Vitamin C

When you get a cold, is the first thing you think of taking vitamin C? Many people reach for this vitamin when they feel a cold coming on, but vitamin C has many other benefits besides helping us fight colds. In Earl Mindell's Vitamin Bible for the 21st Century, he lists many uses for Vitamin C—some you may not have thought of:

  • Vitamin C plays a primary role in the formation of collagen, which is very important for our skin and bones.
  • Vitamin C helps with wound healing and for burns and bleeding gums.
  • Vitamin C lowers the incidence of blood clots in our veins.
  • Vitamin C can help lower blood pressure.
  • You can use vitamin C as a laxative.
  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps the immune system.
  • Vitamin C can counteract the formation of nitriosamines, which are cancer-causing substances.

These are only some of the many benefits of vitamin C. The natural way to get your vitamin C is in fresh fruits and vegetables. Good fruit sources are citrus fruits, berries, watermelons, papayas, and persimmons. Good vegetable sources include green leafy vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and onions, to name just a few. If you want to take a supplement form of vitamin C, you have lots of choices to consider. The most common form is ascorbic acid, which is made from corn dextrose (although no corn or dextrose remain). There are ascorbic acid crystals or powder to mix into juice or you can take ascorbic acid in a pill or chewable wafer. There are also buffered forms, which are easier on the stomach. You can also get time-released vitamin C, as vitamin C does not remain in your system for more than 2 or 3 hours. Vitamin C is water-soluble, so that is why you have to replenish this vitamin on a daily basis. There is a form of vitamin C called Ester C, first researched by Jonathan Wright M.D. He proved that Ester C increased white blood cell ascorbate levels four times more than regular ascorbic acid and that only 1/3 of the amount is excreted in the urine. Ester C also gets into the blood steam and tissues four times faster than regular ascorbic acid. As for precautions about taking vitamin C, you should know that if you are taking this vitamin supplement and are having tests done for blood, in stool or urine, or having a pap smear, it could cause a false reading, so it would be wise to let the doctor know you are taking vitamin C supplementation. Large amounts of ascorbic acid can cause diarrhea. If you have a sensitive stomach, you may have trouble if you don't use a buffered type. Nowadays it is hard to get all the fresh picked garden fruits and vegetables we should be eating, so taking a good vitamin C supplement, along with a multivitamin, is a good idea to help to keep you in better shape to fight off colds and other viruses.