This text was beforehand printed June 6, 2020, and has been up to date with new info.
Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin present in abundance in vegatables and fruits, is a necessary nutrient that people should get from their weight loss program or dietary supplements. Often known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is probably most well-known for its antioxidant properties — properties it maintains due to a capability to donate electrons to oxidized molecules.
Within the video above, Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D., discusses vitamin C in-depth, protecting all the things from its results on immune operate and viral infections to the bioavailability of various vitamin C varieties and administrations, reminiscent of oral or intravenous — plus rather more. In case you have any curiosity in studying how vitamin C can profit your well being, this video is a must-see.
Vitamin C’s Many Roles in Your Well being
Vitamin C, even in small portions, protects proteins, lipids and even DNA and RNA in your physique from reactive oxygen species which are generated throughout regular metabolism in addition to because of toxin publicity (reminiscent of to cigarette smoke and air air pollution).
Vitamin C can be concerned within the biosynthesis of collagen, carnitine and catecholamines, in response to Patrick, and as such, “vitamin C participates in immune operate, wound therapeutic, fatty acid metabolism, neurotransmitter manufacturing, and blood vessel formation, in addition to different key processes and pathways.”1
Intravenous (IV) vitamin C has additionally proven promise in serving to to deal with viral infections and most cancers, whereas vitamin C can be concerned in the best way your physique processes different nutritional vitamins, reminiscent of vitamin E, which it regenerates from its oxidized kind. Vitamin C additionally makes iron from dietary sources extra bioavailable as a result of it enhances intestine absorption of nonheme iron.2
Vitamin C and Immune Perform
Vitamin C’s function in immune operate is worthy of consideration. “It stimulates the manufacturing of white blood cells, particularly neutrophils, lymphocytes and phagocytes, and promotes the cells’ regular features, reminiscent of their capability to detect, transfer towards and engulf pathogens,” in response to Patrick.3
Vitamin C additionally acts as an antioxidant inside your cells, serving to to guard immune cells from incurring harm, and should promote the manufacturing of interferon, which helps defend in opposition to viruses.
There’s additionally proof that vitamin C could assist in some instances of exercise-induced immune dysfunction. Whereas train is usually useful for immune operate, over-exercise or repeated high-intensity coaching can take a toll on the immune system. Within the case of marathon runners, skiers and troopers, for example, those that used supplemental vitamin C had 50% fewer colds.4
Vitamin C’s anti-cold results are amongst its most-studied makes use of, and analysis means that utilizing vitamin C prophylactically in addition to therapeutically on the onset of chilly signs could cut back signs and chilly length.5 It might even be helpful in opposition to COVID-19.
In my March 17, 2020, interview with Dr. Andrew Saul, editor-in-chief of Orthomolecular Drugs Information Service, he mentions being involved with a South Korean medical physician who’s giving sufferers and medical employees an injection of 100,000 IUs of vitamin D together with as a lot as 24,000 mg (24 grams) of IV vitamin C. “He is reporting that these persons are getting properly in a matter of days,” Saul says.
As defined by Saul, vitamin C at extraordinarily excessive doses acts as an antiviral drug, really killing viruses. Whereas it does have anti-inflammatory exercise, which helps stop the large cytokine cascade related to extreme SARS-CoV-2 an infection, its antiviral capability doubtless has extra to do with it being a non-rate-limited free radical scavenger.
Patrick additionally famous that vitamin C could also be protecting in opposition to respiratory ailments. In a single examine, individuals with the very best vitamin C ranges have been 15% much less more likely to develop respiratory situations and 46% much less more likely to die of lung most cancers in comparison with these with the bottom ranges.6
Additional, vitamin C is well-known for serving to with lung protection, which takes on renewed which means within the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In accordance with Patrick:7
“The innate immune system of the lungs is an integral part of the physique’s protection system, defending the physique in opposition to publicity to inhaled oxidants and pathogens … Vitamin C’s lung protection capability is evidenced by strong information suggesting that vitamin C consumption protects in opposition to persistent obstructive pulmonary illness, pulmonary fibrosis, and different respiratory sicknesses, together with lung most cancers.
