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Nutrient of the week: Vitamin C

          Vitamin C is arguably the most popular vitamin people consume to prevent and cure the common cold. Although there are numerous benefits to consuming Vitamin C, curing and preventing the common cold is not one of them.  Instead, you should consume vitamin C for its antioxidant actions, connective tissue health, and prevention of scurvy, ARGHHHH.

            Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid, and can be found almost anywhere as an over the counter cure for pretty much everything, including cancer.  I am not educated enough on the effects of vitamin C to comment on whether or not it helps with cancer patients, but what I do know is that consuming it daily can help you live a healthier life.

            Since many of you reading this are most likely avid workout participants, you should know that exercising results in free radicals being released into your bloodstream. Free radicals for those who don’t know are reactive compounds that can damage our bodies from the cellular level, all the way up to our skin by making us look older than we are. Vitamin C, which is a very strong antioxidant, lends a helping hand to combat the affects of the free radicals, while protecting other vitamins from harmful reactions as well.

            Contrary to popular belief, vitamin C ‘s more important job is in the connective tissue and collagen health department then it is on the immune system. Collagen is the major protein that makes up our connective tissue, and is a vital piece in cartilage, bone, skin, tendons, and ligaments. Vitamin C also helps give cartilage its strength and elasticity, while helping to formulate scar tissue.  Lets think for a second where scar tissue is found. Scar tissue is found near wounds, and aids in the healing process. That said, with vitamin C helping in the formation process of scar tissue, we could deduce that vitamin C helps to heal wounds. Therefore, if you, or someone you know has been injured, or has joint issues, then I would recommend to them to increase their vitamin C consumption.

            This last section is for those modern day pirates out there, or to people who don’t eat fruits and veggies. If you can think back to those history classes way back you can probably remember how pirates or other sea travelers would suffer from a vitamin C deficient disease known as scurvy.  Scurvy is basically the result of being so low on vitamin C that your teeth fall out. So I guess its not that bad if you hate brushing your teeth!

            If you smoke, take aspirin on a daily basis; take steroids, or antidepressants, then it is suggested to increase your dosage of vitamin C. You can get your vitamin C from a variety of fruit with citrus being the most popular. (Oranges, Grapefruits, lemons, limes.) Other foods that are terrific sources of vitamin C are asparagus, kiwi, broccoli, kale, peppers, tomatoes, and cauliflower to name a few.

            So if you didn’t know how much vitamin C can help you recover, stay healthy, and prevent you from losing your teeth, now you know.  If you do not currently eat a lot of fruit and veggies, then I suggest you start, or, if you don’t like those types of food, then researching a quality vitamin C supplement to take is your next best thing to prevent a deficiency.

 

NSB

 

Reference:

Busch, F., Health and Wellness Reference Library. Smart Nutrition: The Essential Vitamin, Mineral & Supplement Reference Guide. 2002. Pages 36-39

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