How Vitamin C Works in the Body   written by Tessa Jupp  Ref: ďAge-Defying DietĒ  R Atkins MD St Martin's Press  New York  2000  "Why Animals Don't Get Heart Attacks"  M Rath MD Health Now  San Fran.1998  Perspectives in Nutrition G Wardlow Mc Graw-Hill USA 1999  "Nutritional Augmentation of Oncology Care" paper by C Simone MD at 2nd World Conference of Nutrition and Vitamin Therapy in San Fran 2000

We have just seen that Vitamin C is important in maintaining arterial wall membranes, thus reducing arteriosclerosis, rather than taking cholesterol reducing drugs.   Letís look at some of the other ways Vitamin C works in the body.
 
In the diagram opposite you can see where in the digestive tract, many of the nutrients in our foods leave the gut to enter the blood stream.  Minerals calcium, magnesium and iron all leave the gut not long after they leave the stomach.  They are better absorbed in a slightly more acid environment.
 
Vit C is acidic and is also a reducing agent ie it works as an antioxidant by donating or receiving extra oxygen to stabilise another molecule, like iron, making it more soluble so that it can be absorbed.  This is why the doctor may tell us to take Vit C at the same time we take iron tablets.  Iron tends to bind up the bowels but as well as changing iron to a more absorbable form, taking a little more Vit C than the body really needs will attract more water back to the bowel by osmosis, keeping faeces soft and easier to keep moving through the gut.  This way we donít get constipated.  Conversely, too much Vit C will give us diarrhoea, as too much water will be drawn back to the gut.  This will leave our circulation levels low so we need to drink sufficient water not to become dehydrated and thirsty.  This is also an excellent way of determining how much Vit C we need - enough to keep our bowels working regularly every day without effort but not to make them too loose.
 
Note that magnesium and calcium use the same absorption sites so should not be taken together or they will be competing to use the same "gates".  These 3 minerals leave the gut early, which explains why magnesium works so quickly (within 5 -15 minutes) particularly when taken on an empty stomach.  Phytates found in grains bind minerals so that they canít be absorbed so avoid eating cereals, bread etc at the time you take minerals.
 
Glucose, from carbohydrate foods leaves the gut soon after and this stimulates insulin release to prepare body cells for glucose and energy  production.  Fat and water soluble vitamins leave the gut next.  Vit C is a water soluble vitamin so is absorbed at this point.  It also uses the same receptors as glucose to enter the cell membrane.  So if we have eaten a lot of simple sugars, as in sweets, cool drink etc, less Vit C can be absorbed because the receptors are already in use.  Complex carbohydrates, vegetables and grains release glucose more slowly so there is less competition for receptors sites.  Proteins, amino acids, fats and water leave the gut in succession after this.
 
Sodium and potassium leave further on down the gut, followed by B12 ( intrinsic factor in the stomach prepares B12 for absorption here) and bile, that enters after food leaves the stomach to help protein and fat digestion, is reabsorbed here too.  The large intestine gives up more sodium and potassium, water, acids and gases before the remaining undigestible food bulk moves on to the rectum for exit from the body.

Vitamin C is similar in structure to glucose. Animals that can make their own Vit C use glucose to make Vit C.  When we need Vit C we crave sweet foods because if we ate as nature intended, the only sweet foods available would be fruit, which would supply us with Vit C and satisfy our need for something sweet.
 
Vit C is required for many chemical reactions in the body, from carnitine and sperm production to immune function in dealing with colds, cancer etc  In 1935 Dr Klenner reports successfully curing polio with 80 Gm of Vit C per day.
 
Dr Simone speaking on "Augmentation of Oncology Care"  at the 2nd World Conference of Nutrition and Vitamin Therapy in San Fran 2000, told how a high dose of Vit C deprives quickly dividing cells of the necessary oxygen for growth by its antioxidant properties.  Cancer cells and also viruses and bacteria, that depend on getting extra glucose to promote cell division, can be flooded by excess Vit C which uses the same receptor sites to enter the cell in competition with glucose.  The extra Vit C shuts down the oxidative energy reaction in cancer cells, inhibiting protein kinase C which increases cell division and proliferation.  This disables oncogene expression and increases the bodyís inhibitory growth factor.  In fact antioxidants decrease abnormal cell growth rate, whilst eating lots of sugar rich and high cholesterol foods feeds cancer cells and other fast dividing cells like viruses etc.  There have been over 350 studies that show the success of Vit C used in this way.  Large doses are required to flood the system.  That is why it is recommend we take 1000-2000mg of Vit C 1 -2 hourly when we are sick or to bowel tolerance (which will increase in times of sickness and stress.)
 
Another area Vit C is very important in is collagen synthesis.  Collagen is fibrous connective tissue that lines surfaces. eg skin, blood vessels, bone, tendons etc.  It consists of 3 polypeptide chains wound together like a plaited rope.  If the strands are tangled instead of plaited, the rope or lining is weak and leaky.   So we get thin fragile skin and other body linings that leak, bruise easily, break down, bleed, swell up, heal poorly.  Skin becomes itchy, and/or a burning, crawling sensation when Vit C is low.  Heat rash responds to extra Vit C, skin temperature improves and blood pressure is lowered.  Vit C increases HDL levels leading to a reduction in cholesterol.  It also has a blood thinning role and is an excellent alternative (so is Vit E) to take instead of aspirin to thin the blood.  Vit C inhibits platelet aggregation that leads to clotting.  Vit C and Vit E work almost as well as Warfarin.  If doctors doubt this ask them to do a clotting time to see - I have.  Drugs like Tagamet, Zantac, Sudafed, cortisone and broad spectrum antibiotics, block antioxidants passing into cells so predispose to cancer.  Aspirin breaks down collagen, in joints too.  Vit C however, builds it up.
 
Processed foods like white flour and sugar, have lost vital vitamins and minerals in refining so are major causes of high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, cancer, diabetes etc, primarily due to electrolyte imbalance, including low Vit C.  In diabetes, increased blood glucose and insulin resistance, block the entry of Vit C to cells so depressing the immune system for up to 5 hours after ingesting sugary foods.  This results in poor healing, increased cholesterol, being infection prone, peripheral neuropathy and cataracts.
 
Vit C and Vit B5 are the main ingredients of cortisone and adrenaline production, and also depress histamine and allergic reactions.  For these reasons Vit C helps control asthma and hay fever, and helps with stress.
 
It is important to take the right sort of Vit C for your blood group.  O and B need a calcium ascorbate.  A1 and AB need sodium ascorbate.  A2 needs a combination of both calcium and sodium ascorbates. 

Blood Group

Type of Vitamin C

Example

O

Calcium Ascorbate

Golden Glow C-Complex Sustained Release

A1

Sodium Ascorbate

Herb Valley Sodium Ascorbate

A2

Calcium + Sodium Ascorbate

Golden Glow Bio-C

B

Calcium Ascorbate + bioflavinoids

Golden Glow C-Complex Sustained Release

AB

Ascorbic Acid

Melrose Ascorbic Acid

Alternatively, orange flavoured for O and AB.  Blackcurrant flavoured for A1, A2 and B

Split the dose, take 2 or 3 times a day and take to bowel tolerance to be most effective.

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