This text was beforehand revealed June 6, 2020, and has been up to date with new info.
Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin present in abundance in fruit and veggies, is an important nutrient that people should get from their weight-reduction plan or dietary supplements. Also called ascorbic acid, vitamin C is maybe most well-known for its antioxidant properties — properties it maintains due to a capability to donate electrons to oxidized molecules.
Within the video above, Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D., discusses vitamin C in-depth, protecting the whole lot from its results on immune operate and viral infections to the bioavailability of various vitamin C kinds and administrations, equivalent to oral or intravenous — plus far more. When you have any curiosity in studying how vitamin C can profit your well being, this video is a must-see.
Vitamin C’s Many Roles in Your Well being
Vitamin C, even in small portions, protects proteins, lipids and even DNA and RNA in your physique from reactive oxygen species which are generated throughout regular metabolism in addition to as a consequence of toxin publicity (equivalent to to cigarette smoke and air air pollution).
Vitamin C can be concerned within the biosynthesis of collagen, carnitine and catecholamines, in line with Patrick, and as such, “vitamin C participates in immune operate, wound therapeutic, fatty acid metabolism, neurotransmitter manufacturing, and blood vessel formation, in addition to different key processes and pathways.”1
Intravenous (IV) vitamin C has additionally proven promise in serving to to deal with viral infections and most cancers, whereas vitamin C can be concerned in the way in which your physique processes different nutritional vitamins, equivalent to vitamin E, which it regenerates from its oxidized type. Vitamin C additionally makes iron from dietary sources extra bioavailable as a result of it enhances intestine absorption of nonheme iron.2
Vitamin C and Immune Operate
Vitamin C’s function in immune operate is worthy of consideration. “It stimulates the manufacturing of white blood cells, particularly neutrophils, lymphocytes and phagocytes, and promotes the cells’ regular capabilities, equivalent to their skill to detect, transfer towards and engulf pathogens,” in line with Patrick.3
Vitamin C additionally acts as an antioxidant inside your cells, serving to to guard immune cells from incurring harm, and will promote the manufacturing of interferon, which helps defend in opposition to viruses.
There’s additionally proof that vitamin C could assist in some instances of exercise-induced immune dysfunction. Whereas train is usually useful for immune operate, over-exercise or repeated high-intensity coaching can take a toll on the immune system. Within the case of marathon runners, skiers and troopers, as an example, those that used supplemental vitamin C had 50% fewer colds.4
Vitamin C’s anti-cold results are amongst its most-studied makes use of, and analysis means that utilizing vitamin C prophylactically in addition to therapeutically on the onset of chilly signs could cut back signs and chilly period.5 It could even be helpful in opposition to COVID-19.
In my March 17, 2020, interview with Dr. Andrew Saul, editor-in-chief of Orthomolecular Medication Information Service, he mentions being in touch with a South Korean medical physician who’s giving sufferers and medical employees an injection of 100,000 IUs of vitamin D together with as a lot as 24,000 mg (24 grams) of IV vitamin C. “He is reporting that these individuals are getting properly in a matter of days,” Saul says.
As defined by Saul, vitamin C at extraordinarily excessive doses acts as an antiviral drug, really killing viruses. Whereas it does have anti-inflammatory exercise, which helps stop the huge cytokine cascade related to extreme SARS-CoV-2 an infection, its antiviral capability doubtless has extra to do with it being a non-rate-limited free radical scavenger.
Patrick additionally famous that vitamin C could also be protecting in opposition to respiratory illnesses. In a single examine, folks with the best vitamin C ranges had been 15% much less prone to develop respiratory circumstances and 46% much less prone to die of lung most cancers in comparison with these with the bottom ranges.6
Additional, vitamin C is well-known for serving to with lung protection, which takes on renewed that means within the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with Patrick:7
“The innate immune system of the lungs is an integral part of the physique’s protection system, defending the physique in opposition to publicity to inhaled oxidants and pathogens … Vitamin C’s lung protection capability is evidenced by sturdy knowledge suggesting that vitamin C consumption protects in opposition to power obstructive pulmonary illness, pulmonary fibrosis, and different respiratory sicknesses, together with lung most cancers.
