There are many health benefits of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is required for at least three hundred metabolic functions in the body, including tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function, and healthy gums. This vitamin may also reduce levels of LDL ("bad cholesterol"), while increasing HDL ("good cholesterol"), as well as lowering high blood pressure. Vitamin C protects against abnormal blood clotting and bruising, may reduce the risk of cataracts, and promotes the healing of wounds and burns. It may even boost your love life by causing more of the hormone oxytocin to be released.
The most common signs of vitamin C deficiency, include gums that bleed when brushed; increased susceptibility to infection, especially colds and bronchial infections; joint pains; lack of energy; poor digestion; prolonged wound healing time; a tendency to bruise easily; and tooth loss. Scurvy is a disease caused by dramatic vitamin C deficiency. It is characterized by poor wound healing, soft and spongy bleeding gums, extreme weakness, and "pinpoint" hemorrhages under the skin. Fortunately, this condition is rare in Western societies.
It is generally agreed that a balanced dietwithout supplementation contains enough vitamin C to prevent scurvy in an average healthy adult, while those who are pregnant, smoke tobacco, or are under stress require slightly more. Smoking causes a serious depletion of vitamin C. It has been shown that smokers who have diets poor in this vitamin are at a higher risk of lung-borne diseases than those smokers who have higher concentrations of vitamin C in the blood. It should be noted that the amount of vitamin C necessary to prevent scurvy (about 45mg/day) is less than the amount required for optimal health, as there are a number of other chronic diseases whose risk are increased by a low vitamin C intake, including cancer, heart disease, and cataracts. It is generally suggested that a dose of 90-100mg vitamin C daily is required to optimally protect against these diseases.
The body cannot make vitamin C, therefore it must be obtained through the diet or in form of supplements. Vitamin C is the most widely taken dietary supplement. It is available in many forms, including caplets, tablets, capsules, and drink mix packets. If your require larger than normal amounts of vitamin C due to serious illness, such as cancer, it is more effective to take it intravenously, under the supervision of a physician, than it is to take high doses orally which will likely be excreted in urine.
Vitamin C is found in berries, citrus fruits, and green vegetables. Good sources include asparagus, avocados, broccoli, grapefruit, lemons, mangos, onions, oranges, papayas, green peas, pineapple, and strawberries.
The human body can store only a certain amount of vitamin C, and so the body stores are depleted if fresh supplies are not consumed. For maximum effectiveness, supplements of vitamin C should be taken in divided doses, twice daily. Esterified vitamin C (Ester-C) is a remarkably effective form of the vitamin. It is created by having the vitamin C react with a necessary mineral, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, or zinc. The levels of vitamin C in white blood cells achieved by taking Ester-C are four times higher than those achieved with standard vitamin C and only one-third as much is lost through excretion in the urine.
Vitamin C is vitally important for good health. The value of eating a certain food to maintain health was recognized long before vitamins were identified. Ideally, all of us would get all of the nutrients we need for optimal health from fresh, healthful foods. In reality, however, getting even the recommended daily intake of vitamins from today's diet has become quite hard to do. This means that for optimum health, it may be necessary to take vitamins in supplement form. Supplementing vitamin C is an excellent way to make sure you are taking the necessary amount to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
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