However this attribute takes on particular relevance in mild of current considerations about problems related to COVID-19, reminiscent of pneumonia and acute lung damage, which regularly necessitate mechanical air flow help.
Epidemiological and observational information point out that larger vitamin C consumption is related to a decrease threat of growing pneumonia, and the vitamin has additionally confirmed to be efficient at reducing the length for which sufferers are stored on mechanical air flow, particularly amongst sufferers who require greater than 24 hours of respiration help.”
Vitamin C and Most cancers
One other thrilling space of vitamin C analysis entails most cancers. Analysis means that IV vitamin C could lengthen survival in comparison with chemotherapy alone, even for pancreatic and ovarian cancers, that are among the many deadliest. Patrick mentions two research in sufferers with pancreatic most cancers, which discovered intravenous vitamin C helped cut back tumor dimension and promote longer progression-free survival.8
Vitamin C additionally results in improved high quality of life for most cancers sufferers. In a single examine of 39 sufferers recognized with terminal most cancers, IV vitamin C led to enhancements in bodily, emotional and cognitive standing in addition to reductions in fatigue, nausea, vomiting, ache and urge for food loss.9
Since typical most cancers therapies typically result in important unwanted side effects, together with bodily, emotional, cognitive and sexual impairments, utilizing vitamin C as an adjunct to enhance high quality of life could be a important enchancment.
Vitamin C for Coronary heart and Mind Well being
Patrick’s video additionally goes into the function vitamin C performs as a cardioprotective agent, in addition to a mediator of mind well being. For starters, vitamin C is thought to guard in opposition to hypertension, in addition to cut back blood strain in individuals with hypertension or prehypertension.10
Vitamin C additionally reveals promise as a therapy for ischemia and perfusion damage, which might happen following a coronary heart assault or stroke, resulting in elevated irritation and oxidative harm. “Vitamin C is likely to be efficient at lowering myocardial damage partially by mitigating oxidative stress,” Patrick defined.11 In your mind, vitamin C can be important. In accordance with Patrick:12
“Vitamin C is present in excessive concentrations within the mind, particularly within the hippocampus and frontal cortex areas – areas concerned in reminiscence consolidation, studying, and elements of government operate.
The truth is, in a traditional instance of the physique triaging sources based mostly on wants, the mind retains vitamin C throughout occasions of deficiency on the expense of different tissues. That is essential to our survival: Proof means that vitamin C performs roles within the mind all through the lifespan from growth by means of older age.”
As a consequence of vitamin C’s antioxidant properties, it might assist lower the chance of neurodegenerative situations like Alzheimer’s illness, Parkinson’s illness, Huntington’s illness and a number of sclerosis as a result of it reduces oxidative harm. “Vitamin C can be necessary for the regulation of neurotransmitters, the formation of neural circuits, and plenty of different key mind features,” Patrick says.13
Vitamin C as a ‘Treatment-All’
Patrick describes double Nobel Prize laureate Dr. Linus Pauling’s 1970 publication on vitamin C and the frequent chilly because the impetus that introduced vitamin C into the realm of a cure-all within the minds of most people. Whereas that is an exaggeration — vitamin C cannot treatment all the things — it is really exceptional what number of totally different situations seem like benefited by vitamin C. Except for being an antioxidant and anti-infective agent, Patrick describes vitamin C’s advantages for:
Fatty acid oxidation
Myocarditis in youngsters
Epstein-Barr virus an infection
Fertility and replica
Lung most cancers
Widespread chilly and different respiratory ailments
Vitamin C Bioavailability Varies by Type
There are variations within the bioavailability of vitamin C relying on its kind. Each frequency and dose of vitamin C will have an effect on your ranges, however so too will taking it in oral or IV kind.
