You probably don’t know many of these facts—as a clinical nutritionist, I should, but I didn’t. My interest in the benefits of vitamin C increased recently because of facts that Bill Sardi brought to light about improved health span and longevity related to this humble vitamin.
Most people only know that vitamin C can help prevent colds, as well as shorten their duration and reduce their severity. I was aware that vitamin C (also known as “ascorbic acid”) did more than that, but I was blown away when I started poking through the research on the government database, PubMed.com. I would enter the search “vitamin C” and whatever condition popped into my head. I did not find a single condition that was not improved by having adequate blood levels of vitamin C. In fact, each study lead to two more topics. I had to just quit if I was going to finish this blog.
The items below are just the beginning. Next week, I will discuss: Aging, Allergies, Alzheimer’s, Bleeding Gums, Diabetes, Gallbladder Stones, Glaucoma, and Protection from Toxic Drug Effects. Gosh, it may take more than two weeks because I should also cover why we may not have enough, even with the best diet and typical supplementation. Then there is the good news that we can restore the body’s ability to make vitamin C from blood sugar as most animals do. If you want to skip ahead and understand that now, read this Whole Foods Magazine interview with Bill Sardi. 😊
- Stroke. In a large study, middle-aged men with the lowest plasma levels of vitamin C were more than twice as likely to experience a stroke!
- Female nurses who took vitamin C supplements had a 30 % lower risk of Heart Attack! Based on that stat, something like 300,000 lives per year could be saved each year if everyone supplemented with vitamin C.
- This review of studies stated: “Vitamin C has been shown to be an effective therapeutic for reducing total serum cholesterol”. They determined that doses of at least 500 mg / day significantly reduced LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. The elevating effect on HDL was not significant at this dose. (I’m guessing it might be at higher doses.)
- Clogging of the arteries (atherosclerosis) can be caused in animals by greatly increasing their cholesterol. In one study, doses of vitamin C that are a human equivalent of about 10,000 mg / day significantly reduced the arterial plaque.
- Congestive Heart failure (CHF) is extremely serious and hard to treat. An animal study showed that out of hundreds of agents tested, only vitamin C could enable stem cells to become heart muscle. In another study it was demonstrated that vitamin C can help patients with CHF by suppressing the signal for cells within blood vessel linings to essentially kill themselves.
- Vitamin C helps the function of most types of immune cells. A recent Journal Article stated that “supplementation with vitamin Cappears to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections”. Authors noted that “saturation”, not just “adequate amounts” [according to whom?] might be needed, especially to fight existing infections.
- Going well beyond the head cold, vitamin C is valued in more progressive cancer Several studies show that administering it intravenously helps chemotherapy work better and protects healthy cells from the effects of radiation.
- “Sepsis” is a grave condition caused by the body’s overly enthusiastic response to an infection. In the US, it affects more than a million people a year and for 25% or more of those it is fatal. New research found that adding vitamin C and vitamin B1 to the intravenous hydrocortisone the hospital mortality rate dropped from 40.4% to 8.5%!
That last item is the only one I heard about on the news (NPR). Shame on the media!
I once asked two time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling, how much vitamin C he took per day. As I recall, he answered “I take 14,000 mg a day now, but when I get old I will take more.” He was in his 80’s at the time. 😊 In response to this blog I heard from someone who knew him in his 90’s. Apparently then he was taking 16,000 mg a day. (Sometimes folks get tunnel vision. I hope he was also taking zinc and other needed nutrients.)