Numerous studies show that increased vitamin C intake:
- Reduces cancer rates
- Boosts immunity
- Protects against pollution and cigarette smoke
- Enhances wound repair
- Increases life expectancy
- Reduces the risk of developing cataracts
Vitamin C is one of the most well-researched antioxidants we know of, and its potent health benefits have been documented over time – especially for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. Because vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, it also helps prevent damage caused by free radicals. Free radical damage may accelerate aging and contribute to the development of heart disease and other health conditions.
Vitamin C is the body’s main water soluble antioxidant. The body will store only a small amount and vitamin C needs to be replenished daily. While most animals have the ability to produce vitamin C internally, three species cannot. Guinea pigs, primates, and humans must obtain their vitamin C from their diet.
Studies show that consuming more vitamin C can increase your blood antioxidant levels 30%. This helps the body’s natural defenses fight inflammation. It’s through this antioxidant effect that it’s thought vitamin C may help fight infection. Some studies show that vitamin C can reduce the duration of a cold by as much as 24 to 36 hours.
Vitamin C has numerous functions in the human body, including acting as an essential cofactor in enzymatic reactions. This means that vitamin C’s presence is essential for the activity of the enzyme. In this way, it plays a role in your body’s production of collagen, carnitine (which helps your body turn fat into energy), and catecholamines (hormones made by your adrenal glands).
Vitamin C’s primary function is the manufacture of collagen, the main protein substance of the human body. Specifically, vitamin C is involved in synthesizing amino acids, resulting in very stable collagen structure for cartilage, connective tissue, ligaments and tendons. These function to hold our bodies together!
Vitamin C is also used by your body for wound healing, repairing, and maintaining the health of your bones and teeth. Vitamin C also plays a role in helping your body absorb iron. Vitamin C assists in converting iron that is poorly absorbed, such as plant-based sources of iron, into a form that is easier to absorb. This is especially useful for people on a meat-free diet, as meat is a major source of iron. In fact, simply consuming 100 mg of vitamin C may improve iron absorption by 67%.
Vitamin C also helps regenerate vitamin E from its oxidized form and is involved in the metabolism of cholesterol to bile acids. This function may help reduce cholesterol and gallstones. Vitamin C also plays a role in detoxification, as it helps neutralize and eliminate a range of toxins from your body.
Studies have shown that vitamin C may help lower blood pressure for people both with and without high blood pressure. An animal study found that taking a vitamin C supplement helped relax the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart, which helped reduce blood pressure levels. Moreover, an analysis of 29 human studies found that taking a vitamin C supplement, on average, reduced systolic blood pressure (upper value) by 3.84 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (lower value) by 1.48 mmHg in healthy adults. In adults with existing high blood pressure, vitamin C supplements reduced systolic blood pressure by 4.85 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.67 mmHg, on average.
Gout symptoms appear when there is too much uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a waste product produced by the body. At high levels, it may crystallize and deposit in the joints. Several studies have shown that vitamin C may help reduce uric acid in the blood and, as a result, protect against gout attacks. For example, a study of 1,387 men found that people who consumed the most vitamin C had significantly lower blood levels of uric acid than those who consumed the least. Another study followed 46,994 healthy men over 20 years to see if vitamin C intake was linked to developing gout. It follows that people who took a vitamin C supplement had a 44% lower gout risk.
One of the main reasons people take vitamin C supplements is to boost their immunity. Vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infections. It also helps these white blood cells function more effectively while protecting them from damage by free radicals. Vitamin C is an essential part of the skin’s defense system. It is actively transported to the skin where it can act as an antioxidant and help strengthen the skin’s barriers. Studies have also shown that taking vitamin C may shorten wound healing time.
Low vitamin C levels have been linked to poor health outcomes. People who suffer from pneumonia tend to have lower vitamin C levels, and vitamin C supplements have been shown to shorten the recovery time. Studies suggest that oxidative stress and inflammation near the brain, spine and nerves can increase the risk of dementia. Low levels of this vitamin have been linked to an impaired ability to think and remember. Several studies have shown that people with dementia may have lower levels of vitamin C in the blood. Furthermore, high vitamin C intakes from food or supplements have been shown to have a protective effect on thinking and memory with age.
The most effective form of oral vitamin C supplementation is liposomal vitamin C. Liposomal vitamin C bypasses many of the complications like gastrointestinal distress that traditional vitamin C or ascorbic acid can cause. Liposomal Vitamin C uses a unique liposomal delivery method to support optimal absorption of high-potency vitamin C. A liposome is a tiny phospholipid vesicle that mimics the body’s own cell structure. Liposomes may be better absorbed across cell membranes in a way that is not possible for ordinary water-soluble or fat-soluble nutrients.
There are also other forms of vitamin C on the market, such as buffered forms of sodium ascorbate. One example would be Ester-C. These buffered forms are also effective and do not cause the gastrointestinal distress associated with conventional ascorbic acid. There are also time-released vitamin C products on the market which provide long-term vitamin supplementation by slowly releasing nutrients over an extended period of time.
According to Dr. Andrew Saul, editor of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, if everyone were to take 500 mg of vitamin C per day – the dose typically required to reach a healthy level of 80 µmol/L – an estimated 216,000 lives could be spared each year!
While most people think of citrus fruits as the best source of vitamin C, vegetables also contain high levels, especially peppers, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Vitamin C is destroyed by exposure to air, so eating fresh foods as quickly as possible is best. Although a salad from a salad bar is a healthy choice, the vitamin C content of the fruits and vegetables is only a fraction of what it would be if the salad were made fresh. For example, freshly sliced cucumbers, if left sitting, lose approximately 45 percent of their vitamin C content with the first three hours. A sliced cantaloupe, left uncovered in the refrigerator, loses 35 percent of its vitamin can less than 24 hours.
The Cold Buster
The following are the ingredients’ health benefits of today’s recipe.
Ginger – The anti-inflammatory gingerols and shaogals in ginger root will help to relieve your sore throat quickly, and they also kill rhinoviruses, which cause colds.
Oil of Oregano is an antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, digestive, emmenagogue (stimulation for menstrual flow) and an anti-allergenic substance. !!
Cayenne is a detoxifier. It simulates your body’s circulation and mitigates the headache associated with a cold.
Lemon juice is a good source of vitamin C and it is good for digestion.
Honey is an antioxidant and anti-microbial. Use Maple Syrup if you are vegan. Pure maple syrup is not only high in antioxidants, but it also offers nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium.
Olive Leaf Extract boosts the immune system. Along with lowering blood pressure and improving brain function, it kills bacteria and fungi.
Turmeric Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
How to Buy
All these ingredients can be bought at you local grocery store. Olive of Oregano and Olive Leaf Extract can be bought online from Vitacost.
How to Store
Keep the ingredients on hand for when you feel a cold coming on.
How to Cook
Heat a cup of water, add ingredients for The Cold Buster. Sip, nap, and repeat.
The Cold Buster
- One cup of hot water
- The juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon ginger extract – found in the Asian cooking section of your market
- 3-5 drops of Oil of Oregano
- A dash of cayenne
- A dash of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of honey or maple syrup if you are vegan
- 1 tablespoon of Olive Leaf Extract – The liquid peppermint flavored one is better taken separately, a tablespoon once or twice daily. Use throughout the cold season to boost your immunity.
Warm the water and add the ingredients. Take a nap and repeat.