Vitamin C – Not just for the common cold
It is a widely accepted belief that when you feel the start of a cold coming on it is advisable to start popping Vitamin C to help nip it in the bud. Dr. John Ely, a researcher at the University of Washington says, “Ten grams of Vitamin C on the first day of a cold always works, after that it never works.” I have never personally tried this dosage however, many people swear by its efficacy. Vitamin C is exceptionally easy to absorb, and since it is water soluble the kidneys eliminate what we don’t need, therefore it can safely be taken in high doses.
Looking beyond curtailing the common cold, Vitamin C is indispensable in the body. Its primary function is the manufacture of collagen – the main protein of our body. Collagen is found in our skin, providing a youthful firmness. Unfortunately, as we age our body simply does not produce the amount of collagen it once did back in our twenties. I am reminded of this whenever my beautiful teenage daughter and I stand in front of a mirror together. Vitamin C not only supports firm skin, it works to build cartilage, connective tissue, ligaments, and tendons, which keep our bodies pliable and joints supple with movement.
We already know that vitamin C supports our immune system, but to what degree may be underestimated. Back in the 1980s, Dr. Linus Pauling brought fame and distinction to Vitamin C by keeping terminal cancer patients alive for an extended period of time with twenty grams of the vitamin per day. Vitamin C is vital for the functioning of our white blood cells fighting bacteria, viruses, cardio vascular disease, and may even reduce the risk of developing cataracts.
As a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C protects us against pollution, cigarette smoke and carcinogens. It supports the liver in the clearance of toxins in the bloodstream. Dr. Walter Crinnion, author of Clean, Green and Lean, recommends city dwellers take at least 3,000 milligrams of Vitamin C each day to guard against pollution.
A few things to look out for as you strive to preserve your Vitamin C levels.
During times of physical, emotional and chemical stress the excretion of Vitamin C is increased through the urine. Remember to increase your Vitamin C consumption during times of high stress. Examples of chemical stresses are pollution and cigarette smoke.
Vitamin C is not only destroyed by heat but also diminished when exposed to air. Although a salad bar is a healthy lunch choice, its Vitamin C content is only a fraction of what it would be if the salad was made fresh and consumed after preparation. Consuming a portion of raw vegetables at each meal ensures that you are getting all the goodness of the vitamin content.
Alcohol, excessive sugar and many common drugs including aspirin and oral contraceptives reduce Vitamin C levels in the body.
Great Sources of Vitamin C
Citrus fruits typically come to mind as the best source of Vitamin C, but many vegetables and a few fruits outrank citrus in content.
In order of Vitamin C content:
- bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
A simple way to boost your Vitamin C level each day is to add a few slices of lemon or strawberries to your drinking water.
In addition to my whole foods diet, I take 2000+ milligrams (mg) of Vitamin C daily and have successfully weathered our Northern California winter rains this season with barely a sniffle. My favorite supplement is from Thorne Research available on my site under resources. It is an effective, easy-to-use Vitamin C powder, buffered with calcium, magnesium, and potassium, making it gentle on the digestive system. I simply add a teaspoon of powder to a glass of lemon water or a smoothie and I am good to go!
- Clean, Green and Lean by Walter Crinnion
- The Encylopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray
- The World’s Healthiest Foods website