Ascorbate – Practical Suggestions Regarding Vitamin C
Self Care is just that; taking care of your self. From the point of view of maintaining a healthy, strong body there are a number of nutrients that are essential to everyone and because they are safe, can be viewed as being within the realm of self-care. In fact, from my perspective of 25 years in the medical field with a focus on preventive health, I would say that certain supplements are essential to a good program of healthy lifestyle habits; eating whole, varied foods with an emphasis on green and coloured veggies, maintaining good physical posture and exercising the body adequately, drinking plenty of clean water, getting sufficient good quality sleep.
Vitamin C, Vitamin D, magnesium and selenium are three supplements that are important in maintaining the structure and function of the human body; and most people cannot get enough from diet, or in the case of Vitamin D from the action of sunlight when it hasn’t enough energy because of the angle at which it strikes the particular part of the earth in which a person lives.
I trust the following will be a brief but a sound basis by which to understand that regular vitamin C, magnesium and selenium and Vitamin D from Fall to Spring would greatly enhance the functioning of the human body.
The Use of Vitamin C in Self Care
Anti Viral Effect of Vitamin C
Vitamin C has been known to have anti viral activity since 1936.
There are case studies showing the Immune Stimulating Effects of Vitamin C
The Natural Killer Cells are the ‘search and destroy’ cells of the immune system. They search out viruses, bacteria and other foreign invaders, as well as altered cells such as cancer cells and after finding them act to kill them. These cells have molecular pumps on their surfaces which concentrate ascorbic acid in order to form hydrogen peroxide amongst other things in order to carry out this activity. This is just one of the ways in which ascorbic acid acts as an immune stimulant.
Anti oxidant activity of Vitamin C
During an infection there is a ‘storm of free radicals’ which must be neutralised by the cells selenium dependant super oxide dismutase enzyme (SOD). This likely explains, at least in part, the clinical observation that selenium added to a nutritional strategy in viral infections such as Hepatitis and HIV improves outcome. But the selenium-SOD system is specific to the superoxide radical and ineffective against other radical oxygen species. Vitamin C is nature’s premiere anti oxidant scavenger which stops all manner of free radical damage.
Human Beings all have a genetic disease; they lack the enzyme gulano lactate oxidase which finalizes the conversion of glucose to ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). This genetaic mutation is found in Primates, the guinea pig and a subspecies of the fruit bat.
Nearly all organisms, excepting those mentioned above continuously make vitamin C from glucose in order to keep accorbic acid levels high. In humans a dose of vitaminC will last for about 6 hours in the blood, this is the rationale for the ‘flow through’ model of frequent dosing of this all important vitamin
In all cases in order for an effect to be seen dosage and frequency of administration is of critical importance.
A gram dose (1,000 mg = 1 gram) of Vitamin C has been shown to have minimal effects on the progress of the common cold and presumably would have little effect on more invasive, pathogenic viruses. A sustained intake of higher doses in the 2 to 5 gram range has been shown to have moderate effects. High levels of 10 to 70 grams may be required for effect on virulent infections. Case studies indicate that intravenous Ascorbic Acid is effective in serious viral infections and is being used in Complementary Medicine as an adjunctive modality in cancer maintenance therapy.
Pulsing Vitamin C
An easy way of obtaining optimal levels of vitamin C is to take 500 – 1,000mg
(1 gram) with each meal and at bedtime. (This gives a person the 2 – 4 gram amount that is found in animals which naturally synthesize this vitamin every day.)
During times of infection the dosage and frequency of vitamin C should be increased; 2 to 5 grams at each dose taken every 2 to 4 hours. During a 24 hour period 30 to 75 grams of vitamin C may be required (again, this is the amount that animals make under stress of infection). At these high doses there may be some gastric upset, gas and diarrhea. If this happens simply reduce the amount of the next dose. Drink plenty of liquids with these doses of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to improve the effectiveness of many other therapies including antibiotics (if they are needed).
How to make a Vitamin C ‘tonic’.
Take 1/4 (1,000mg) to 1 teaspoon (4,000 mg) of powdered ascorbic acid and add to warm water which helps dissolve the powder. Stir till dissolved and add your favourite juice. You may wish to water down the juice. By sipping this drink over an hour or more one will increase the absorption of the vitamin without gastric upset. Remember in cases of severe infections to repeat this every few hours.
In order to fully appreciate the multitude of effects that adequate ascorbic acid has on the functioning of the human body the interested person may wish to refer to the following well referenced texts.
Vitamin C in Health & Disease, Packer & Fuchs (1997).
Ascorbate; the science of Vitamin C Hickey & Roberts(2004)
Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases and Toxins Levy (2002)
Vitamin C its Chemistry and Biochemistry Davies (1991)