Vitamin C is truly a nutritional hero… it performs many wonders in our bodies each day. It is absolutely essential for all-round health and is especially critical in the functioning of both the central nervous system and the immune system. The best natural sources are vegetables and fruits, such as: kale, parsley, broccoli, celery, grapefruit, strawberries, oranges, sprouts, cantaloupe, red and green peppers, tomatoes etc. This is why freshly made juices, are also a very good way of meeting one’s daily needs.
Unfortunately, given the nutritional shortfall in many of our food stocks, many of us will also need a food supplement, if we are to meet our bodies’ optimal requirements – see: The Truth about Supplements.
Each person’s need for vitamin C differs because of lifestyle, genetics and individual biochemistry. Furthermore, our bodies undergo different stresses and we all eat different foods. Therefore, the daily need for vitamin C to maintain health for an adult can range between 2,000 to as much as 20,000mg per day (these higher amounts would be used with chronic conditions).
These levels are much higher than the recommended daily allowances (RDA) which one should not be surprised by, because the RDA does not take into account the many variables around health, such as: age, genetic predispositions, the levels of stress in someone’s life, differences in body metabolism, shape and size etc.
Linus Pauling reportedly took 18,000mg of vitamin C daily and was ridiculed for this. It is interesting to note that Dr. Pauling had two more Nobel prizes than any of his critics and lived to the age of 93. Abram Hoffer, MD, a colleague of Pauling’s, also took mega doses of vitamin C and successfully prescribed it for a range of conditions to thousands of patients, over 55 years of medical practice. He died aged 91. Both men maintained their mental prowess and acuity into their old age.
There have been vast improvements in supplementary delivery systems i.e. the way we get supplements into the body. In the last 25 years there has been quite a progression from synthetic supplements made in the laboratory, to wholefood and food state supplements. These are cultivated using food as the basis for their production, therefore ensuring a supplement that is as close as possible to what nature intended – having all the other appropriate nutrients that we need for optimal absorption. To find out more about this important shift, take a look at Cytoplan and their excellent range, who are leading the way in this field.
When we are challenged with a viral infection, our need for vitamin C can rise dramatically, depending on the body’s immune function, level of injury, infection, or environmental toxicity. Vitamin C at sufficiently high doses can prevent viral disease or, where an infection has already taken place, greatly speed up recovery. This wonderful characteristic of vitamin C was originally observed by physicians in the 1940s and has been repeatedly verified over the last 60 years by doctors who achieved quick and complete recovery in their patients with mega doses of vitamin C. The effective therapeutic dose is based on clinical observation and bowel tolerance. Clinical observation is essentially taking enough C to be symptom free, whatever that amount may be. Bowel tolerance means the amount that can be absorbed from the gut without causing loose stools.
Very high doses up to 20,000mg, divided up throughout the day, are remarkably non-toxic and have been documented by physicians as curing viral diseases as various as the common cold, flu, hepatitis, viral pneumonia, and even polio has responded favourably to such a protocol.
Several mechanisms for vitamin C’s antiviral effect have been highlighted in numerous studies showing the antioxidant property of vitamin C promotes a healthier environment in the bloodstream and tissues, enhancing the body’s response to oxidative stress from inflammation, thereby helping to fight microbes and viruses that are prolific in stressful conditions. Vitamin C has been shown to have specific antiviral effects where it inactivates the RNA or DNA of viruses, and disrupts the virus’s evolution.
Vitamin C is also involved in enhancing several functions of the immune system. It can enhance the production of interferon, helping prevent cells from being infected by a virus. It stimulates the activity of antibodies and in mega doses seems to have a role in mitochondrial energy production.
It is proven to enhance phagocyte function, which is the body’s mechanism for removing viral particles and other unwanted debris. White blood cells, involved in the body’s defence against infections of all types, are able to absorb vitamin C up to 80 times normal plasma levels, which means if you take enough vitamin C, the body is able to carry huge amounts to the site of any infection. There are many different components of the immune response; B-cells, T-cells, Natural Killer cells, and cytokine production, all with important roles in the immune response. Each of these is enhanced by vitamin C.
Vitamin C at high doses is effective in preventing viral infection and enhancing recovery by boosting the body’s cellular immune system. When taken at an appropriate dose at regular intervals, it is arguably our best tool for curing acute viral illness. The many studies done around IVC (intravenous vitamin C), alongside other doctor-recommended protocols, may be a solution to combating the countless viruses that attack anyone at anytime. Vitamin C seems to be effective with a range of stubborn conditions, which is almost certainly to do with its ‘sacrificial’ property. It will go and sacrifice itself by destroying pathogens for the greater good of the organism. It’s well worth us having this vitamin always at hand.
Taking supplements without looking at the whole of your dietary profile is not wise. This is why it is best to get advice from someone who is appropriately qualified in nutrition, as there is a lot of contradictory information out there and if you are not careful, you’ll just end up buying every supplement you see advertised. Good health requires adequate hydration, deep restorative sleep, regular exercise, a good balanced diet, positive thinking and regular introspection/relaxation. Don’t forget to have fun too!