However this attribute takes on particular relevance in mild of current considerations about issues related to COVID-19, equivalent to pneumonia and acute lung harm, which regularly necessitate mechanical air flow assist.
Epidemiological and observational knowledge point out that larger vitamin C consumption is related to a decrease danger of growing pneumonia, and the vitamin has additionally confirmed to be efficient at lowering the period for which sufferers are stored on mechanical air flow, particularly amongst sufferers who require greater than 24 hours of respiratory assist.”
Vitamin C and Most cancers
One other thrilling space of vitamin C analysis entails most cancers. Analysis means that IV vitamin C could prolong survival in comparison with chemotherapy alone, even for pancreatic and ovarian cancers, that are among the many deadliest. Patrick mentions two research in sufferers with pancreatic most cancers, which discovered intravenous vitamin C helped cut back tumor measurement and promote longer progression-free survival.8
Vitamin C additionally results in improved high quality of life for most cancers sufferers. In a single examine of 39 sufferers recognized with terminal most cancers, IV vitamin C led to enhancements in bodily, emotional and cognitive standing in addition to reductions in fatigue, nausea, vomiting, ache and urge for food loss.9
Since typical most cancers therapies typically result in important unwanted side effects, together with bodily, emotional, cognitive and sexual impairments, utilizing vitamin C as an adjunct to enhance high quality of life could be a important enchancment.
Vitamin C for Coronary heart and Mind Well being
Patrick’s video additionally goes into the function vitamin C performs as a cardioprotective agent, in addition to a mediator of mind well being. For starters, vitamin C is thought to guard in opposition to hypertension, in addition to cut back blood stress in folks with hypertension or prehypertension.10
Vitamin C additionally reveals promise as a therapy for ischemia and perfusion harm, which may happen following a coronary heart assault or stroke, resulting in elevated irritation and oxidative harm. “Vitamin C is likely to be efficient at decreasing myocardial harm partially by mitigating oxidative stress,” Patrick defined.11 In your mind, vitamin C can be important. In line with Patrick:12
“Vitamin C is present in excessive concentrations within the mind, particularly within the hippocampus and frontal cortex areas – areas concerned in reminiscence consolidation, studying, and elements of government operate.
In reality, in a basic instance of the physique triaging sources primarily based on wants, the mind retains vitamin C throughout occasions of deficiency on the expense of different tissues. That is vital to our survival: Proof means that vitamin C performs roles within the mind all through the lifespan from growth via older age.”
As a result of vitamin C’s antioxidant properties, it might assist lower the danger of neurodegenerative circumstances like Alzheimer’s illness, Parkinson’s illness, Huntington’s illness and a number of sclerosis as a result of it reduces oxidative harm. “Vitamin C can be necessary for the regulation of neurotransmitters, the formation of neural circuits, and plenty of different key mind capabilities,” Patrick says.13
Vitamin C as a ‘Treatment-All’
Patrick describes double Nobel Prize laureate Dr. Linus Pauling’s 1970 publication on vitamin C and the widespread chilly because the impetus that introduced vitamin C into the realm of a cure-all within the minds of most of the people. Whereas that is an exaggeration — vitamin C cannot treatment the whole lot — it is actually exceptional what number of totally different circumstances seem like benefited by vitamin C. Other than being an antioxidant and anti-infective agent, Patrick describes vitamin C’s advantages for:
Fatty acid oxidation
Myocarditis in kids
Epstein-Barr virus an infection
Fertility and copy
Lung most cancers
Widespread chilly and different respiratory illnesses
Vitamin C Bioavailability Varies by Type
There are variations within the bioavailability of vitamin C relying on its type. Each frequency and dose of vitamin C will have an effect on your ranges, however so too will taking it in oral or IV type.
