Don’t Fall Apart! Vitamin C in the Body

Don’t Fall Apart!  Vitamin C in the Body

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C for Crucial

It is common for people to buy ascorbic acid when they are sick, but few really understand the important role of vitamin C in the human body. Ascorbic acid has “officially” been labeled as vitamin C but it is simply an isolated part of a dynamic molecule. Parts do not function as a whole!

While scurvy is rare, inadequate amounts of vitamin C are common. Deficiency symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness, joint and muscle aches, bleeding or receding gums, bruising easily, osteoporosis, sagging skin, premature aging, leg rashes, high blood pressure, depression, anemia, heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C is crucial for human health yet humans are one of the few mammals unable to manufacture ascorbic acid in their liver. We must consume fresh vegetables and fruits on a daily basis to meet our vitamin C requirements.

C for Collagen

Collagen is found in fibrous tissues such as skin (inside and out), ligaments, cartilage and tendons, as well as the bone matrix, blood vessels, and the cornea of the eye. Our body continually manufactures collagen to maintain and repair connective tissues lost to daily wear and tear. Collagen is the essential part of connective tissue. Connective tissue holds the body together. It is the very framework of the body and in the absence of collagen the body will literally fall apart. Vitamin C is required to form collagen and it is required for the expression of all connective tissue, including our bones. Around 30% of protein in the human body is in the form of collagen. There are 5 types of collagen that make up 99% of all the collagen found in the body: Type I Bones, tendons, ligaments and skin Type II Cartilages and structure of the eyes Type III Liver, lungs and arteries Type IV Kidneys and several internal organs Type V Surface of cells, hair and placenta Collagen is responsible for the cohesion (bonding) of tissues and organs. It gives these tissues and organs resistance, elasticity and flexibility. Collagen production is complex but it is wise to understand that collagen crosslinking requires vitamin C, copper, iron, and manganese.

C for Bones

The common message for bone density and bone health is to take a calcium supplement magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin K. This is a simplistic view of a complex living structure we call bones. Some sources also suggest adding protein, phosphorus, potassium, and fluoride (naturally occurring fluoride from food, not toxic chemical Hexafluorosilicic acid used in our water supplies). This is better but still not complete. There are several other additional vitamins and minerals needed for the metabolic processes related to bone. They include manganese, copper, boron, iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, and the B vitamins. Bone disorders have a direct connection with vitamin C. A diet with a high level of vitamin C can prevent bone loss and it also impacts the growth of bone cells. Bone flexibility, an equally important quality, is dependent upon the collagen content in a person’s bone. Collagen requires vitamin C. Low levels of vitamin C cause pain throughout the muscles and joints.

C for Periodontal Health

Our teeth and gums are a reflection of our health and they require the same minerals and vitamins as our bones. Bleeding gums, excess tartar, loose teeth, receding gums, infections, dying pulp, and cavities are primarily the result of inadequate nutrients. “Periodontal Disease” symptoms include swollen gums, bright red or purplish gums, bleeding gums, gums that feel tender when touched, gums that pull away from your teeth (recede), new spaces developing between your teeth, pus between your teeth and gums, loose teeth, a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite. These symptoms are also common in the stages of scurvy/deficiency of vitamin C. Low levels of vitamin C in the body will also decrease our resistance to infectious bacteria.

C for Circulatory System and Heart

Collagen, which requires vitamin C, is vital for strengthening blood vessels. Weak blood vessels result in bruising, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and hemorrhaging. Low plasma vitamin C concentration puts you at risk for stroke. There are two kinds of stoke. The most common is caused by a blood clot that blocks a blood vessel in the brain. The other is an intra-cerebral hemorrhage (blood vessel within the brain bursts, allowing blood to leak inside the brain). The heart is primarily composed of cardiac muscle and connective tissue which need vitamin C. Some heart problems can be traced to the integrity of heart tissue. Increased vitamin C has been shown to improve HDL cholesterol and decrease blood pressure. In addition, it helps reduce vessel clotting by repressing the accumulation of arterial plaque.

