Vital Amine C
Vitamin C Deficiency
Most people know from school history lessons that the early long-voyage sailors risked dying of scurvy. But even in modern times, and in developed countries, general undernutrition can results in vitamin C deficiency. Fortunately, severe deficiency (resulting in scurvy) is uncommon, but not unheard of.
A lack of vitamin C can cause fatigue, depression, and weak connective tissue (read more about this below). In infants and children, bone growth may be impaired.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient. Humans cannot make it, therefore we rely on dietary sources. How much you need depends on your individual health situation.
Aid Other Nutrients
Vitamin C plays a role in the formation of hormones, collagen, carnitine and amino acids. It improves the absorption of iron, especially when iron is from vegetable sources. To maximise iron absorption, consume raw fruit/veges at every meal.
build Stronger Bones
Vitamin C is essential for bones, being required for the formation of collagen as well as cells that both build and remodel bone. Research suggests vitamin C may also stimulate bone building and increased vitamin C levels has been associated with greater bone density.
For Healthy Teeth and Gums
One of the first symptoms of vitamin C deficiency (early scurvy) is gums that bleed easily. The fragile blood vessels, along with weakened dentine (under the enamel) means oral health is at risk. Low immunity increases oral infection as well.
Strong Blood Vessels
Essentially made from the same materials, it’s no surprise that both skin and blood vessels require vitamin C. Easy bruising, bleeding, anaemia and slow healing are symptoms of vitamin C deficiency. All are warning signs of scurvy.
Supports Immune Function
Well known for it’s role in supporting immune function, vitamin C concentrates in white blood cells that are crucial for your first defense system against invading bacteria and viruses. Extra vitamin C may help when you’re unwell.
Vitamin C helps build collagen, a critical protein for healthy connective tissue, such as tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. And of course your skin, adding to the popularity of collagen supplements. It is also an antioxidant, helping protect the skin from free radical damage.
Antioxidants protect cells against damage by free radicals (by-products of normal cell activity). Excessive free radical activity can cause damage over a person’s lifetime.
Destroyed by Cooking
Vitamin C is found in varying amounts in most foods. But it is easily destroyed by cooking. Raw fruit and vegetables are essential dietary sources of vitamin C.
Old Wives Tales
Before vitamin C was discovered, both sailors and Roman soldiers used herbs to prevent the dreaded disease – including by eating “scurvy grass”. We now know it’s high in vitamin C!
May Help With Stress
While vitamin C is needed to make stress hormones, one study found that high doses of vitamin C reduced the levels of stress hormones in the blood and also reduced other typical indicators of physical and emotional stress.
Sometimes referred to as nature’s antihistamine, people with allergies may need more vitamin C than others. One study showed that asthmatics needed less steroid inhalers when supplementing with extra vitamin C.
Caution: Laxative Effects!
Taking more vitamin C than you can absorb may help soften your stool. Too much and you may get diarrhoea and stomach cramps. Chronic high -dose vitamin C may also increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
Where can I get the Vitamin C I need?
You don’t need much vitamin C – scurvy is prevented by as little as 75 mg a day for women and 90 mg a day for men. Smokers need at least 35 mg more every day. For optimal levels for most adults, 200mg seems to be about right. Your need is is increased by illness with fever, inflammation, diarrhoea, low stomach acid, iron or protein deficiency, smoking, hyperthyroid, achlorhydria, being subject to excessive cold or heat, surgery or burns. Five servings of most fruits and vegetables provide more than 200 mg of vitamin C, but as this precious nutrient is destroyed by heat (such as cooking), you can get 200mg from one fresh, raw capsicum or two kiwifruit.
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