“For instance, oral vitamin C is absorbed within the small gut through specialised transporters which are topic to saturation, however intravenous vitamin C bypasses the intestine, reaching blood and tissue concentrations which are markedly larger than these achieved with the oral type,” Patrick explains.14
IV vitamin C could result in blood concentrations as much as 70 occasions larger than an equal oral dose.15 That being mentioned, liposomal vitamin C, during which vitamin C is encapsulated in a lipid particle, could improve bioavailability of oral vitamin C significantly.
“A number of research counsel that oral bioavailability of vitamin C could be elevated when consumed in liposomal type, which exerts a singular profile of oral bioavailability,” Patrick says, citing a examine of 20 individuals who got a 10-gram dose of free oral vitamin C or liposomal vitamin C.16
“The typical peak plasma focus of vitamin C within the members who took the free type was roughly 180 micromoles per liter of blood. Nonetheless, amongst those that took the liposomal type, the typical peak plasma focus was 300 micromoles per liter of blood, a 70 % distinction,” she mentioned.17
I strongly consider that liposomal vitamin C is a should in your medication package to be pulled out for acute viral sicknesses. If I had been to turn into acutely sick, I might take 4 grams of liposomal vitamin C each hour till feeling higher, then begin lowering the dosage slowly over a number of days as soon as signs enhance.
Finest Meals Sources of Vitamin C
I personally solely take 100 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C complement and solely when I haven’t got common entry to contemporary acerola cherries. I’ve a number of timber on my property that often have a harvest each few weeks for 9 months of the yr. Every cherry has 80 mg of vitamin C, so I can simply stand up to 10 grams on days that I eat the cherries.
All kinds of meals are excessive in vitamin C, together with purple pepper, parsley, broccoli, kiwi, strawberries, guava, tomato and all citrus fruits. You may get important quantities of vitamin C out of your weight-reduction plan when you eat these meals every day.
Have in mind, nevertheless, that cooking destroys about 25% of the vitamin C current in meals.18 Fortuitously, many vitamin C-rich meals are generally eaten uncooked. For those who’re wholesome, or have solely delicate sickness, you may actually use some of these entire meals, and so they could even be preferable, however if you wish to deal with sickness, your finest wager is to make use of vitamin C in complement type, both liposomal or IV. Additional, in line with Patrick:19
“It’s noteworthy that some scientists consider that compelling proof helps growing the RDA for vitamin C to 200 milligrams per day for adults. Whereas the objective of the present suggestions is to scale back the danger of scurvy, larger consumption might saturate tissue ranges, probably decreasing the danger of power circumstances equivalent to coronary heart illness, stroke, most cancers, and metabolic dysfunction.”
Sure populations, together with individuals who smoke, eat alcohol or have inflammatory bowel illness, might have elevated consumption of vitamin C, however some analysis suggests vitamin C deficiency could also be extra widespread than realized.
“Apparently, a population-based cross-sectional examine of almost 150 sufferers admitted to a big instructing hospital in Canada discovered that 60 % of the sufferers had suboptimal plasma vitamin C ranges and 19 % had been poor, with ranges approaching these related to scurvy,” Patrick famous.20 It is clear that vitamin C is one nutrient everybody ought to make sure to get sufficient of, however when you’re acutely sick, vitamin C turns into much more necessary.
“Vitamin C is likely to be particularly useful for critically sick folks, significantly these with viral infections, who generally have decrease blood ranges of vitamin C in comparison with wholesome folks,” Patrick says. So along with consuming loads of vitamin C-rich meals each day, hold vitamin C in thoughts throughout occasions of sickness. Fortuitously, Patrick provides, “With some exceptions, oral and intravenous vitamin C supplementation have been proven to be secure, well-tolerated, and have low toxicity.”21