When people think of immunity and supplements, one of the first nutrients that comes to mind is Vitamin C. Yet when you look at the information, it may seem that there are question marks about its usefulness in preventing colds. common. And even suggestions that it can be harmful in some groups of people. Differences in the type of Vitamin C used, the dose provided, and the frequency of exposure to Vitamin C have left some people wondering whether it should be a staple in the supplement closet or left out altogether. This article takes a closer look at the information that exists around the dosage and form of Vitamin C used to assess how well Vitamin C is absorbed into the bloodstream and is able to maintain plasma levels of Vitamin C at the level. which shows the greatest benefit.
First, a brief look at Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid. It is an essential nutrient that humans cannot produce (unlike most animals) and therefore must be obtained from our diet. It is well known for its antioxidant properties; However, emerging research suggests that it has properties that help us beyond the common cold. It works as an antioxidant in the body and helps eliminate free radicals that are created as a normal part of cellular metabolism and immune function, protecting proteins, fatty acids, glucose, and DNA from oxidative damage. It also plays a role as a cofactor for enzymes in a number of chemical reactions in the body, for example, aiding in wound healing, immune function, and fatty acid metabolism. Most people get their Vitamin C from a variety of fruits and vegetables, and eating vegetables is likely to provide the most Vitamin C given its availability throughout the year. Peppers, kiwis, and citrus fruits can provide the most Vitamin C, although all products contain it. It is easily destabilized by heat, so it is important not to overcook vegetables so as not to destroy 25% of the Vitamin C present.
A Vitamin C deficiency leads to a condition known as scurvy, which results in poor wound healing, bleeding gums, joint pain, and bruising, which can occur in just 3 months of Vitamin C depletion. Although it is believed Since scurvy is a rarely seen condition, research from the University of Otago suggests that people over the age of 50 are at increased risk for scurvy, finding suboptimal Vitamin C status in both healthy and healthy groups of people. people with chronic conditions, despite being given amounts three times the recommended intake. It is not just vulnerable populations at risk of deficiency, there are reports of college students exhibiting symptoms of scurvy. This has led researchers to suggest that the current recommended dietary intake (RDI) of 45 mg is too low to provide an adequate level of Vitamin C in the blood, and a recommendation of 100 mg per day has been made in other countries. This RDI increases in infancy, pregnancy, and nursing mothers. While there is a tolerable upper limit (UL) set at 2000 mg (or 2 g) per day, set at that level due to digestive problems caused by large doses of Vitamin C, there is no evidence to suggest amounts of up to 10 g per day. toxic.
Lifestyle and general health dictate Vitamin C requirements. Activities that increase oxidative stress in the body, including smoking, alcohol consumption, and excessive exercise, will have higher needs than other people, and alcohol increases the excretion of Vitamin C. Inflammatory bowel disorders, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, increase needs, as do kidney failure and dialysis. Research shows that the recommended amounts of Vitamin C to consume maintain plasma levels of Vitamin C at 50 micromoles per litre of blood, a concentration necessary to prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol and to help protect neutrophils (important for immune function). However, higher levels of Vitamin C are likely to be more effective in helping you recover from an inflammatory attack or preventing the worsening of inflammation-related symptoms and subsequent health problems. It is well known that it is exposure to Vitamin C in the bloodstream for prolonged periods that allows the antioxidant to exert its effects. Although intravenous Vitamin C has the ability to raise plasma levels more than 30 times more than oral administration of Vitamin C, since it can prevent digestion and absorption to be administered directly to the bloodstream, it is expensive and not accessible to most people. Additionally, it may not be necessary for most health conditions, as liposomal Vitamin C formulations have been found to elevate plasma Vitamin C to levels that provide the health benefits studied. This study found that plasma levels rose from baseline for more than 8 hours after administration, compared to the 2-hour peak for a standard oral Vitamin C supplement of the same dose. Liposomal forms of Vitamin C are those that encapsulate vitamin C in a liposome, a lipid bilayer that can help it reach the bloodstream without risk of degradation. It is designed to replicate liposomal cells in the body and as such makes it more bioavailable for use. This can also allow the administration of lower doses of Vitamin C, thus reducing the likelihood of gastrointestinal upset that can be experienced if too high a dose is administered in a non-liposomal form.
Vitamin C is perhaps best known for its role in the immune system, and most people take it as a preventive measure for colds and winter flu. Actual research proving its effectiveness would suggest that there are only certain groups that benefit from this. Endurance athletes in particular, whose training places them under significant oxidative stress, have a 50% reduction in risk of developing a cold when taking Vitamin C prophylactically. Children also benefit from a significant reduction in risk when taking doses of up to 2 g per day. Regarding the general population, although there was a trend towards a lower frequency of colds, it is believed that the dose used, the frequency of administration and the duration of supplementation contribute to the absence of an observed effect. Many of the trials did not administer Vitamin C in doses high enough to maintain plasma volume, thus the efficacy of Vitamin C would have been lost. More high-quality trials allowing a higher or more frequent dose of Vitamin C they can better inform the general population's effectiveness in both preventing and treating colds.