“For instance, oral vitamin C is absorbed within the small gut through specialised transporters which are topic to saturation, however intravenous vitamin C bypasses the intestine, reaching blood and tissue concentrations which are markedly larger than these achieved with the oral kind,” Patrick explains.14
IV vitamin C could result in blood concentrations as much as 70 occasions larger than an equal oral dose.15 That being stated, liposomal vitamin C, during which vitamin C is encapsulated in a lipid particle, could enhance bioavailability of oral vitamin C significantly.
“A number of research counsel that oral bioavailability of vitamin C could be elevated when consumed in liposomal kind, which exerts a novel profile of oral bioavailability,” Patrick says, citing a examine of 20 individuals who got a 10-gram dose of free oral vitamin C or liposomal vitamin C.16
“The common peak plasma focus of vitamin C within the individuals who took the free kind was roughly 180 micromoles per liter of blood. Nevertheless, amongst those that took the liposomal kind, the common peak plasma focus was 300 micromoles per liter of blood, a 70 p.c distinction,” she stated.17
I strongly consider that liposomal vitamin C is a should on your medication package to be pulled out for acute viral sicknesses. If I have been to turn into acutely in poor health, I might take 4 grams of liposomal vitamin C each hour till feeling higher, then begin reducing the dosage slowly over a number of days as soon as signs enhance.
Finest Meals Sources of Vitamin C
I personally solely take 100 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C complement and solely when I haven’t got common entry to contemporary acerola cherries. I’ve a number of bushes on my property that often have a harvest each few weeks for 9 months of the 12 months. Every cherry has 80 mg of vitamin C, so I can simply rise up to 10 grams on days that I eat the cherries.
All kinds of meals are excessive in vitamin C, together with pink pepper, parsley, broccoli, kiwi, strawberries, guava, tomato and all citrus fruits. You will get important quantities of vitamin C out of your weight loss program in case you eat these meals each day.
Take into account, nonetheless, that cooking destroys about 25% of the vitamin C current in meals.18 Luckily, many vitamin C-rich meals are generally eaten uncooked. In the event you’re wholesome, or have solely delicate sickness, you may actually use a lot of these entire meals, they usually could even be preferable, however if you wish to deal with sickness, your greatest wager is to make use of vitamin C in complement kind, both liposomal or IV. Additional, in response to Patrick:19
“It’s noteworthy that some scientists consider that compelling proof helps rising the RDA for vitamin C to 200 milligrams per day for adults. Whereas the aim of the present suggestions is to scale back the chance of scurvy, larger consumption might saturate tissue ranges, doubtlessly lowering the chance of persistent situations reminiscent of coronary heart illness, stroke, most cancers, and metabolic dysfunction.”
Sure populations, together with individuals who smoke, devour alcohol or have inflammatory bowel illness, might have elevated consumption of vitamin C, however some analysis suggests vitamin C deficiency could also be extra frequent than realized.
“Curiously, a population-based cross-sectional examine of practically 150 sufferers admitted to a big educating hospital in Canada discovered that 60 p.c of the sufferers had suboptimal plasma vitamin C ranges and 19 p.c have been poor, with ranges approaching these related to scurvy,” Patrick famous.20 It is clear that vitamin C is one nutrient everybody ought to you should definitely get sufficient of, however in case you’re acutely in poor health, vitamin C turns into much more necessary.
“Vitamin C is likely to be particularly useful for critically in poor health individuals, significantly these with viral infections, who generally have decrease blood ranges of vitamin C in comparison with wholesome individuals,” Patrick says. So along with consuming loads of vitamin C-rich meals day by day, maintain vitamin C in thoughts throughout occasions of sickness. Luckily, Patrick provides, “With some exceptions, oral and intravenous vitamin C supplementation have been proven to be secure, well-tolerated, and have low toxicity.”21