Integrative health experts have long maintained that a vitamin C deficiency can increase the risk of serious conditions such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. In fact, according to the Environmental Working Group, up to 40 percent of the U.S. population (alone) suffer from inadequate levels of this essential nutrient – which sets the stage for chronic inflammation and disease. Now, a new study sheds light on the relationship between vitamin C status and physical and mental well-being. No doubt, this is one of those news stories that will never get adequately covered by mainstream media outlets that take their marching orders from the pharmaceutical industry.
Health ALERT: Most adults studied had inadequate levels of vitamin C
In the study, newly-published in Nutrients, over 400 50-year-old men and women in Canterbury, New Zealand, were assessed for their vitamin C levels and dietary intake. After participants completed a food diary for four days, researchers assessed their general well-being with a battery of tests that measured attention and concentration, executive functions, memory, language and conceptual thinking. Researchers reported that the participants’ average fasting vitamin C concentration was 44.2 micromoles per liter – well below the 50 micromoles considered adequate. In fact, 63 percent of the participants were classified as having inadequate levels of vitamin C.
Even more shocking: 13 percent of the participants had hypovitaminois – classified as less than 23 micromoles of vitamin C per liter – a level that researchers noted could cause slow wound healing, excessive bruising and fatigue. And 2.4 percent, with levels under 11 micromoles, were clinically deficient – and actually at risk for scurvy. Only 7 percent of the participants had optimal vitamin C levels of 70 micromoles and above. When the researchers compared the participants’ vitamin C status with measures of health and well-being, an interesting pattern emerged.
Higher vitamin C levels tied to overall better health
Adults with higher vitamin C levels had lower body weight, smaller waist circumference and healthier blood levels of insulin and triglycerides – factors that reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Researchers noticed that these healthier biological markers may be due to vitamin C’s ability to modulate the inflammatory effect of adipose tissue. In addition, in a recent study published in Journal of Nutrition, researchers reported that sedentary and obese adults who took a daily 500-mg vitamin C supplement lost an average of 13 pounds! Maybe all those weight loss companies should be pushing vitamin C – instead of all those “low calorie” (artificially-sweetened) toxic, processed foods.
And this was not the only interesting finding.
Participants with poor vitamin C status were not only at increased risk for diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity – but were also more likely to suffer from memory loss and poor concentration. In fact, participants with measurements of under 23 micromoles were twice as likely to suffer from cognitive impairment as those with healthy levels. Additional studies support vitamin C’s ability to help prevent neurodegenerative disorders, and the problems that can accompany deficiencies. In one study, researchers found that vitamin C deficiency caused increased accumulation of amyloid plaque – a protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Recent Chinese research showed that vitamin C has a significant neuroprotective effect, while a 2015 study suggested that consuming vitamin C-rich orange juice could reduce rates of cognitive decline.
Vitamin C is absolutely indispensable for body functions
Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, is a cofactor for many critical enzymes and reactions in the body. Collagen, the body’s most important structural substance and connective tissue, can’t be formed without vitamin C – which strengthens arteries and veins, supports muscles, maintains bones, produces scar tissue for wounds and keeps skin tissues soft and pliable. Vitamin C is also essential for the digestion of food and the metabolizing of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. In addition, it neutralizes toxins and helps to eliminate heavy metals – while regulating immune system defense and the mobilization of infection-fighting white blood cells.
An effective natural diuretic, vitamin C is also strongly antioxidant, antiseptic and antibacterial. At high doses, it’s actually an effective antiviral agent. Noted biochemist and early vitamin C pioneer Irwin Stone reported that suboptimal amounts of vitamin C during early and middle life could raise the risk of arthritis, hip fractures, heart disease and stroke in later life.
WARNING: Dietary intake (alone) of vitamin C is not enough
Unlike other animals, humans can’t manufacture vitamin C in the liver. This indispensable nutrient must be obtained through diet. Currently, the Institutes of Medicine recommend 90 mg a day for adults – a ridiculously low amount. Yet, public health ‘experts’ continue to maintain that adequate vitamin C can be obtained from fruits and vegetables – but this is doubtful. Although the study participants had an average intake of 110 mg a day – an amount that “should” have provided adequate plasma concentrations – a significant proportion of them had inadequate blood levels, leading researchers to conclude that plasma levels of vitamin C were more significant than dietary intake. Although Western medicine considers 70 micromoles per liter of vitamin C to be optimal, higher levels may be needed for disease prevention. And, higher levels are certainly required when dealing with serious health issues like heart disease and cancer.
According to Irwin Stone, consuming 500 mg of vitamin C – every four to six hours can achieve blood levels of over 220 micromoles – a level at which it can begin to kill cancer cells. Of course, if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer – always work with a medical provider that appreciates the value of nutritional therapies. Keep in mind, many integrative health experts recommend vitamin C doses as high as 10,000 mg a day – especially if major health issues are present. Bottom line, there are many factors, including stress, injury, chronic disease, poor food choices and smoking cigarettes that can deplete vitamin C within the body. In light of this fact – and the importance of maintaining optimal levels — supplementation is a wise move.
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