This is what happens when you don’t get enough Vitamin C

This is what happens when you don’t get enough Vitamin C

 


Did you know that in a cross-sectional study performed in 2009, 1 in 7 of non-smoking Canadian adults (ages 20-29) had serum vitamin C deficiency (<11 µmol/L), 1 in 3 had sub-optimal Vitamin C levels, and only 53% had adequate serum vitamin C levels (>28 µmol/L)? 


You may be deficient in vitamin C if you have the following symptoms or/and health conditions:

  • Anemia
  • Catch infections, colds, flu, or viruses easily
  • Bleeding gums and nose
  • Skin issues (bruises easily, thinning or premature aging)
  • Scurvy
  • Poor wound, cuts, and sore healing
  • Capillary hemorrhage (especially skin and eyes)
  • Muscle degeneration
  • “Fleeting” pains in joints or legs, joint tenderness
  • Fragile bones
  • Excessive hair loss
  • Atherosclerotic plaques
  • Neurotic disturbances (restlessness, irritability, listlessness, lack of endurance, tire easily)

What is vitamin C?

It is a water-soluble vitamin (aka ascorbic acid) that cannot be synthesized by the body. Therefore its effective concentration in the body depends on how effectively Vitamin C is absorbed in foods from the intestine and how much it is excreted from the kidneys.

Dietary Sources of vitamin C:

  • Highest source found per 100 grams of sweet peppers and guava (~300% of daily value)
  • Also found in citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, turnip, Indian gooseberry, and other leafy vegetables (especially kale)

What contributes to your root cause of Vitamin C deficiency?

  • Inadequate intake of foods containing Vitamin C
  • Stress
  • Alcohol intake
  • Smoking
  • Fever
  • Viral illnesses
  • Antibiotics
  • Pain killers
  • Environmental toxins

What does vitamin C do in your body at the cellular/metabolic level?

  • Activation of the B vitamin folic acid (important in the production and maintenance of new cells)
  • Synthesis of muscle carnitine (required for energy production)
  • Increases diamine oxidase that breaks down excess histamine (involved in allergies)
  • Crucial maintenance of collagen (1/3 of the total body protein)
  • Conversion of cholesterol to bile acids (lowers blood cholesterol levels)
  • Converts tryptophan to serotonin (happy hormone)
  • Conversion of neurotransmitter dopamine to norepinephrine (“fight and flight” hormone)
  • Increases absorption of non-heme iron (plant sources) in the gut
  • An anti-oxidant that protects that body from free radicals, pollutants, metals, and toxins
  • A pro-oxidant of tumor cells

What are some ways vitamin C can be used clinically to help with your health concerns?

  • Reduces the severity and duration of symptoms associated with the common cold
  • Potential preventative or therapeutic effects against pneumonia
  • Shown to be useful in tissue healing and wound repair, especially before and after surgery
  • Improves fertility in males and increases progesterone levels in infertile women with luteal phase defect
  • Decrease risk factors associated with atherosclerosis and diabetes
  • Treatment for Cancer and Sepsis  (massive immune response to bacterial infection that gets in the blood)
  • Beneficial in various immune and inflammatory conditions
  • Protective function against age related cognitive decline (i.e. Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Beneficial effects for Schizophrenics (including those undergoing treatment with drugs)

Safety of vitamin C supplementation in clinical practice:

  • In excess (2-6 grams per day) can cause gastrointestinal disturbances or diarrhea, nothing too serious since the excess is excreted from the kidneys every 2-3 hours. Most people can tolerate at least 15 grams a day!
  • Recent clinical study showed safety in intravenous vitamin C in people with brain cancer
  • At high dose, may cause hemolytic anemia in people that are deficient in G6PD
  • May cause oxidative damage in individuals with high iron

What form of Vitamin C should you take?

  • Ascorbic Acid: may be beneficial for those with no gastrointestinal problems
  • Mineral Absorbates:  may be beneficial for those with gastrointestinal problems and mineral deficiencies 
  • Vitamin C with bioflavonoids: may be beneficial for those with cardiovascular issues
  • Liposomal: may be beneficial for those with acute health conditions as it’s absorptive capacity into the cells is the highest (rare to find on the shelf, contact me if you want this version)
  • Intravenous: may be beneficial for those with serious health conditions (i.e. cancer, sepsis) as its increases blood levels the best

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3783921/

http://www.andjrnl.org/article/S0002-8223(96)00190-3/abstract

https://ccforum.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13054-014-0460-x

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-03/cp-hdo032317.php

http://pepsico.ca/en/downloads/New_Study_finds_1_in_7_young_Canadian_adults_vitamin_C_deficient_ENGLISH.pdf

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005532.pub3/abstract;jsessionid=17ECF1CC70AC4DBB1B42EA0FF29B982D.f03t02

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