This month Dr. Marita Schauch is extolling the many virtues of Vitamin C!
Every year, especially around November, I find many of my patients doing whatever it takes to prevent their immune systems from surrendering to the common cold or flu. Some of them use Echinacea, others may be increasing their Vitamin D, but there seems to be one common theme in their preventative strategy – supplementing with Vitamin C! Now don’t get me wrong, Vitamin C is an excellent immune booster but it has so many other impressive roles in the body. See my list for all the other reasons that everyone should be taking a daily dose of Vitamin C:
- It is essential for the synthesis of collagen (one of the major components of connective tissue – skin, joints, bones and our blood vessels). The amino acid lysine also plays a role in collagen production.
- Antiviral and antibacterial properties.
- Plays a role in the detoxification of xenobiotic chemicals (environmental toxins).
- Vitamin C may be useful for preventing and/or treating the following conditions: hypertension, atherosclerosis, herpes, wrinkles, sinusitis, constipation, colds, flu, measles, urinary tract infections, muscle cramps, conjunctivitis, depression, asthma, burns, diabetes, gingivitis, infertility, obesity and post-exercise muscle soreness.
- Enhances the absorption of iron.
- Enhances wound healing and repair.
Double Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling has argued that the level of Vitamin C intake needed to promote optimal health is far greater than the RDA and far greater than the amount found in a typical diet. To support this argument, he pointed out that humans are among a small group of species (including monkeys and guinea pigs) that are unable to synthesize Vitamin C. In addition, clinical observations suggest that the capacity to absorb Vitamin C increases during acute illness – such as fighting a cold or the flu. Higher doses of Vitamin C can cause diarrhea but when taken with food it is better tolerated. Or one could take it in 2 or 3 divided doses per day as opposed to once a day.