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Today’s popularity with Vitamin C has never been so intensive since 1747 with the emergence of Scurvy.  Essentially, currently, the popularization of vitamin C is due to its positive effects on the immune system.

Tracing the history of vitamin C, a Scottish physician James Lind conducted six different treatments for 12 sailors with Scurvy.   Historical data reports, feeding the sailors oranges and lemons provided an effective cure.  Scurvy was one of the many diseases at that time due to malnutrition. Currently, as it was then, our very existence as it relates to health is dependent upon food.   In 1930, a chemical ascorbic acid, now known as vitamin C was discovered and recognized as an essential water-soluble vitamin for human existence.   The sailors at that time did not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C, which led to the discovery of the body’s inability to make ascorbic acid. In 1930, science had not discovered the vitamin pill form as food selections were mandatory.   The only treatment that worked for the sailors was oranges and lemons.  The treatment modality still holds today; the best way to get vitamin C within the body is through natural sources as the pill form is an alternate source.  The recommended daily intake for vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg/day for men.   Today, the best vitamin C sources are oranges, strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and spinach.

Here are a few evidence-based vitamin C Advantages:

  • Helps prevent iron deficiency: Many young women, vegetarians, and others due to medical conditions have the propensity of developing iron deficiency anemia.  Vitamin C will help improve the absorption of   Data support to increase the heme-iron intake from iron-rich sources such as meat, fish, and poultry always increase meal-time vitamin C intake.  When consuming foods high in iron, for example, meat, I will also include a source high in vitamin C, such as orange juice, or broccoli to increase the absorption of the iron from the food source.

  • Helps boost the immune system.  Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant.  Antioxidants are molecules that increase the immune system by preventing the development of  “free radicals.”  Free radicals are molecules produced within the body as it metabolizes various foods and exposure to ozone, cigarette smoke, air pollutants, and industrial chemicals.  A high accumulation of free radicals within the body produces a condition of oxidative stress.  Oxidative stress is the leading cause of chronic diseases.   Vitamin C works as an antioxidant ultimately protects the body from oxidative stress.  Thus, antioxidants strengthen the immune system by helping the body fight off various harmful invaders such as free radicals.
  • Help Prevent Gout Attacks: Gout affects 4% of the American population and is now the most common inflammatory form of arthritis in the United States. Gout results from excessive amounts of uric acid in the bloodstream, known as hyperuricemia.   Vitamin C reduces the amount of uric acid within the bloodstream.  A study examining the serum uric acid concentrations of 1387 men and Vitamin C’s effects indicates that intakes of vitamin C significantly lowers serum uric acid concentrations.
  • Additional evidence-based research shows that vitamin C intake effectively prevents heart disease, improves blood pressure and age-old memory loss.

A tribute to the common Cold:  Please note for more than 70 years, the claim of vitamin C actions in preventing Colds is not valid.  Evidence-based research only supports vitamin C may reduce the severity of colds and reduce the recovery time by 8% in adults and 14% in children.

During these times of COVID, we need our immune system to be at its peak performance; do not negate vitamin C’s impact.  It is a Vibrant vitamin we all can C.