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Vitamin C, otherwise known as L-ascorbic acid, is an essential vitamin that is not produced organically by our bodies. It is absorbed into our bodies through various fruits, vegetables, or supplements. It’s probably most famous for the prevention of the common cold, scurvy, and as an antioxidant, but it’s benefits may not stop there!
How The Body Utilizes Vitamin C
According to the Mayo Clinic, l-ascorbic acid is an important vitamin that aids in the formation of collagen, blood vessels, muscle, and skin tissue. It is considered a free radical, an antioxidant important to the prevention of most forms of cancer (1).
Vitamin C is a nutrient that the body can neither manufacture nor store. It is water soluble and must be ingested daily from fruits and vegetables, preferably raw: Processes such as cooking can greatly reduce C content in food.
Another way to get your daily C is through a supplement. After ingestion, ascorbic acid is processed and distributed throughout the body via the digestive tract, as most vitamins and minerals are. However, excess C is mostly removed through the body’s waste. It mostly can not be stored in body fat, or organs and tissue.
On a side note, I wish pizza and ice cream wasn’t stored in our body fat, like vitamin C!
What Are The Benefits of C?
Vitamin C helps in the formation and upkeep of soft tissue, as well as the prevention of scurvy, and can aid in the prevention of the common cold. What else can this super nutrient do? According to studies, ascorbic acid can help substantially with the following:
Immune System Support: Stress is a major health risk in our lives, especially with chronic illness. Few things can trigger a flare like stress. That’s because it can weaken the body’s immune system, creating all sorts of havoc with our health. Vitamin C is a reliable and effective means to boost the immune system, helping to stave off infections, colds and even protect against stress.
Colds: There really is no proof that C can cure the common cold. On the other hand, high doses of C can prevent complications from a cold, such as pneumonia. Taking Vitamin C daily can also offer protection from germs that cause cold and flu.
Skin Aging: Ever wonder why so many skin and beauty care products have large amounts of Vitamin C? It’s because C is vital in the development and restoration of soft tissue, such as collagen and skin. C helps restore cells both inside and out, leaving one with healthy looking skin with less wrinkling! It may also help reduce the effects of macular degeneration, reduce inflammation, and as an antioxidant, it can help lower risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease(2).
Sepsis: According to a study on sepsis, over 6 million people die per year due to Sepsis. Sepsis is a condition resulting from microorganisms infecting the blood. It almost always leads to shock, organ failure, and death. According to studies recently published by the NIH, it is possible that high doses of vitamin c can help reduce the chances of shock and organ failure through parenteral administration (3).
MCAS: Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, or MCAS, can be debilitating. Often discussed in the Zebra Pit, MCAS sufferers are many times hit with histamine overloads, simply because their bodies have stopped producing histamine blockers. These events can have devastating effects on the body, such as anaphylactic shock. MCAS has also been studied for it’s role in other diseases that can arise from compromised immune systems, such as cancer, heart disease, and asthma. Furthermore, it is linked to other chronic disorders such as autism, EDS, mood disorders, and POTS. (4) How does Vitamin C help? I’m glad you asked!
As well as being an antioxidant known for soft tissue building and helping to heal and prevent infections, ascorbic acid can also be used as an antihistamine. This means that C can be quite useful in providing competition against histamines that would otherwise take over histamine receptors in a cell. While it may not stop the degranulation process once started, C can help to prevent complications arising from MCAS attacks by further bolstering the immune system (5).
Vitamin C is Amazing! How Much Do I Take?
According to the NIH, Adults over the age of 19 need 90mg per day for males, 75mg per day for females. However, ascorbic acid requirements can differ from person to person. For example, in this table published by the NIH, dosage requirements are higher for smokers, as the use of nicotine can leech vitamin C from the blood stream. Always check with your doctor before starting a supplement. A health caregiver should be able to determine what is appropriate for you based on your age, as well as health and environmental criteria (6).
Since Vitamin C can’t be stored in the body like some nutrients, it’s almost impossible to take too much. However high doses can cause heartburn or diarrhea. Generally, doses used to boost the immune system or to help mitigate histamine overload, a dose of 1,000 mg is usually taken and you can work your way up to a full dose if heartburn or diarrhea occur.
DO YOU C WHAT I C?
Vitamin C in my mind at least, is one of nature’s wonder drugs. It’s an anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, and antioxidant all rolled into one. My wife and I both take 1,000mg per day and have seen a reduction in the number of flus, colds and infections we see at our house. It also helps my wife manage her MCAS, and may offer added support for her delicate hEDS affected soft-tissues.
In our experience, everything the research offers holds true: It bolsters the immune system. It helps improve soft tissues. It can help prevent infections, as well as lessen the effects and complication of infections. It even does my dishes! Okay, maybe it doesn’t do the dishes, but it does help me stay healthy so I can do the dishes. 😉
Here are a few links to our favorite brands in tablet and powder form, which makes it more affordable to buy in bulk if taking higher doses and can also be mixed into skin creams and lotions just before applying them.
- Bronson Vitamin C 1000 mg Premium Non-GMO Ascorbic Acid, 250 Tablets
- NOW Vitamin C-1000 Sustained Release,250 Tablets
- Bronson Vitamin C Powder Pure Ascorbic Acid Soluble Fine Non GMO Crystals
- Doctor’s Best Vitamin C with Quali-C 1000 mg, Non-GMO, Vegan
Do you take Vitamin C? What have you noticed about how it helps your health? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
C you later!
Resources and Related Materials:
- Mayo Clinic. Vitamin C.
- WebMD. The Benefits of Vitamin C.
- Sven-Olaf Kuhn, MD, et al. Vitamin C in Sepsis. NCBI. February, 2018.
- Jill Carnahan, MCAS: When Histamine Goes Haywire.
- Volbracht, Claudia. Intravenous vitamin C in the treatment of allergies: an interim subgroup analysis of a long-term observational study.
- NIH. Vitamin C Factsheet for Health Professionals.
- Institute of Medicine. 2000. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
- Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia. Vitamin C.
David Curtis lives in Florence, KY with his wife Michelle, 2 Russian Blue cats and his many fish. David manages the pet department of a prominent retail chain in addition to caring for his wife, pets and home. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, exploring history, watching football, sci-fi, fantasy or comic book shows and film, along with fighting for truth, justice, and the human condition. Much like Tyrion Lannister, he also drinks (coffee) and knows things.