Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, make sure you get enough

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, make sure you get enough



“Optimum nutrition is the medicine of tomorrow” – Linus Pauling

Vitamin C has gotten a fair amount of press over the years. In 1970, Portland’s own Nobel Prize winning chemist, Linus Pauling, advocated using 1 gram of vitamin C per day to prevent the common cold. Vitamin C is also important in many body systems. In fact, people who take high amounts of vitamin C have lower risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and other diseases.

Vitamin C is so much more than an immune booster. It is important in many biochemical processes in the body. It helps maintain connective tissue integrity. It activates enzyme processes that burn fat to make energy. It works in our adrenal glands to make norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that helps us cope with stress. And it acts as a free radical scavenger.

Because it is a critical anti-oxidant, higher concentrations of vitamin C are likely to reduce the risk and severity of diseases associated with free radical damage to tissues such as cataracts, atherosclerosis and stroke. It has also been shown to reduce risk of cardiac complications following surgery.

Vitamin C is the most abundant water-soluble vitamin in the body. But, unlike many other animals, humans can’t synthesize vitamin C. It must be derived from our diets. Many fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C. But cooking, canning and processing can destroy vitamin C. Eating fresh raw or frozen fruits and vegetables or drinking juices yield optimal amounts.

Our bodies can only store about a month’s supply of vitamin C. In the absence of fresh fruit and vegetables, people develop scurvy in about 3 months. Its symptoms include anemia, loose teeth, muscle and bone pain, bruising, bleeding gums and gingivitis and exhaustion.  The term “Limey” comes from sailors bringing limes on ships to prevent scurvy.

Smoking, stress, alcohol consumption and disease all increase your need for vitamin C.

Vitamin C supplementation is generally very safe even for young children. Doses of 2-3 grams (2000-3000 mg) is typically safe for an adult. Higher doses can cause diarrhea or stomach upset. Some people may get canker sores from high doses of certain forms of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient. Make sure you get enough.


Dr. Jennifer Means welcomes you for Primary Care for the whole family: Nutrition, IV Therapy, Naturopathy, and Acupuncture. Contact us at 503-641-6400