Vitamin C has the potential to improve more than the results of the common cold. It has also been studied in relation to improving neutrophil function in patients with sepsis, and this most recent study shows that defective neutrophils are restored after administration of varying doses of Vitamin C, even the lowest dose of 1 mM for two hours. It has also been studied for its clinical effects on pain management in joint-related conditions, infection-related pain, and cancer-related pain. This review of studies reports the efficacy of oral ingestion of Vitamin C and intravenous Vitamin C in pain management and hypothesizes that Vitamin C plays a role in the biosynthesis of neurotransmitters and peptides that have an analgesic effect (such as endomorphins). Vitamin C status is associated with cognitive function, and those with adequate levels of Vitamin C perform better on cognitive tasks, with differential effects seen for men and women.
There are many studies investigating Vitamin C along with other components to test its synergistic effects in improving health. A study that administered the combination of N-acetylcysteine (600 mg), vitamin E (250 IU), and Vitamin C (500 mg twice daily) found that the frequency of migraine and headache was significantly reduced (from one clinically meaningful way) over a 3-month period compared to a control group, resulting in decreased drug use. The researchers suggest that the combined action to reduce oxidative stress was responsible. Another large trial of more than 4,000 participants found that the combination of 500 mg of Vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, 25 mg of zinc, 2 mg of copper, 10 mg of lutein, and 2 mg of zeaxanthin reduced the progression of degeneration. age-related macular disease, possibly due to the ability of these antioxidants to reduce low-grade inflammation that occurs in the eyes.
High-dose Vitamin C has been used for many decades as an adjunct therapy in the treatment of cancer. Cancer patients often present with a low level of Vitamin C, due both to the disease itself (and subsequent inflammatory processes) and to the treatment for it. High-dose Vitamin C has the potential to exert an antitumor effect, by creating oxidative stress in cancer cells with limited toxicity, although there are reports of improved inflammatory and immune outcomes and quality of life measures, a recent review highlights that there are still questions about its effectiveness that prevent firm conclusions about its effectiveness. Treatment with high doses of Vitamin C is also being explored as a viable treatment for sepsis, a condition responsible for a high worldwide prevalence of morbidity and mortality. The standard of care is generally antibiotics in addition to identifying and eliminating the source of infection. The deficiency in Vitamin C levels in a patient with sepsis is reversed with an intravenous treatment that can raise the plasma levels of Vitamin C 70 times more with a dose of 50 mg / kg every 6 hours during a treatment period of 96 hours, and with it an improvement in the endothelium and vascular function, immune function and reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation.
In this era of SARS-CoV-2, the search for pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals to reduce the severity of symptoms has led to a large number of studies investigating safe, cost-effective, and biologically plausible treatments. This is especially since patients who are treated for respiratory conditions often have low Vitamin C status and high levels of oxidative stress. This article reports on the administration of high doses of Vitamin C (intravenous) on the inflammatory response, organ function and immune response up to 7 days later in patients with SARS-CoV 2, and found a significant improvement in all three areas, particularly in those who were not in critical condition. This article presents a case in which Vitamin C and quercetin administered together orally in low doses twice daily can interrupt virus entry and replication, exerting antiviral and immunomodulatory effects, with Vitamin C recycling quercetin and thus increasing its effectiveness. The authors suggest that this combination could be good from a treatment perspective and be taken prophylactically for vulnerable groups. It is not suggesting that nutrient supplementation is a magic elixir for SARS-CoV-2, however, given the role of nutrients such as Vitamin C in the immune system and oxidative stress, it is important to explore its use in prevention. or the treatment of this pandemic. The sentiment is echoed in this paper, given how cost-effective and safe (for most people) adding Vitamin C to treatment options could be.
While there are many benefits to taking Vitamin C, there is research that fails to find that taking ascorbic acid leads to better health outcomes. It is suggested that this is because some researchers failed to understand how Vitamin C is absorbed and used in the body, and additional research investigating multiple doses throughout the day may help us understand the effectiveness of additional Vitamin C supplementation. The ability to increase Vitamin C levels in the blood appears to be governed by the individual's Vitamin C status, as discussed in this article. If someone is deficient, their levels will subsequently increase, however, if they are already sufficient, this may not happen to the same extent that saturation of cells can occur.
While high-dose intravenous Vitamin C is effective, and it's exciting to see research emerge in the therapeutic space, it's not as accessible as other forms of Vitamin C and probably not needed for more common conditions. Certain groups may benefit from Vitamin C dosage with respect to reducing the severity of symptoms and the duration of flu-like symptoms when taken prophylactically. A day-long, multi-dose strategy to maintain plasma Vitamin C levels may be more beneficial, as it will also reduce the risk of gastrointestinal upset. Liposomal Vitamin C may be a better form of Vitamin C administration; however, more clinical trials are required in this area.