When we are run down, stressed, or actually sick, our bodies burn through vitamin C at an alarming rate. Once your vitamin C levels drop, your immune system becomes more compromised which could lead to other health issues.
This explains why we are able to tolerate much larger than normal doses of vitamin C than we would normally require when we have a cold or flu or other infections.
Interestingly, in healthy people who regularly consume vegetables and some fruits and/or supplement with vitamin C, recommended vitamin C levels are around 70 micromoles per liter yet these levels drop precipitously when we have a health problem. For example, these levels drop to:
42 in diabetics
31 during pneumonia
<24 in cancer patients
27 in arthritic patients
Oxidative stress and systemic inflammation will also deplete vitamin C levels.
As these levels drop our immune function will also suffer.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C at 90 mg. is enough to prevent scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency but woefully too low to provide optimal levels of this vitamin.
I recommend 500-1000 mg/day of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) which is 5-11 times the recommended RDA. Regular, inexpensive ascorbic acid is all that is necessary and don’t get caught up in all of the advertising hype about fancy and much more expensive forms of vitamin C being better or more bioavailable.
Vitamin C is protective on so many levels. In addition to strongly supporting immune function, other proven benefits are:
1- Protects against CVD (Cardiovascular Disease)
2- Reduces the risk of stroke
3- Protects our cells against radiation damage
4- Protects against damage to our DNA
5- Beneficial adjunctive cancer therapy (intravenous Vitamin C is often given to cancer patients).
6- Beneficial anti-inflammatory
7- Powerful antioxidant that also protects and restores other antioxidants
8- Protects connective tissue, bones, arteries and skin
9- Crucially beneficial to wound healing
10- May reduce the duration and severity of the common cold and in higher doses may reduce flu symptoms
Vitamin C is one of the most important supplements to include in your diet to keep your body functioning properly. Whether you eat lots of fruits and vegetables or take it in caplet or powdered form, make sure to get at least 500-1,000 mg. double that if you are a smoker or drinker and don’t be afraid to really increase your intake when you are sick.
To the Best of Health,
Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.
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