Functions of Vitamin C
The biggest function of vitamin C is its antioxidant property. Vitamin C protects our DNA, RNA, protein, fat, and carbohydrates from oxidation substances such as reactive oxygen and free radicals. Reactive oxygen and free radicals can lead to cancer, aging, or many other diseases. Reactive oxygen and free radicals are the substances which are produced in a process of the normal metabolism, but they can be produced much more if you smoke, exercise excessively, or take many medications. If you were a smoker, you might need more antioxidants, including vitamin C, than non-smoking people.
Vitamin C is necessary for producing collagen fiber. Most collagen fibers are major components in skin, bones, teeth, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is extremely useful for people who are recovering from broken bones or any injuries, as well as for people who want healthier skin.
Vitamin C is needed a lot more during the cold season because it boosts immunity. Vitamin C activates white blood cells, increases interferon, and heals mucous membranes in order to strengthen immunity.
Lack of Vitamin C
It is known that the terrible disease called scurvy is caused by lack of vitamin C. Its symptoms are bleeding from various organs, bruises, swelling and bleeding from the gums, losing hair or teeth, joint pain or swelling, and fatigue. The causes could be lack of vitamin C, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, stress, aging, low gastric acid, rheumatoid arthritis, post operation, and cancer. Oral contraceptive pills and aspirins are known to reduce blood levels of vitamin C.
Side Effects of Vitamin C
Taking too much vitamin C (more than 2000mg at a time) can cause diarrhea and bloating. If you are experiencing these reactions, try buffered form of vitamin C.
Most vegetables and fruits contain vitamin C, particularly bell peppers, melons, berries, papayas, tomatoes, parsley, green vegetables, strawberries, cabbages, and turnips. Fresh vegetables and fruits are the best because vitamin C is lost with time and heat in the cooking process.
Intake of Vitamin C
The RDA (recommended daily allowance) is 90-125mg, but it is also said that you need 1000mg a day to protect yourself from reactive oxygen and free radicals. You need 3000mg of vitamin C a day if you are or have been a smoker. The effective amount to prevent catching a cold is 1000 to 2000mg a day. If you have already caught a cold, take 500mg every two hours for a quick recovery.
Vitamin C for Therapy
Naturopathic doctors like myself often use vitamin C for vascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, colds, glaucoma, cataracts, asthma, and allergies. Make sure to be advised by physicians who know nutrition and natural therapy if you would like to take vitamin C for therapeutic purposes.