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September 22, 2017

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of Registered Nurses,
Certified fitness trainers and other members of our Editorial Board]

Many people take vitamin C to prevent a cold. But how about vitamin
C for preventing cataracts, heart problems, or pneumonia? Or even
high doses of vitamin C for preventing and treating cancer? Vitamin C
is growing in stature as an important prevention or treatment for
many serious diseases. Its powers are not limited to the common
cold – it seems vitamin C could soon be treatment of choice for
something more life-threatening.

What Does Vitamin C Actually Do?

Vitamin C has many crucial functions in the body. It is an essential
vitamin, but we cannot make vitamin C ourselves or store it; we must
consume it daily in our diet or through supplements.
One of the key tasks of vitamin C is to help produce collagen, which
is an essential part of the connective tissue that holds our body
together in tendons, ligaments, skin, etc.
Vitamin C also helps synthesize neurotransmitters like dopamine and
norepinephrine. It acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from
oxidative damage. It helps to metabolize proteins.
Vitamin C has many roles, and scientists are just beginning to
discover how vitamin C can actually help prevent and treat specific

How Vitamin C Saved a Dying Man’s Life

One recent case of vitamin C as a cure all comes from New Zealand in
2013. Allan Smith, a dairy farmer, caught Swine Flu when abroad. It
quickly developed into severe pneumonia that threatened his life.
Before deciding to end treatment, his family asked that he receive
high doses of vitamin C through an IV drip. He was given 25g of
vitamin C in the evening and 25g in the morning and after just a few
days his lungs showed marked improvement. So long as he was
given the vitamin C, his condition improved and he was able to come
off the life support system.

Doctors are still divided as to whether it was vitamin C that actually
caused the dramatic improvement, but other studies have confirmed
that vitamin C does indeed provide important health benefits.

Where Can I Get Vitamin C?

Many people rely on vitamin C supplements but it is actually beneficial
to get vitamin C from food as you will also be getting good levels of
other nutrients like bioflavonoids and carotenes. Orange juice is high
in vitamin C but other vegetables and fruit also contain good levels
such as sweet red pepper, grapefruit, kiwi, green pepper, broccoli,
strawberries, and Brussels sprouts. Adult males should have 90mg a
day, and adult females 75mg a day.

We looked at recent reports into vitamin C and its potential as a
treatment or preventative agent for a range of conditions. Here’s
why vitamin C is being called a medical cure-all.

Vitamin C - A Cancer Killer

The use of vitamin C for treating cancer has been hotly debated since
the 1970s. There are several different ways in which vitamin C may
help to affect cancer in a positive way.

A 2007 study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in
Bethesda, MD showed that vitamin C produces hydrogen peroxide in
the presence of metals. This is an extremely powerful oxidant and it
can kill cancer cells.

In a 2015 study from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City
demonstrated that treatment with high levels of vitamin C killed
colorectal cancer cells by causing them significant oxidative damage.

A 2013 study from the Biomedical Research Centre at the University
of Salford in Manchester, UK, showed that cancer stem cells can
actually be “starved” by administration of vitamin C, meaning without
energy they effectively perish.

However, treating cancer with vitamin C is more than eating some
more oranges since when we consume vitamin C in our diet the body
effectively clears away excess levels in the urine. High levels of
vitamin C administered by injection allow the vitamin to work on
cancer cells.

Studies have been mixed into the overall success of vitamin C for
treating cancer, says the National Cancer Institute. But there is an
enormous amount of research ongoing into this alternative
treatment, which many hope will be used to save countless lives in
the future.

Vitamin C Can Stop Leukemia from Progressing?

In a 2017 study from the Perlmutter Cancer Center at New York
University (NYU) Langone Health in New York City, research shows
that high-dose vitamin C can stop stem cells in leukemia from
multiplying, and may therefore help to stop blood cancer from
getting worse. The action is based on an enzyme called Tet
methylcytosine dioxygenase 2 (TET2) that can help stem cells
develop into normal blood cells that end up acting like any other
healthy cell. Researchers found that vitamin C can genetically
stimulate this enzyme, which means it tells the stem cells to act as
normal – and not contribute to the development of blood cancer.

