Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is a water soluble vitamin & is an essential nutrient for humans, unlike most mammals & other animals, the human body cannot manufacture vitamin C itself as we lack the necessary enzyme to synthesize the vitamin C from glucose. Therefore, we require a constant supply from our diet or in the form of supplements.
Vitamin C is found in fruit & vegetables e.g. bell peppers, dark leafy greens, chillies, tomato, blackcurrants, kiwi fruit, guavas, citrus fruit, berries, papaya, mango. The vitamin C content of our foods depend on many factors though e.g. plant genetics, condition of the soil, the use of pesticides & fertilizers, harvest conditions, handling & storage, transportation, temperature, preparation & cooking techniques.
Unfortunately, unless it is organically grown, eaten at the time of picking most of it is lost. Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen, apart for the beauty effects of our skin it promotes the healing of wounds & burns, also protects against abnormal blood clotting & bruising. It protects against harmful effects of pollution, enhances immunity & protects against infection.
Oral vitamin C increases the absorption of iron. It helps run enzymes efficiently. It is known to assist in reduction of “bad cholesterol” while increasing “good cholesterol” & helps to prevent artherosclerosis (hardening of the Arteries).
Vitamin C is easily absorbed from the digestive system (small intestine); however, the body can only absorb a certain amount of oral Vitamin C at one time. The system within the walls of the small intestine responsible for absorption of vitamin C becomes saturated. The unabsorbed vitamin C continues down into the large intestine & is lost. When gut health is less than optimal, absorption of all the nutrients taken would be compromised.
Clinically, intravenous administration of vitamin C bypasses absorptive control in the small intestine, such that very high doses of Vitamin C can be achieved, increasing the concentration in the blood then the tissues. Vitamin C is usually given in high doses i.e. 15-30g upwards (depending on the condition treated). At these doses it is given intravenously (IV), as these doses cannot be achieved orally.
It is used for a multitude of conditions but not limited to:
Patients who require immune system support or regulation, it is very useful during & after all infections, particularly Viral infections i.e. GF, Shingles, Respiratory Infections etc.
It is often used in inflammatory conditions, CFS, Fibromyalgia. IV vitamin C is extensively used for detoxification & Cancer supportive therapies.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Heavy Metal Toxicity.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, supporting the body when suffering with oxidative stress, present in most illnesses, becoming the basis for a multitude of therapeutic possibilities.
By Pamela Consadine RN
Dr. Karl Hromek
ACMN (Australasian College of Medical Nutrition)