C and Hormones

The highest levels of vitamin C are found in the brain tissues and adrenal glands. It is a necessary element in the formation and metabolizing of dopamine, serotonin, and neuropeptides. Low levels of these hormones may cause depression and anxiety symptoms. There are many toxins and deficiencies that result in both depression and anxiety but optimizing vitamin C levels is an important step. The urinary excretion of vitamin C is increased during stress. Pantothenic acid, a B vitamin, also supports adrenal function. Pantothenic acid deficiency causes shrinking of your adrenal glands. Low adrenal function results in fatigue, recurrent infections, poor response and “crashing” during stress, low blood sugar, dizziness upon first standing, and aches and pains.

C and Antioxidant

Vitamin C is also important as an antioxidant. It protects the eyes against light generated free radicals; the DNA from mutation and carcinogenesis (beginning of cancer); it protects the fat-soluble vitamins A and E as well as fatty acids from oxidation; assists reproduction by protecting sperm cells and seminal fluid from free radicals; and vitamin C can donate electrons to other antioxidants, thereby regenerating them for future use.

C and Iron

Vitamin C is required for iron regulation within the body. It acts to reduce iron, allowing it to be absorbed and stored within the body. Low levels of vitamin C in the body may lead to low iron levels (anemia). Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron and folate from plant food sources. Iron is an essential component of red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to all the cells of the body and they take carbon dioxide to the lungs. The iron in the red blood cells gives blood its red color and it is the iron that binds with the oxygen. The brain has a big demand for oxygen. Without enough iron in your system, you will find it hard to concentrate and feel tired and irritable. Iron is necessary for oxygenation and energy in the brain and for the synthesis of neurotransmitters and myelin. Iron deficiency increases the risk of psychiatric disorders, including mood disorders, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and developmental disorders. You do not need to be diagnosed with anemia to have low levels of iron. You do not need to have scurvy to have low levels of vitamin C. Inadequate amounts of any nutrient has consequences.

C and Immune

One of the most common supplements bought for cold and flu symptoms is ascorbic acid, not vitamin C!  Vitamin C improves the effectiveness of the immune system. The lab-made synthetic ascorbic acid does not support our immune system. Our immune system is a complex system that requires all the trace minerals, macro minerals, water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins, hydration, protein, fatty acids, hormone balance, protection from toxins, and healthy intestines. Digestive health directly impacts your immune health. When your digestive system is not functioning properly, it can result in poor nutrient absorption/malnourishment and lead to a number of chronic problems and symptoms, including mood disorders, allergies, toxicity, acid reflux, irritable bowels, and many more. In addition to specialized immune cells, your intestines contain over 400 species of good bacteria/microflora that help prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, yeasts and parasites. These good bacteria provide a constant supply of nutrients, form a barrier on the intestinal wall to prevent pathogens and germs from being absorbed, and they enhance the function of “natural killer” immune cells. Vitamin C interacts with other nutrients to carry out the body’s healing functions. One nutrient never acts all by itself – it is the complex interaction of many nutrients that allows your body to work most effectively to maintain optimum health.

What is Vitamin C?

Many have been deceived into believing that ascorbic acid is vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is not vitamin C, dl- tocopherol is not vitamin E, retinoic acid is not vitamin A… These isolated/purified synthetics act like drugs in the body. The Food & Drug Administration has permitted ascorbic acid to be identified as vitamin C but vitamins cannot be isolated from their complexes and still perform their specific functions within the cells. Vitamin activity only takes place when all conditions, co-factors and components of the entire vitamin complex are present and working together. A vitamin is “a working process consisting of the nutrient, enzymes, coenzymes, antioxidants, and trace minerals activators.” – Dr. Royal Lee The vitamin C found in plants is a complex vitamin that includes ascorbic acid but it also contains a wide array of nutrients like ascorbigen, choline, vitamin K tyrosinase, organically bound copper and bioflavonoids like rutin and hesperidin. All of the above elements must be present for the body to absorb and benefit from the vitamin C complex. Since synthetic ascorbic acid does not contain the full complex, your body must either gather the missing components from the body’s reservoir, or eliminate the ascorbic acid from the body through the urine. Taking one part of a complex and calling it the whole is a grave error.

So how do they make ascorbic acid? 