Vitamin C Prevents Cataracts

A 2016 study from King’s College, London in the UK shows that
foods rich in vitamin C, rather than genetics, could be the key to
preventing cataracts in later life. The study looked at data from 1,000
female twins in the UK who completed questionnaires about their
nutrient and vitamin intakes. Their eyes were assessed for cataracts
and repeat measurements taken 10 years later. The first
measurement connected high vitamin C intake with a 20 percent
lower risk of cataracts, and the second measurement linked high
vitamin C with a 33 percent lower risk of the condition. The
researchers think that vitamin C may prevent cataracts through its
antioxidant actions.

Vitamin C Aids Wound Healing

Research from the 1980s (WM Jr Ringsdorf and E Cheraskin in 1982)
says that high levels of vitamin C can help promote wound healing.
The levels were daily doses of 500mg to 3,000mg – eight to 50 times
the recommended allowance. Benefits were seen in patients
recovering from surgery, injuries, and ulcers.

Vitamin C Helps Fight Off TB

Scientists discovered that vitamin C can kill drug-resistant
tuberculosis (TB) bacteria in the lab, according to a 2013 study from
the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York.

Could adding vitamin C to a TB drug routine help kill the disease

Researchers concluded that “this study enlightens the possible
benefits of adding vitamin C to an anti-tuberculosis regimen and
suggests that the development of drugs that generate high oxidative
burst could be of great use in tuberculosis treatment.”

Vitamin C Helps Reverse Damage to Arteries Caused by Smoking?

Smoking cigarettes significantly impacts the arteries and causes
circulation problems that lead to heart disease.

It seems that vitamin C can reverse or block this artery damage,
according to a 2004 study from Chiba University Graduate School of
Medicine, Chiba City, Japan. The study looked at 13 male smokers
and 12 non-smokers. The study showed that vitamin C increased
coronary microcirculatory function and acted against the oxidative
stress caused by cigarettes.

Smoking also significantly lowers levels of vitamin C in the body, so
smokers can benefit, experts say, from getting more vitamin C on a
daily basis.

7. Vitamin C Helps Prevent Blood Pressure and Blood Vessel Disorders

Vitamin C can help improve circulation and blood flow in people who
are not necessarily smokers, too.

According to a 2015 study from the University of Colorado, Boulder,
vitamin C is just as effective as exercise in reducing blood vessel
constriction brought about by obesity.

And a 1999 study by Duffy SJ, Gokce N, Holbrook M, et al published
in The Lancet found that in a 30-day study of 39 people with
hypertension, 500mg of vitamin C a day reduced blood pressure by
10 percent.

Vitamin C as Preeclampsia Prevention

A 1999 study from Guy's, King's, and St Thomas' School of Medicine,
St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK found that vitamin C supplements at
1,000mg a day along with 400 IU of vitamin E significantly reduced
the risk of developing
preeclampsia in 283 women who were at high
risk of the condition.

Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy where high blood
pressure, swelling, and impaired kidney function affect the health of
both baby and mother.

However, further studies are needed to see if vitamin C is actually
effective in a larger study, and also that high doses of vitamin C are
indeed safe in pregnancy.

Use of Vitamin C Prevents Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) occurs after fractures in the
legs, feet, hands, and arms and can cause skin temperature changes,
burning pain, sweating, and limited range of motion. It is very
difficult to treat.

A 1999 study from Leyenburg Hospital, The Hague, The Netherlands
decided that vitamin C could help prevent the condition following
wrist fractures. In the study, 123 adults with wrist fractures were
given 500mg of vitamin C a day for 50 days. The people treated with
vitamin C were less likely to suffer from the condition.

Can Vitamin C Help Prevent Pneumonia?

A 2007 study from the University of Helsinki in Finland reported that
vitamin C could reduce the risk of pneumonia in teens and adults. The
study looked at data from 2,335 people and found that there were
benefits for people who had an increased risk of suffering from
pneumonia and also had a low vitamin C intake.

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Vitamin C helps prevent cataracts.