Vitamin C Supplements
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Vitamin C is a water soluble Vitamin that our bodies cannot make or store although it is concentrated in organs in the body that have a higher metabolic activity, such as the adrenal glands, brain, eyes and testes. Most other animals (except guinea-pigs) produce Vitamin C in the liver from glucose so adequate intake of Vitamin C is required everyday for normal growth and development in humans. Vitamin C is found naturally in fruit and vegetables but is destroyed easily by cooking or storing fruit for a long time.
Vitamin C is necessary for growth and repair and contributes to:
- Normal function of the immune system. It may do this by activating neutrophils, the white blood cells that respond to infection and it appears to increase leukocytes, the white blood cells important in antibody production, and so may be helpful against bacteria, funguses and parasites.
- Normal function of the immune system during and after intense physical exercise, when 200mg is consumed in addition to the normal diet.
- Normal collagen formation for the normal function of blood vessels and gums, skin and cartilage. Vitamin C is a cofactor in the human for 8 enzymes, 3 of which participate in the biosynthesis, and cross linking of collagen It works as a coenzyme converting proline to hydroxyproline and lysine to hydroxylysine, which are important in collagen structure.
- Normal collagen formation for the normal function of teeth. Good collagen structure holds the teeth securely in the gums
- Normal function of bones. Vitamin C is known to stimulate procollagen, enhance collagen synthesis, and stimulate alkaline phosphatase activity, a marker for osteoblast formation and osteoblasts make bone.
- Normal energy yielding metabolism. Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of Carnitine, essential for the transport of fat into the mitochondria for conversion to energy.
- Normal functioning of the nervous system and normal psychological function. Vitamin C is involved in the metabolism of tyrosine, folic acid and tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted in the presence of Vitamin C to 5-Hydroxytryptophan, which forms serotonin, a brain chemical. Vitamin C helps convert Folic Acid to the active form, tetrahydrofolic acid and Vitamin C is required to convert tyrosine into the neurotransmitters dopamine and epinephrine. Neurotransmitters are critical to brain function and are known to affect mood.
Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant and contributes to the protection of DNA, proteins and lipids in the cells from oxidative stress or free radical damage. Antioxidants can help reduce the damage to tissues caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that attack the nearest stable molecule. This process can cascade leading to disruption and sometimes death of the living cells. Free radicals are created every day during normal metabolism. The body’s cells will sometimes purposely create them in response to toxins such as toxic metals, radiation, herbicides, pesticides and cigarette smoke. Free radical damage accumulates.
Vitamin C also has some other important roles
- It increases iron absorption. Ascorbic Acid prevents the formation of insoluble, unabsorbable iron compounds. It also converts iron into the form required for uptake by the mucosal cells.
- It contributes to the regeneration of the reduced form of vitamin E. This means it helps return vitamin E to its active form. There are distinct pathways for the repair of oxidised vitamin E in human cells There is significant interaction between the water soluble and fat soluble molecules and the membrane- cytosol interface and that vitamin C may function in vivo to repair the membrane bound oxidised vitamin E
- Contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue by helping to synthesise carnitine, required to produce energy in the cell. Vitamin C is easily absorbed from the intestines and used in the body in about 2 hours and out of the blood in 3-4 hours. For this reason is may be better to take supplements of Vitamin C at 4-hour intervals instead of in one dose. Vitamin C is utilised during stress, if we smoke or take alcohol. Some antibiotics can increase the elimination of Vitamin C from the body. The safe upper limit of vitamin C is set at 2gm, above which people may experience digestive upsets.
Deficiency of Vitamin C
Severe deficiency of Vitamin C is known as scurvy, well known to those sailors at sea for months in the 1700s with no availability of fresh fruit.
Any of the following symptoms may occur with Vitamin C deficiency.
- Bruises easily
- Bleeding Gums
- Fatigue, reduced energy
- Mood changes
- Joint and muscle aching
- Dry hair and skin
- Recurrent infections
- Weakened tooth enamel
Nutrient Reference Value (NRV) for Vitamin C
The daily requirement for vitamin C depends on your age Smokers require 35mg more than non-smokers
This product is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
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