Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Vitamin C Lowers Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes

Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients in the human body. Vitamin C has been linked as a cure for everything from diabetes, to cancer, as well as the common cold. Most species of animals produce their own vitamin C, but humans do not, along with the other primates, guinea pigs, and a rare Indian bat. Vitamin C is important for the creation of collagen, which is found in bones and ligaments, blood vessels and tendons. It is also important in the creation of neurotransmitters, which have an effect on both brain function and mood. Vitamin C also helps reduce cholesterol and gallstones, as well as in the synthesis of carnitine, used to convert fat to energy.

The best-known use of vitamin C, other than a cure for colds, is as an antioxidant. In this capacity, vitamin C protects cells from oxidative damage of free radicals. Scurvy is the name of vitamin C deficiency, a disease nearly eradicated by consumption of oranges and lemons. A precursor to scurvy can be found in a blood test showing deficient levels of carnitine or the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine.

Linus Pauling and the Minimum Daily Dose
Vitamin C’s greatest advocate was Linus Pauling and an institute that bears his name furthers his research at Oregon State University. Pauling won a Nobel Peace Price for efforts against nuclear weapon proliferation, and a Nobel Prize in Chemistry as well, before his work with vitamin C. Pauling began research with vitamin C in 1966 and first championed it as a cure for the common cold. Pauling suggested that the correct dosage of vitamin C was 10 to 12 grams a day. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is currently only 90 mg a day for adults. Prevention of chronic disease requires higher levels of vitamin C consumption. Since vitamin C is not stored in the blood, it is best to divide the dose and take it multiple times throughout the day.

Researchers at the Addenbrooke Hospital in England looked at blood levels of vitamin C in medical records of many individuals. They discovered that those with the highest rate of vitamin C in their blood had a 22 percent lower incidence of diabetes

A National Institute of Health study reported that vitamin C was not preventative with cancer, but that research studied oral intake of the vitamin, and the body can process vitamin C only in small amounts. When research is done on vitamin C given by injections, both tumor growth and weight were reduced by 53 percent in 75 percent of the cancers in mice, from ovarian, pancreatic and brain. The current recommendation from the U.S Department of Agriculture and the National Cancer Institute is five to ten servings of vegetables or fruit per day. Cancers particularly decreased by the intake of vitamin C are those in the mouth, throat, vocal chords, stomach, rectum, colon, esophagus, and lungs. A study of 870 men over 25 years showed that only 83 mg of vitamin C per day reduced lung cancers by 64 percent, compared to individuals who consumed less than 63 mg. per day.

Heart Disease
A study showed that cardiovascular diseases were reduced by 42 percent in men who consumed 50 mg a day of vitamin C. These results were lower in women, only 25 percent.

Stroke Risk
A Japanese study conducted on over 2,000 participants showed a 54 percent lower risk of stroke in those who consumed fruits and vegetables on six or seven days per week. Those who only ate vegetables from 0 to 2 times a week were more at risk for stroke. Another study conducted over a 10-year period on 20,000 adults showed similar results. The risk of stroke on the vegetable eaters was lower by 42 percent.

Cataracts, too, can be prevented with vitamin C intake. A seven-year study concluded that 500 mg a day prevented cataract formation.

Vitamin C can prevent the common cold, as well as heart disease, cataracts, and it can even remove toxic levels of lead from the blood. It fuels immunity, builds neurotransmitters and bones and collagen. Considering the low cost of supplemental, or a small piece of citrus fruit, there is every reason to add a few servings of fruit and vegetables to the daily diet.

Source: By Melanie news

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