Vitamin C is required for several metabolic functions in the body. One of its major roles is in the synthesis of collagen and elastin, the main structural proteins of skin, cartilage and blood vessels.
It is also necessary in the production of several stress response hormones including adrenalin, noradrenalin, cortisol and histamine, and it is required in the synthesis of carnitine, an amino acid that facilitates the conversion of fatty acids into energy within the mitochondria.
Vitamin C protects against heart disease in several ways: it helps dissolve arterial plaque, reduces free radical oxidation of cholesterol, decreases levels of the atherogenic lipoprotein Lp(a), and maintains the elasticity of vascular walls which helps control hypertension. In addition, vitamin C boosts immunity by increasing production of white blood cells, increasing levels of antibodies and interferon and modulating prostaglandin synthesis.
Vitamin C enhances iron absorption, promotes efficient wound healing, and detoxifies the body by binding to certain heavy metals so they can be eliminated from the body.
The anticancer effects of vitamin C stem from its role as a potent water-soluble antioxidant in the plasma and cytoplasm. It also protects nucleic acids (DNA) from oxidative damage and inhibits the formation of nitrosamines (carcinogenic compounds formed in the digestive tract). Additionally, it can regenerate vitamin E and works synergistically with other antioxidants such as beta-carotene and glutathione to increase their overall antioxidant effect.
Deficiency symptoms include capillary fragility (due to its role in collagen formation) which often manifests clinically as bleeding gums, easy bruising, tender joints, muscle weakness and poor wound healing.
Subclinical deficiency can also result in lowered immunity, anemia (due to vitamin C’s ability to enhance iron absorption), and fatigue (due to its role in the synthesis of carnitine and certain hormones).
Dietary sources rich in vitamin C include the following:
- Brussel Sprouts,
- Citrus Fruits,
- Red and Green Peppers,
- Rose hip,
- and Tomatoes.
The government DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) for vitamin C is listed below, published in 2000, although intakes of 200 -1000mg have been commonly used for therapeutic benefit.
Adult men: 90 mg per day
Pregnant women: 85 mg per day
Adult women: 75 mg per day
Lactating women: 120 mg per day
Mega-doses of vitamin C (several grams) have been used for specific conditions such as viral infections and cancer, although the therapeutic benefit to mega-doses is thought to occur due to a pro-oxidant effect of vitamin C on viral or cancer cells. Since excess vitamin C can actually increase free radical production, it is important to balance it with other antioxidants in order to not induce a pro-oxidant effect. Large doses may result in diarrhea.
The Tolerable Upper Intake Level has been established at 2000 mg per day. Although vitamin C is easily absorbed in the small intestine, mineral ascorbates are the preferred supplement form (versus ascorbic acid) to maximize absorption. It is recommended to ingest therapeutic doses at various intervals throughout the day since the body readily excretes excess vitamin C shortly after ingestion.
Physical or emotional stress will increase the body’s requirement for vitamin C. In some patients, excess vitamin C can produces high amounts of oxalic acid, which are linked to kidney stones so patients with kidney disease or a history of kidney stones should exercise caution in taking mega-doses of vitamin C.
Own it for life
Our exclusive data entry service is a convenient way to get your results into your private dashboard. Simply attach an image or a file of your lab test results, and one of our qualified data entry team members will add the results for you. We support all sorts of files, whether PDFs, JPGs, or Excel. This service is excellent whether you have a lot of reports to upload or are too busy to do the data entry yourself.
We strive to make the data entry process easy for you. Whether by offering dozens of templates to choose from that pre-populate the most popular laboratory panels or by giving you instant feedback on the entered values. Our data entry forms are an easy, fast, and convenient way to enter the reports yourself. There is no limit on how many lab reports you can upload.
billed every month
Data entry included
$6.60/month billed annually
Data entry included
own it for life
Are You a Health Professional?
Get started with our professional plan
Welcome to Healthmatters Pro.
Save time on interpreting lab results with the largest database of biomarkers online. In-depth research on any test at your fingertips, all stored and tracked in one place. Learn more
Pro Monthly Plus
for health professionals
$75 per month