Vitamin C

Summary

Humans are almost unique amongst mammals in their inability to synthesise vitamin C, requiring a constant supply from food. The body needs vitamin C to form collagen for cartilage, muscle and blood vessels, and in the absorption of iron. It is required for biosynthesis of the amino acid L-carnitine, stabilizing peptide hormones, processing the amino acid L-tyrosine, and the formation of the “stimulation transmitter” noradrenaline from the “motivation transmitter” dopamine.

It is a powerful antioxidant, protecting the body from free radicals generated in many disease states. It also increases the regeneration of the body’s own major antioxidant glutathione (GSH) which stimulates the immune system’s “seek and destroy” arm to fight infection and cancer, and is a powerful natural antihistamine.

Vitamin C deficiency causes bleeding gums, easy bruising, poor wound healing, thickening of the skin (hyperkeratosis), depression, anaemia, and frequent colds or infections. Severe deficiency results in scurvy, which although rare, can be life-threatening and cause sudden death. Deficiency is marked by initial symptoms of diarrhoea, loss of appetite, weakness, shortness of breath and fever, and progresses to irritability, depression, paleness, dry eyes, corkscrew hair, leg pain, and bleeding of gums and eyes.

About Vitamin C

Outright vitamin C (ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate) deficiency (scurvy) is rare outside of pregnancy and malnourishment, but may be becoming more common owing to modern diets and lifestyle factors which directly deplete the vitamin. Chronic mercury toxicity from dental amalgam fillings and thimerosal-based vaccinations, excess alcohol intake, cigarette smoking, pharmaceutical prescription drugs, refined or processed food diets, and over-cooking meals are all enemies of Vitamin C.

Deficiency may also result from chronic stress, overconsumption of sugar and alcohol, excessive use of antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antacids, proton pump inhibitors, cytotoxic drugs, steroids and oral contraceptives; all of which can result in an inflamed gut wall.  It may also arise in bowel disorders which impede the absorption of vitamin C like chronic diarrhoea, food allergies and intolerances, fungal and bacterial overgrowth of the intestine, gastric bypass surgery, gastritis, coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

The body needs vitamin C to form collagen in bones, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels whilst aiding in the absorption of iron. It is required for collagen formation, the biosynthesis of the amino acid L-carnitine, stabilizing peptide hormones, processing the amino acid L-tyrosine, and the formation of the “stimulation transmitter” noradrenaline from the “motivation transmitter” dopamine. It is a powerful antioxidant and reducing agent against the damaging oxidizing effects of free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated in many disease states. It also increases the regeneration of the body’s own major antioxidant glutathione (GSH) which stimulates the immune system’s “seek and destroy” arm to fight infection and is a powerful natural antihistamine.

Vitamin C deficiency is associated with symptoms of bleeding gums, nose bleeds, ease of bruising, poor wound healing, red pimples on skin, thickening of the skin (hyperkeratosis), depression, fatigue, anaemia, and frequent colds or infections but severe deficiency can cause scurvy. Chronic deficiency may be associated with disease states like atherosclerosis, asthma, viral infections, auto-immune diseases, candidiasis, Crohn’s disease, kidney stones, cancer, hypoadrenia, depression, schizophrenia, dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

These conditions often get misdiagnosed as illnesses in their own right by doctors and psychiatrists unfamiliar with this simple biochemical imbalance and they may resort to prescribing pharmaceutical drugs to manage symptoms without addressing the underlying cause. Vitamin C deficiency responds well to the introduction of well absorbed forms of the nutrient.

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