Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential human nutrient found primarily in fruits and vegetables. Many animals can make their own vitamin C and do not require it from food. This is why cats can consume exclusively meat diets and not be deficient in Vitamin C. Only guinea pigs, humans and primates cannot manufacture their own vitamin C!
The nutrient also plays a vital role in the prevention of scurvy, which occurs in humans when there is not adequate intake of foods rich in ascorbic acid. Scurvy causes the body’s connective tissue to break down and is fatal if not treated in time. In centuries past, sailors would often contract scurvy because they would be away at sea for months at a time without access to fresh fruits and vegetables. In the mid-1800s, Englishman James Lind, a medical apprentice, observed that citrus appeared to prevent scurvy during long ship voyages. Although it wasn’t until 1928 that vitamin C was first isolated and identified, Lind’s observations kept English sailors free of the terrible scurvy in the interim. British ships began to carry lime juice on long voyages in the late 1800s. No one really understood why the lime juice worked, but it did, and English sailors became known as limeys. Vitamin C is water-soluble.
This means that it cannot be stored in the body and must be replaced through diet or supplementation daily. The current recommended daily amount for an adult is 60 milligrams. It’s simple to get nearly this much from a single small orange, which contains 51 milligrams of ascorbic acid. The rest of the recommended amount can easily be obtained from other citrus and vegetable sources. Taking too much isn’t really a concern. The body will simply eliminate what it doesn’t need through urination. Vitamin C has some important functions in the body:
- It helps prevent anemia
- It helps with wound healing and collagen production
- It may reduce the effects of aging
- It may strengthen the immune system and help to fight cancer
- It may help to maintain a normal weight by encouraging fat metabolism
Vitamin C is needed for the production of collagen, which is the substance that helps to support skin. Young skin looks plump and is wrinkle-free largely because it’s rich in collagen and elastin, another supportive skin substance. That’s why adequate intake is important to help prevent premature aging. Vitamin C also helps to support the immune system to fight cancer and autoimmune diseases. Vitamin C may also help to do the following:
- Clear infections
- Reduce oxidative stress on cells
- Fight degenerative diseases
- Protect cells from free radical damage
Vitamin C and Autoimmune Disease Free radicals are formed when cells perform certain processes involving oxygen. Free radicals damage cells and promote inflammation, setting the stage for diabetes, heart disease and dementia. The antioxidant vitamin C helps to protect cells from free radical damage. However, because vitamin C is water-soluble, it is not possible to ingest amounts large enough to increase blood levels enough to fight autoimmune diseases. That’s why it’s administered via IV, so the nutrient enters the bloodstream directly. An autoimmune disease occurs when the body attacks its own healthy cells.
Normally, the body’s immune system only attacks cells and proteins that are foreign to it. It’s how the body stops bacteria and viruses from invading its cells. When someone has an autoimmune disorder, the immune system is on hyper-alert and attacks and destroys healthy cells. This results not only in widespread systemic inflammation, it also can cause autoimmune diseases like psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes and lupus.
Autoimmune disease is poorly understood. No one knows why the immune system goes awry and attacks its own tissues. Over the past decade or so some targeted biologics have been introduced to treat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis with varying success. Some people react positively to these targeted treatments; others do not. All have serious side effects. IV vitamin C therapy may help with autoimmune disease by helping to support and normalize the immune system so it does it intended job of fighting invaders, not its own cells.
It’s also thought that the widespread systemic inflammation created by autoimmune disease may cause disruptions in the body’s microbiome, or intestinal environment. This may cause the gut to leak nutrients, creating deficiencies. IV therapy bypasses the gut and supplies the nutrient directly to the bloodstream.
Want to Know More?
If you’re suffering with an autoimmune disease and would like to give an alternative therapy a try, call us at 205-352-9141. We have IV vitamin C therapy and also other therapies designed to fight disease and keep the body as healthy as possible.