Posted by: Darlene DeStefano on 12/28/2015

Vitamin C

Vitamin C

I first learned of the benefits of Vitamin C in 1984 when I was prescribed several doses of antibiotics for a bronchial infection that was the result of surgery.  Taking the antibiotics resulted in a yeast infection – you women know what I am talking about.  I combated that and picked up another bronchial infection.  My doctor prescribed antibiotics and you guessed it – another yeast infection.  And so this sequence continued for two years.  Diagnosed with chronic yeast and chronic bronchial infections I was finally referred to a specialist.    

To my amazement this specialist advised taking a good multivitamin and as much vitamin C as my body could handle.  I was instructed to start with 500mg of vitamin C on day one and increase it by 500mg every day until my body told me enough!  You quickly find out the amount your body can handle, as the onset of diarrhea is your indicator.  Then you back off by 500mg.  So it was that 3,000mg was my max.  He also advised me that once the bronchitis was gone, to only then decrease it slowly the same way I started by 500mg a day, otherwise I will put undue stress on my immune system.  And so I did, and it worked!  Within four months, I was rid of all infections and I continued taking the multivitamin and only added the vitamin C when I felt something coming on.  

Vitamin C is popular for its healing, cell-protecting, and immune-boosting properties.  The body does not manufacture Vitamin C, therefore it must be obtained through diet or supplementation.  Not to worry if your taking too much because the body excretes what it does not need.  Vitamin C works well when taken in conjunction with other antioxidants such as Vitamin E and beta-carotene as they have a greater effect together, then when taken alone.  It also enhances the uptake of iron and copper.  To prevent disease the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin C is 60mg.  

Stress increases the body’s need for Vitamin C.  Deficiencies in this vitamin can be the cause of bleeding gums when brushing, increased susceptibility to colds, bronchial and other infections, decreased energy level, joint pain, poor digestion, easy to bruise, tooth loss and prolonged wound healing time.  Short-term high doses of vitamin C can aid these deficiencies, especially infections, generally 2,000 to 4,000mg for women and 4,000 to 6,000mg for men. Remember, when you stop taking vitamin C for an acute condition, do so gradually otherwise you will cause undue stress to the immune system.  For serious illnesses such as cancer, it is more effective to take very high doses of Vitamin C intravenously under a doctor’s supervision.

For sensitive stomachs consider buffered Vitamin C (Ester C) or calcium ascorbate.  Buffered Vitamin C could cause slightly less diarrhea in high doses than other forms.  If you experience diarrhea, it is recommended to take the vitamin in divided doses with meals throughout the day.

Smoking causes a serious depletion in the body’s vitamin C pool therefore smokers generally have lower levels of Vitamin C.  Diabetes and sulfa drugs may not be as effective if taken with Vitamin C.  Also anticoagulants, analgesics, alcohol, steroids, and oral contraceptives may reduce Vitamin C levels in the body.  For these reasons when it comes to supplementation, it is more effective to taken Vitamin C in divided doses. 

Vitamin C may interfere with the absorption of tricyclic antidepressants, and it interferes with the results of certain diagnostic blood and urine tests, so you might want to mention your Vitamin C supplemental consumption to your doctor if you take these drugs or are going in for tests.  People with deficiencies in a red blood cell enzyme called glucose-6-phosphagte dehydrogenase should not take large doses of Vitamin C because it can damage their red blood cells and cause anemia.  This deficiency is most common among African, Mediterranean or Asian descent.  

Food sources high in Vitamin C are berries, deep green and yellow vegetables, citrus fruits, and fresh squeezed orange juice.  Because of processing methods, frozen juices can also be a good source of Vitamin C.  Some of the more common herbs that contain Vitamin C are alfalfa, burdock root, fenugreek, kelp, peppermint, and plantain.  Vitamin C in supplemental form is available in tablet, capsule, powder, liquid form or drink mix. 

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