Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient used by the body in many ways.  Vitamin C is used by the body:
•    To absorb iron from food
•    To make collagen, the protein essential to making skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels
•    To help wounds heal
•    To make carnitine that is needed to get fat into the cells where it can be converted to energy
•    As an antioxidant to protect against the destruction caused by free radicals

ANTIOXIDANT

Oxygen is vital to the body’s health, but oxygen can also create problems for the body by removing one or more electrons from an atom or molecule.  This process happens when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy.  This creates free radicals, especially reactive particles, that can damage other cells, proteins and DNA by altering them. We are also exposed to free radicals from smoke, air pollution and sunlight.

Vitamin C is used by the body to counter the negative effects of the free radicals.

SCURVY

For many years, the navies of the world were plagued by scurvy, a disease which caused their sailors to have bleeding gums, lose teeth and hair, experience terrible joint pain and become unable to function.  In the 1700’s, it was discovered that if the ships carried oranges and lemons for their crews,  the incidence of scurvy was much less common.

Vitamin C was not really isolated and understood until the 1930’s.  It is now known that scurvy can be prevented if a person takes ten milligrams of Vitamin C on a daily basis.

SYMPTOMS OF VITAMIN C DEFICIENCY

Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency are:
•    Irritability
•    Feelings of  weakness
•    Feeling tired all the time
•    Headaches
•    Trouble concentrating or thinking
•    Bleeding gums
•    Infections last longer and are more resistant
•    Wounds heal more slowly
•    Dry and splitting hair
•    Skin bruises more easily
•    Inflamed gums
•    Nosebleeds
•    Weight gain
•    Rough, dry, scaly skin
•    Swollen and painful joints
•    Increased tooth sensitivity

SOURCES OF VITAMIN C
Our body does not make vitamin C and must get the needed amounts from food or vitamin supplements.  Some of the sources are:
•    Cantaloupe
•    Citrus
•    Kiwi fruit
•    Mango
•    Papaya
•    Pineapple
•    Cranberries
•    Strawberries
•    Raspberries
•    Blueberries
•    Juices from the above fruit
•    Watermelon
•    Broccoli
•    Brussels sprouts
•    Cauliflower
•    Green and red peppers
•    Spinach
•    Cabbage
•    Turnip greens and other leafy greens
•    Sweet potatoes
•    White potatoes
•    Tomatoes and tomato juice
•    Squash

VITAMIN C AND CANCER

Many studies have indicated that people who eat more fresh fruits and vegetables have a lower likelihood of getting most types of cancer.  Since vitamin C is found in many of these fresh fruits and vegetables, it has been assumed that part of this cancer prevention is attributed to vitamin C.  While there are a number of studies indicating a reduction of cancer risk if people are consuming enough vitamin C, there are also studies that seem to indicate that vitamin C may not be responsible for the lower risk of cancer.

RECOMMENDED DOSAGE

The recommendations for the daily amount of vitamin C people should take range from 40 milligrams to 3000 milligrams or even higher.  While there can be side effects from taking too much of any substance, it appears that because the body doesn’t actually store vitamin C, in most people excess vitamin C is excreted.  For most people, too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea or indigestion.

However, before taking any higher than recommended dose of any substance, each person should consult their healthcare provider because each person’s DNA is different.  What is not harmful to one person could be harmful to another.