No other vitamin seems to have so many favorable effects on the body than this incredible pill. Vitamin C is not readily stored in your body and therefore needs to be replenished on a daily basis. I think the other important reason to supplement with extra vitamin C is because most people don't get enough in their daily diet.
Actually, getting enough vitamins and minerals in general is a big problem with most people's health. Why is that? Well, because much of the soil we grow our food in today has been stripped of its precious vitamins and minerals leaving our food with much less nourishment than it contained twenty years ago.
Today, you would need to eat much larger servings of a single food in order to extract the proper nutritional value our bodies demand. If you don't get an adequate amount of vitamin C in your system then your health begins to suffer greatly.
What Does It Do, And What Scientific Studies Give Evidence To Support This?
Your body uses large amounts of vitamin C to combat infections, colds, and disease. Vitamin C is also used by your body in all kinds of healing situations such as preventing cancer, healing wounds, and reducing damage from pollutants like drugs and cigarette smoke.
Tests also shows that vitamin C helps ease upper respiratory infections, reduce bronchial restriction, and impaired breathing with allergies and asthma. Most importantly, extra C improves healthy immune system functioning. Research also suggests that it creates healthy blood vessel functioning and helps keep arterial walls clear from blockage - which in turn reduces your risk of heart disease.
High levels of vitamin C also suppress your body's release of cortisone. Cortisone is a hormone released from your body whenever you are under stress. Cortisone ultimately decreases your testosterone levels and throws your body into a catabolic state (your body begins using your muscle for fuel).
"For weight lifters that are interested in putting on more muscle vitamin C could prove to be helpful in maintaining as much muscle as possible."
It would be great if vitamin C alone were the cure all pill we needed to fight every disorder... but the truth is that vitamin C interacts with thousands of other nutrients to carry out it's healing functions. For example, in order for large doses of vitamin C to be effective in preventing a cold it must first interact with large doses of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, zinc, folic acid, and choline.
Remember, 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. That's why taking a daily multi-vitamin, multi-mineral packet is also a very good idea.
How Much Should Be Taken? And Are There Any Side Effects?
It's true most of the literature on vitamin C supplementation is very favorable, however, one recent study presented by James Dwyer of the University of Southern California is singing a different tune. Dwyer suggests that extra supplementation of vitamin C might cause carotid arterial wall thickening, and consequently promote future cardiovascular problems.
This study was presented by Dwyer to the American Heart Association meeting in March 2000. However, most leading experts agree that Dwyer's study lacks serious detailed proof. To the contrary, many more highly detailed studies over the last thirty years have all suggested vitamin C helps reduce chronic disease and mortality, including cardiovascular disease.
So how much vitamin C do we need? It all depends on how many free radicals your body is generating... from all the literature I have read it seems that athletes and smokers need 4-10 grams of extra vitamin C per day.
I would say most normal people living a healthy lifestyle who are interested in obtaining benefits of vitamin C need an excess of 1 - 3 grams per day. No studies have showed toxicity with high intake of vitamin C, however, your body will reach a point where high levels can cause diarrhea.
If you develop lose stools while taking high levels just back off your dosage until you discover your tolerance level.
There are also many different kinds of vitamin C supplements like rose hips, ascorbic acid, calcium ascorbate, sodium ascorbate, and acerola - all claim to be more usable by your body, but the truth is they are all efficient forms of vitamin C.
Most fruits and green leafy vegetables have a good amount of vitamin C in them. For example, a small orange contains about 65 mg of vitamin C, and any kind of Kiwi or Guava fruit is an excellent source containing up to 180 mg in an average slice. If you decide to get your daily intake from fruit be careful to monitor your overall sugar intake.