Donna Gates over at BodyEcology.com has a great article on vitamin C and its many uses in the body. I thought I’d share them with you and maybe add a few of my own.
Incidentally, if you’re looking for good health information, Body Ecology is a great site with lots of helpful articles. Donna is a big proponent of fermented foods and so am I.
It has been well publicized that vitamin C is essential for a properly functioning immune system and is touted for prevention of colds, flus and other illnesses. It is also well known as an antioxidant vitamin, preventing oxidative damage to the cells of the body.
But did you know that vitamin C is also required by two enzymes which are essential for collagen formation? Collagen is a fibrous structural protein that makes up fascia, cartilage, ligaments, blood vessels, bones, tendons and skin. No vitamin C, no collagen.
Vitamin C also helps in the manufacture of norepinephrine, the adrenal hormones that are responsible for our body’s ability to handle stress. Along with epinephrine, norepinephrine is responsible for the “fight or flight” response, increasing bloodflow to the muscles, increases heart rate and triggers the release of glucose from the body’s stores for quick energy.
Vitamin C may also be partially responsible for keeping a trim figure. A study out of Arizona State University found that the lowest blood levels of vitamin C were found in the most obese individuals. Researchers speculate that the mechanism behind vitamin C’s link to obesity is its essential role in the synthesis of carnitine. Carnitine is an amino acid which is responsible for the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria to be converted into energy.
Vitamin C also helps with adrenal gland and thyroid function and can reduce the toxicity of heavy metals like mercury, lead or arsenic. Linus Pauling did extensive pioneering research on vitamin C three decades ago and said that the vitamin could prevent cancer. Current research on mice may slowly be confirming this controversial statement. The wonder vitamin has also been found to prevent gout and may help to prevent cognitive decline in the aged.
Every day, more and more is discovered about this amazing antioxidant vitamin. But, for a vitamin with so many important uses in the body, it is a shame that so many North Americans are deficient in vitamin C. Said Professor Carol Johnson to NutraIngredients.com in an interview: “About 30 per cent of Americans have poor vitamin C status as indicated by blood vitamin C concentrations.” But skip the OJ; Donna Gates recommends eating home fermented foods as a great way to get those vitamin C levels up (as well as many other nutrients and probiotics). I whole-heartedly concur.
About Author: The Healthy Foodie is Doug DiPasquale, Holistic Nutritionist and trained chef, living in Toronto.