Went to Wikipedia for this part! “Glucose (corn syrup) is catalytically hydrogenated to sorbitol, which is then oxidized by the microorganism Acetobacter suboxydans to sorbose. From this point, two routes are available. Treatment of the product with acetone in the presence of an acid catalyst converts four of the remaining hydroxyl groups to acetals. The unprotected hydroxyl group is oxidized to the carboxylic acid by reaction with the catalytic oxidant TEMPO (regenerated by sodium hypochlorite — bleaching solution). Acid-catalyzed hydrolysis of this product performs the dual function of removing the two acetal groups and ring-closing lactonization. This step yields ascorbic acid. Each of the five steps has a yield larger than 90%. A more biotechnological process bypasses the use of acetone-protecting groups. A second genetically-modified microbe species (such as mutant Erwinia, among others) oxidises sorbose into 2-ketogluconic acid (2-KGA), which can then undergo ring-closing lactonization via dehydration. This method is used in the predominant process used by the ascorbic acid industry in China, which supplies 80% of world’s ascorbic acid.” – Does this sound like nutritious food vitamins?

If you are using fruit juice to get your vitamin C you have been deceived.

Vitamin C,when it is heated, breaks down and becomes useless. So if you heat up your food, it’s gone. This really poses a problem when it comes to liquids like orange juice. Pasteurization (boiling to kill off bacteria) is required for virtually every beverage sold today in the United States. The natural vitamin C is heat-killed so they add synthetic ascorbic acid and say 100% vitamin C!

Naturally-occurring vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables. Foods that contain the highest amounts of vitamin C are:

  • Strawberries
  • Citrus fruits
  • Acerola Cherry
  • Black Currants
  • Cantalope
  • Papaya
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Bell Pepper
  • Guava
  • Melons
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Kale, chard, and spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomatoes

Again, remember to consume foods in their raw form. If heated, the natural vitamin C complex is destroyed.

by Sharlene Peterson, BS Biology, HHP, MH, Educational Administrator at the Genesis School of Natural Health April 7, 2014

Comments

  1. I am so thankful to have a teacher who understands bodily functions and nutrient assimilation so thoroughly. That is a rare gift indeed. The understanding of synergistic workings of the body with what is put into it is vital to any healing. That becomes clearer to me each time I learn something new in this area. I will be re-reading this one for quite a while!

  2. We will be learning so many things on this journey! Our education is always in motion and the teacher often learns more than the students for students push us on with questions, insights, and challenges.

  3. Wow, time to clean out my medicine cabinets! It sure make sense to eat raw foods in order to get the greatest benefits for normal functioning. This article is very motivating as well as an eye opener which confirms my desire in being a holistic practitioner. Thank you so much!

  4. Kimberly Cockrum
    May 1, 2015 - 3:01 am

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and understanding with us!

  5. So, as I’m reading the Gerson Therapy and taking the test the book states “Citrus juices should be used for patients suffering from collagen diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus erythematosus.” This seems to include non-pasteurized fresh citrus juice — as they go on to say that orange juice brings mucous formation. This article says vitamin C is necessary for collegan formation — just not in the form of ascorbic acid. So, I’m a little confused as to why citrus juice is so bad.

  6. Sorry, to clarify the quote above – “Citrus juices should NOT be used for patients suffering from collagen disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus erythematosus.” 🙂

  7. There are many who have an allergy to citrus fruits which causes excess mucus in the body. The topical symptoms are often subtle or dismissed. Oranges (unlike lemon and lime) are very high in sugar which feeds inflammation and uses up vitamin C instead of contributing. For healthy individuals having an orange or fresh-squeezed orange juice is a healthy addition. In the sick the balance is fragile.

  8. “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” ~Thomas Edison

    It’s refreshing and inspiring to be on this journey…. Fresh fruit is a staple in our home and on our farm… yes… our animals love fruit!! Oranges, apples, pears, watermelon and they love carrots. “Fetus” our 2 year old Hereford bull was raised by us as an orphan, and we cannot go see him without bringing him a piece of fruit!

  9. I really appreciate this vitamin C article, especially how it proves that our bodies are not capable of homeostasis without it. I happened to be reading another one and came upon a study, also about Vitamin C that proved these levels were greatest in people that consumed two kiwi fruits a day for 2 weeks. This brought everyone who had been deficient in Vitamin C back into the sufficient category. This is helpful information to those wanting to intentionally use their diet to provide the nutrients their body’s needs. It is also a side note that raw, unprocessed milk has a fair amount of vitamin C, for those of you with your own cow!

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