Vitamin C is an essential micro-nutrient for humans and a potent antioxidant which helps to fight off inflammation and builds up our immune health. Vitamin C contributes to immune defence by supporting various cellular functions to function efficiently.
Another name for Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and classed as a water-soluble vitamin, which means it dissolves in water, and it is the water which helps Vitamin C to travel through the body’s cells to help tissues heal, repair and for overall health upkeep. Vitamin C is not stored in the body, therefore it is something we need to consume through our diets and depending on the situation, with added supplementation support on a regular, ideally, daily basis.
Important Reasons for Vitamin C Consumption
Essential to help with growth and repairs of tissues all over the body
Fights infection and threat of pathogens attacking the cells
Helps skin to heal when damaged
Helps iron absorption
Supports optimal blood pressure markers
Promotes positive heart health
Helps to prevent the onset of gout
Treats respiratory infections
How Vitamin C can help to fight off infection?
Vitamin C plays a key role in helping the body to fight off infection and heal. From helping to heal cuts and bruises to supporting your adrenals when you’re under stress. Vitamin C has a part to play across so many different functions – but most importantly fighting off infection.
Here is what happens; for example, your white blood cells are an important component of your immune system. You have several different types of white blood cell, each of which helps to fight off illness-causing viruses and bacteria in a different way. Vitamin C helps to stimulate both the production and function of many of these types of white blood cells. It also helps your body to produce important antibodies: proteins that bind invading microbes to neutralise them. And Vitamin C’s powerful antioxidant properties help to protect certain white blood cells from the toxic compounds they produce in their fight against pathogens. In other words, Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for healthy immune system response. We cannot stress this enough!
Vitamin C Deficiency Symptoms
The most common risk factors for vitamin C deficiency are poor diet, alcoholism, anorexia, severe mental illness, smoking and dialysis.
If any of the above may apply to your situation, here are some of the common deficiency symptoms associated with these;
Rough and bumpy surfaced skin; because Vitamin C plays a primary role in the body’s collagen production, when deficient, collagen production slows down. When vitamin C levels are low, a skin condition known as keratosis pilaris can develop.
In this condition, bumpy “chicken skin” forms on the back of the upper arms, thighs or buttocks due to a buildup of keratin protein inside the pores.
Keratosis pilaris caused by vitamin C deficiency typically appears after three to five months of inadequate intake and resolves with supplementation.
Also: Dry and damaged skin in general can also be a sign of a more milder case of vitamin C deficiency.
Cork-Screw Shaped Hair; in this type of vitamin C related deficiency hair will grow in bent or coiled shape due to defects that develop in the protein structure of hair as it grows.
Corkscrew-shaped hair is one of the hallmark signs of vitamin C deficiency but may not be obvious, as these damaged hairs are more likely to break off or fall out.
Again, this symptom can be treated with special attention to diet and supplementation.
Spoon-shaped fingernails with red spots or lines; Spoon-shaped nails are characterized by their concave shape and often thin and brittle.
They are more commonly associated with iron deficiency anaemia but have also been linked to vitamin C deficiency too.
Red spots or vertical lines in the nail bed, known as splinter haemorrhage, may also appear during vitamin C deficiency due to weakened blood vessels that rupture easily.
More investigation around this symptom and suspected reasons for a nutrient deficiency may be required.
Bruising easily; Bruising occurs when blood vessels under the skin rupture, causing blood to leak into the surrounding areas.
Easy bruising is a common sign of vitamin C deficiency since poor collagen production causes weak blood vessels.
Deficiency-related bruises may cover large areas of the body or appear as small, purple dots under the skin.
Easy bruising is often one of the first obvious symptoms of a deficiency and should warrant further investigation into vitamin C levels. Usually quite achievable to get under control with changes in nutrition and supplementation.
Poor Wound Healing
Slow healing wounds; Since vitamin C deficiency slows the rate of collagen formation, it causes wounds to heal more slowly.
Research has shown that people with chronic, non-healing leg ulcers are significantly more likely to be deficient in vitamin C than those without chronic leg ulcers.
In severe cases of vitamin C deficiency, old wounds may even reopen, increasing the risk of infection.
Slow wound healing is one of the more advanced signs of deficiency and typically not seen until someone has been deficient for many months
Painful, swollen joints; Since joints contain a lot of collagen-rich connective tissue, they can also be affected by vitamin C deficiency.
There have been many reported cases of joint pain associated with vitamin C deficiency, often severe enough to cause limping or difficulty walking.
Bleeding within the joints can also occur in people who are deficient in vitamin C, causing swelling and additional pain.
Yet, both of these symptoms can be treated with vitamin C supplements and commonly resolve within one week
Dietary Sources of Vitamin C
Red Capsicum; 240mg per 100g serve
Lemon; 55mg per 100g serve
Broccoli; 90mg per 100g serve
Orange; 53mg per 100g serve
Brussel Sprout; 85mg per 100g serve
Stawberries; 58mg in 100g serve
Spinach; 28mg per 100g serve
Cabbage; 36mg per 100g serve
Tomato; 39mg per 100g serve
For excellent nutrition coverage of vitamin C rich foods, refer to your downloadable resources, here.
Recommended Baseline Daily Intake of Vitamin C
1 – 18 year olds – 30-50mg daily
Adults – 40-50mg daily
Pregnancy – 50-60mg daily
Breastfeeding – 70-90mg daily
Fighting off Infection – 4000-10, 000mg daily (timeframe dependent on infection issue, please see professional advice)
Most supplementation options of Vitamin C contain 1000mg per serve. The forms of supplementation include, liquid, powder or capsule. Depending on individual needs will depend on what form of additional Vitamin C supplementation you will benefit from taking.
Vitamin C mega-dosage is a term describing the consumption or injection of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in doses well beyond the current recommended Dietary Allowance of 90 milligrams per day, and often well beyond the tolerable upper intake level of 2,000 milligrams per day.
The common cold is the most extensively studied infection regarding the effects of vitamin C and the super-dosing method. The studies that used doses higher than 1 g per day (1000mg) usually found greater effects than trials with exactly 1 g per day, which suggests a dose dependent effect.
Certainly what we know for sure is that when an infection threatens our body, namely our immune system, the body will want and demand for more vitamin C, if we can ensure its availability to our system.
Gastrointestinal effects are the most common adverse effects associated with acute, high doses of vitamin C given over a short period of time.
Our Supplement Dispensary Service
Our clinic has an extensive Vitamin C supplement service and we can discuss what type of Vitamin C is best for you and your family’s needs. To ask us about this micro-nutrient and your needs please contact us via our contact us page, here.
Reference Links to Support Information Provided
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