by Valerie Brooks
America’s favorite vitamin just can’t seem to stay out of the limelight. The medical community and health experts just keep on boasting of its benefits. Most people’s first reaction to Vitamin C is that it’s a supplement to be taken to prevent or treat a cold. But its history actually has its roots in the treatment of scurvy, a serious disease that plagued sailors in the 1590s who didn’t have access to fruits and vegetables at sea because they were perishable. They started to notice that when they ate citrus fruits, their condition improved. It was then discovered that ascorbic acid (literally meaning “no scurvy”) was the specific nutrient that turned the disease around. That’s when its healing properties were first noticed. Since then, it has been in Linus Pauling’s microscopes as a possible cure for cancer and many other things. We may still only be scratching the surface of this vitamin’s true potential.
Is There Anything Vitamin C Can’t Cure?
Nutritionists and scientists are continuing to credit this miracle vitamin with being a great support in collagen production, which assists in the healing of wounds, burns, and minor injuries. Collagen is also vital to the health of your teeth, skin, and bones. But most popularly, it is known to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and that is why it’s a popular choice for colds, infections, rashes, and sores. The latest studies indicate that the vitamin may be an aid in heart disease, cancer prevention, colitis, allergies, respiratory illness, and other serious conditions. If a person were to research the uses of Vitamin C, he or she just might find claims that it can cure any existing condition. Studies are now being done to test the efficacy of Vitamin C for reducing hypertension, complications due to diabetes, and its ability to heal arthritis.
The Best Ways to Consume Vitamin C
Vitamin C is water soluble, which means that the body does not store it and use it later. The body uses what is consumed and then passes the rest out through urine. That is why there is controversy over whether extremely high doses of the vitamin actually yield any more benefit. But many experts believe that taking vitamin C injections, higher doses can be absorbed by the body. The best way to consume Vitamin C is through food. If you do not eat foods rich in the vitamin on a daily basis, you should take a supplement, especially since the nutrient is not saved by the body. The foods richest in Vitamin C are citrus fruits, and vegetables—particularly oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes, red bell peppers, broccoli, asparagus, and green leafy vegetables. Health food stores offer it in many forms, including pill, powder, crystals, and liquid.
The Vitamin C Skincare Trend
One of the latest trends in skincare is the use of Vitamin C in its products. Since the nutrient is a known anti-oxidant (which fights off harmful free radicals—those nasty critters that can lead to skin cancer) manufacturers are adding the vitamin to its skincare lines. The latest research suggests that not only does Vitamin C act as an anti-oxidant, but it may even stimulate our bodies to produce more of its own anti-oxidant enzymes.
The Latest Vitamin C Super-fruit
There is a fruit that grows in Africa called Baobab that purports to have six times the amount of Vitamin C found in an orange. Resembling a dark coconut, it grows mainly in Senegal from the Baobab tree and claims to be an anti-oxidant super-fruit. Not yet available in the U.S., the fruit has just been approved for sale in the U.K. It will be used mainly in health bars and fruit smoothies, and will likely show up on American shelves sometime in the near future.
Enhanced Vitamin C
The first enhanced vitamin C was Ester C, invented in the 1950s by Dr. Jonathan Wright. This variation on Ascorbic Acid (normal vitamin C) combined the vitamin with certain mineral molecules, which helped the body absorb the vitamin C much faster and helped the cells use the vitamin more completely. There is some controversy over whether or not Ester C is as good for the body as normal Ascorbic Acid. Some feel it can be useful as a “fast-acting” vitamin C when you need to prevent cold symptoms from taking hold, while normal Ascorbic Acid is best for day-to-day use.
Another trend is to combine vitamin C with other nutrients to increase its absorption into the body. Nutrients like MSM, calcium and potassium are some of the more common choices.