Vitamin C

Background

Vitamin C (also known as both ascorbic acid and Lascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin and powerful antioxidant that helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including bones, blood vessels, and skin. Vitamin C can’t be stored in the body, which means we need it from our diet every day. Though, as a supplement, it was used to relieve of scurvy, some people consider vitamin C as helpful to reduce the symptoms of the common cold. Vitamin C is also needed for healing wounds, and for repairing and maintaining bones and teeth and helps the body absorb iron from nonheme sources.[1]

Benefits

Vitamin C is one of the most effective, antioxidant nutrients and its nootropic effect helps the brain keep healthy. The benefits of vitamin C may include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling, and so on.[2] The supplement of vitamin C benefits also includes –

  • Promotes healthy skin and helps people who have skin cancer [7]
  • Reduces inflammation [8]
  • Improves mineral absorption [9]
  • Lowers the pain of arthritis type diseases [10]
  • Combats free radical damage [11]
  • Increases physical performance [12]
  • Helps people who have ovarian and lung cancer [13]
  • Decreases the risk of stroke [14]
  • Reduces anxiety, depression and stress [15]
  • Helps people who have thinking problems, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease [16]
  • Helps people who have ADHD syndromes [17]
  • Reduces fatigue [18]

Vitamin C has many other uses, such as it is used to increase the absorption of iron from foods and correcting a protein imbalance in certain newborns (tyrosinemia). Some people use it for the heart and blood vessels, hardening of the arteries, preventing clots in veins and arteries, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It is also used for glaucoma, protecting cataracts, gallbladder, asthma, bronchitis, infertility and diabetes. In fact, vitamin C is required for humans for improving overall health performance.[3]

How it works

Though most animals produce their own vitamin C, man and some other primates (apes, chimps, et cetera) and guinea pigs have lost this ability. As a result, man has to depend on intake of vitamin C containing food or supplements. Vitamin C works as a catalyst and preserves the normal body functions from breaking down and or different diseases.
Vitamin C confiscates free radicals in the body. It is replenished by antioxidant enzymes, and is often used as a reference drug in antioxidant research. The structure of Vitamin C allows it to act on neurology and depression as well as interact with the pancreas and modulate cortisol. Its antioxidant properties indicate vitamin C provides neuroprotective effects and benefits for blood flow. By protecting the testes from oxidative stress, vitamin C can also preserve testosterone levels.[4]
Vitamin C is recognized to participate in neuronal maturation and myelin formation, and also be involved in central nervous system signal transduction through neurotransmitters. The dopamine (DA) receptor is involved in several different brain processes including pleasure, reward, motor control, and memory. Vitamin C supplies electrons for the dopamine-β-hydroxylase catalyzing the formation of norepinephrine from DA, and may provide neuroprotection from ROS and quinones generated by DA metabolism. Thus, DA receptor activation causes release of Vitamin C in the brain. Vitamin C has also been shown to induce the release of acetylcholine (ACh) and norepinephrine from synaptic vesicles of neurons, linking Vitamin C to neuronal signal-transmission.[5]

Considerations

Along with its enormous health benefits, Vitamin C may have some common side effects like some prescription drugs, such as –

  • Diarrhea
  • dizziness or faintness (with the injection only)
  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stomach cramps, etc

If any of the above side effects continue or are troublesome, you are recommended to consult your doctor.

Recommendations

The recommendation for vitamin C dosages varies and is mainly for adult use only. Men older than 18 are recommended to take 90 milligrams of vitamin C per day, Women who are older than 18 years old 75 milligrams a day; but during pregnancy 85 milligrams a day, and when you are a breastfeeding mother, 120 milligrams a day.
However, taking greater than 2,000 milligrams a day is not recommended because doing so can lead you to many severe effects such as kidney stones, stomach upset, nausea and diarrhea.

Sources