenal function and the release of stress hormones. This important vitamin helps metabolize other chemicals and vitamins such as iron in the body.

Ascorbic acid has become well known as an immune booster and antioxidant. This vitamin may activate the most prevalent white blood cells that work on defending the body from illness. It also seems to increase production of lymphocytes, the white cells involved antibody production and in coordinating the cellular immune functions. In this way also, C may be helpful against bacterial, viral, and fungal diseases.

The uses for Vitamin C are many. Perhaps because of its immune boosting ability it is often used to fight cold and flu symptoms as well as to fight viruses and bacteria. This immune boosting and antioxidant ability may help protect us against both emotional stresses and environmental stresses such as pollution, lead, carbon monoxide, mercury and cadmium. Ascorbic acid helps the body fight all kinds of illnesses and infections. For this reason, vitamin C has been successfully used in many viral conditions, including colds, flus, hepatitis, Herpes simplex infections, mononucleosis, measles, and shingles. Vitamin C is also used to treat problems due to general inflammation such as cystitis, bronchitis, bursitis, arthritis (both osteo- and rheumatoid), and some chronic skin problems (dermatitis). Because of its ability to maintain healthy collagen, C supports the body cells and tissues and brings more rapid healing to injured or aging tissues. Therefore, it is used by many physicians for problems of rapid aging, burns, fracture healing, bedsores and other skin ulcers and to speed wound healing after injury or surgery. Along with zinc and Vitamin A, ascorbic acid used pre and post surgery, can reduce healing and hospitalization time. Vitamin C is also used to aid those withdrawing from common addictions and drug addictions such as narcotics and alcohol, as well as nicotine, caffeine, and even sugar. High-level ascorbic acid may decrease withdrawal symptoms from these substances and increase the appetite and feeling of well-being. Because the main side effect of too much vitamin C intake is diarrhea, it can be used as a natural laxative. If furthered studied, the functions (antioxidant, immune support, interferon, tissue health and healing) that vitamin C perform in the body, along with the still mysterious influences of higher-dose ascorbic acid intake, we may see how vitamin C may have a positive influence in fighting and preventing cancer. This use of C is controversial and still not widely used.

The RDA for adults is considered to be 60 mg. We need only about 10-20 mg. to prevent scurvy, and there is more than that in one portion of most fruits or vegetables. Infants need 35 mg.; about 50 mg. between ages one and fourteen and 60 mg. afterward are the suggested minimums. During pregnancy, 80 mg. are required; 100 mg. are needed during lactation. Realistically, between 100-150 mg. daily is a minimum dosage for most people. Stress causes the body to need more vitamin C. The total amount taken over the day should be divided into multiple doses (four to six). Mega doses are sometimes prescribed for certain conditions. Vitamin C can be found in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially citric fruits and red and green peppers.

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