Does vitamin C really that important?

The vitamin C is water soluble, that is to say, it is soluble in water. Although most mammals can synthesize it, the human body has lost its capacity during evolution. He must, therefore, draw it from the food every day.

            Vitamin C is absorbed mainly by the small intestine and, in much smaller quantity, in the mouth and stomach; It is eliminated by urine. In the body, it is mostly present in the lens of the eye, white blood cells, pituitary gland, adrenal glands, and brain.

           The vitamin C is involved in hundreds of processes in the body. One of these main functions is to help the body make collagen, a protein essential to the formation of the connective tissue of the skin, ligaments, and bones. It also helps maintain immune function, activates wound healing, participates in the formation of red blood cells and increases the absorption of iron contained in plants.

One of the other important roles of vitamin C is its antioxidant effect which protects the cells against damage inflicted by free radicals.

Food sources of vitamin C

vitamin C

          The most colorful, raw fruits and vegetables contain the most vitamin C: red pepper, orange, lemon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, raspberry, strawberry, broccoli, tomato, etc.

          Generally, the consumption of at least 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables is sufficient to meet the recommended dietary intake of vitamin C.

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       Air, water, and heat can destroy vitamin C in food. To preserve vitamin C in foods, it is, therefore, advisable to cook the vegetables quickly in the least amount of water possible (steaming and microwave, for example).

Vitamin C deficiency

          A significant deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy, which is manifested by inflammation and bleeding of the gums, wounds that do not heal and generalized weakness. It is rare in the West because a 10 mg daily intake is sufficient to prevent this disease.

People eating few fresh products are likely to lack vitamin C.

History of vitamin C

            The symptoms of vitamin C deficiency were already known 1500 BCE and were described by Aristotle. Scurvy mainly affected long-term sailors, deprived of fruits and vegetables for long periods. Its outcome was often fatal to the XVIIIth  century, during which it was discovered that the lemon consumption prevented the disease.

            In 1928, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi isolated vitamin C, which he called “antisorbutic,” or ascorbic acid. This discovery won him a Nobel Prize in 1938. It was the year of the first synthesis of a vitamin for commercial purposes.

            The Vitamin C is probably the most consumed in the West charge, but its road map includes several controversies. In 1960 Linus Pauling, a Nobel Prize winner, claimed that high doses (2 g or more per day) of vitamin C could treat colds and cancer. Many later research, these two claims are still disputed

What is ascorbic?

                The discovery of ascorbic acid and its identification as the anti-scorbutic substance vitamin C in 1933 literally launched thousands of medical research projects on practically every known disease and pathologic condition.

                Here was a newly discovered substance of extremely unusual medicinal properties with almost magical curative properties for scurvy. A person at death’s door from scurvy could be miraculously returned to health in a few days with a few specks of ascorbic acid.

                The number of medical research papers published and the variety of diseases covered in the flood of research triggered by this discovery were to great that five years later, in 1938, a contemporary author remarked, “So many papers have now been published on this subject that it is difficult to find a single ailment to which the human or animal body is prone that has not been investigated.” In 1938 and again in 1939, over six hundred medical research papers on ascorbic acid were published throughout the world.

               In reviewing this tremendous volume of medical literature, one is struck by the dominating influence that the nutritional and vitamin aspects of ascorbic acid had on most of these medical investigators. This was due to their thorough indoctrination in the vitamins C hypothysis. For them, the antiscorbutic substance could only be a vitamin, and scurvy was just a dietary irregularity.

              They also knew that the merest trace of ascorbic acid, a few milligrams a day, would serve as a curative dose for scurvy. Thus, when they tackled other diseases in the early 1930s, they used dosage levels found satisfactory for scurvy. While many of the therapeutic results indicated encouraging good effects, just as many showed a lack of this low-dosage bias that throws grave doubts on the usefulness of the clinical results reported over the next several decades.

              These early investigators also had practical reasons for using the low dosage levels. In the early 1930s, ascorbic acid was a relatively rare and expensive commodity which was rationed by the early sources of supply.

              Investigators were limited by availability and could not have given bigger doses, even if they had wanted to. In the late 1930s, scarcity was not longer a problem since large-scale synthetic production was getting underway and there was a substantial drop in prices. But the low-dosage tests continued.

              In those early days, therapeutic doses of 50 to 100 milligrams per day were considered “large,” and by vitamin criteria they were. It is thoroughly disheartening, however, to go through the later literature and find in paper after paper, in spite of the early lack of success, the continued use of these low-dosage levels. These workers repeated and repeated the early mistake of using ineffective, small dosages. Hardly anyone was inspired to increase the dosages and test higher levels to see if they were more effective. This situation is even stranger when we remember that ascorbic acid is a substance with virtually no toxicity, so there was no danger from a substantial dosage increase. These workers were so imbued with the “vitamin” mental block prevented them from applying the common principle of pharmacology of adjusting the dosage level to get the effect desired. They thought of ascorbic acid as a “vitamin” and as a “vitamin.” they expected miracles from trace amounts. What was needed was “medication,” not “alimentation,” but this simple fact escaped the majorityof investigators.

               Successful therapy with ascorbic acid was reported, but only in the work of a few investigators who used sufficiently high dosages of many grams per day.

             These rare individuals were the ones who provided the foundations of megascorbic therapy, which have to be more thoroughly extended and explored. The genetic disease concept now provides a clear and definite rationale for the use of these multigram doses.

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