Ascorbic Acid - Vitamin C Health Benefits - "The Antibiotic Vitamin”
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is readily soluble in water and is easily destroyed by alkaline medium, oxidation and storage. In the upper part of the small intestine, absorption of ascorbic acid into the blood stream takes place. The quantity of ascorbic acid varies in different tissues. The kidneys excrete Vitamin C through urine.
Functions of the body
Vitamin C has a protein substance called collagen that holds the cells together. Healing of wounds is delayed if there is failure in synthesizing collagen.
The absorption of iron is enhanced by ascorbic acid.
It ensures healthy gums and teeth; fresh complexion and healthy gums. It is needed for good health, endurance and vitality. It has an active involvement in the vital functions of all glands and organs. For the proper functioning of the adrenal and thyroid glands and for the maintenance of bones this vitamin is necessary. It counteracts the toxic effects of drugs and reduces considerably the harmful effects of toxic chemicals in food, water and environment. Finally it protects against all forms of physical and mental stress and promotes healing.
Sources of Vitamin C
Citrus fruits and vegetables are the main sources of Vitamin C. Among fruits Indian gooseberries, guava, lemons, limes, oranges and papaya are the most valuable source of this vitamin. Smaller amounts of this vitamin are present in potatoes and root vegetables. Food of animal origin contain very small amount of this vitamin, however fish is an important source. Germinated cereals and pulses are good sources of Vitamin C too.
(R.D.A – Men – 40mg, Women – 40mg, Lactating women – 80mg, Children – 40mg, Infants – 25mg)
Effects of Deficiency of Vitamin C
Deficiency of Vitamin C may cause anemia, weakness of capillary, deterioration in collagen, soft gums, delayed healing of sores, wounds and skin hemorrhages. It may lower resistance to all infections and cause thyroid deficiency and premature ageing. Prolonged deficiency may cause scurvy and mild deficiency may cause anorexia, fatigue, infection, lassitude and muscular pain. Toxic effects of drugs and environmental poisons maybe enhanced due to the deficiency.
Healing and Therapeutic Properties
Eat plenty of fresh citrus fruits like lemons, limes and oranges to prevent deficiency of Vitamin C. In India the cheapest source of Vitamin C are coriander and drumstick leaves, germinated cereals, grains and pulses. You can overcome deficiency of Vitamin C by taking 50-100mg of Vitamin C as a daily supplement.
1.Common Cold - It has been proved that if Vitamin C is taken in the optimum amount regularly, it can prevent common cold; large doses of this vitamin will relieve the symptoms and shorten the duration of cold.
2. Arteriosclerosis – Large doses of Vitamin C can be administered to patients suffering from arteriosclerosis and high B.P., as it causes considerable decline in their blood cholesterol and a gradual drop in their B.P.
3. Cancer – The need for Vitamin C increases tremendously in cancer patients, due to the stress caused. Cancer patients especially children with leukemia, show symptoms of bleeding gums, bruising, and outright hemorrhaging, characteristic of Vitamin C deficiency. Patients with inoperable growths can be administered with Vitamin C dosage. This prevents cancer growth and in some cases even results in its regression.
4. Infections – Patients suffering from any infectious disease will show an abnormally low level of Vitamin C in their blood, cerebrospinal fluid or urine. Patients will retain Vitamin C in their body if they are administered with additional supplies. In an acute state of all infectious disease the administration of high doses of Vitamin C is thus indicated. Until total recovery the treatment should be continued and gradually decreased.
5. Nephritis – Any person suffering from kidney disease due to medication, high urinary loss and stress will also suffer from Vitamin C deficiency. The danger of hemorrhaging increases. Blood will appear in the urine even if there is a mild lack of Vitamin C. For person suffering from nephritis, administration of large doses of Vitamin C daily can sometimes quickly stop the hemorrhaging or passing of bloody urine.
6. Stress – During stress lack of Vitamin C can cause blood vessels to become fragile. This can even cause a minor injury such as an ulcer and ultimately result in a major hemorrhage.
7. Other Diseases – In diseases and conditions like nose bleeding, bleeding piles, loss of smell, inflammation of the tongue, vomiting blood, dental caries, deep corneal ulcers, bleeding from the gums, rickets, delayed growth and development, black stools caused by blood in the intestines, defective formation of dentine and enamel, Vitamin C can be therapeutically used. Congenital deformities in babies can be prevented if the mother takes adequate quantity of Vitamin C along with Vitamin B Complex during her entire pregnancy.
Occasional diarrhea, kidney stone, skin rashes and excess urination may occur due to excess intake of Vitamin C.