Many of us who think of the benefits of Vitamin C associate it with the common cold, the man who started the ball rolling with this theory is 2 times Nobel Prize winner Dr Linus Pauling with the book Vitamin C and the common cold where he recommends megadoses of Vitamin C to reduce the severity of the common cold, this book is still a best seller today.
However reducing your chances of getting a cold is just one of the benefits of Vitamin C. There are many other health conditions in which Vitamin C can play a vital role and more are being discovered as time goes by, it surely is the wonder Vitamin.
It is a vital component in the production of collagen production. Collagen is an important protein found in the skin, it is also vital for bones, connective tissue, muscles, organs, tendons and cartilage. Collagen is responsible for the elasticity and suppleness of the skin.
Vitamin C taken orally helps wounds to heal quicker and applied topically to the skin protects it from free radical damage due to exposure to ultraviolet rays.
Benefits of Vitamin C for Cancer
With regard to the prevention of Cancer the antioxidant properties of Vitamin C protects cells and their DNA from damage, it supports the body’s immune system which is the primary first line of defense against cancer, in fact Vitamin C greatly reduces the risk of getting almost all types of cancer. Where Vitamin C may not directly attack cancer that is already present it helps in keeping the immune system nourished, enabling it to battle the cancer.
Other benefits of Vitamin C is that it helps regulate blood sugar levels, so diabetics can benefit also. Insulin helps vitamin C and glucose to enter the cells where it can protect against the many complications associated with diabetes.
A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people with the highest concentrations of vitamin C in their blood had a 42% lower stroke risk than those with the lowest concentrations.
Linus Pauling and the Benefits of Vitamin C
Doctor Linus Pauling was a great advocate of the benefits of Vitamin C, he believed that without adequate levels of vitamin C in the body when damage occurs to the arteries the body naturally attempts to repair this damage by using whatever materials it has to hand, these materials being cholesterol and other fatty substances, by patching the damaged area of the artery wall. However with the presence of adequate supplies of vitamin C this damage can readily be repaired and heart disease can be avoided.
If you think about it this makes a lot of sense, our bodies have their own defense system and will under most circumstances fight off disease with the means it has. However in this case the last thing we want is a repair built up of cholesterol and fatty substances as this leads to the formation of plaque which means blocked arteries!
In the case of Vitamin C however did you know that our bodies cannot make it naturally? We can only get it from our food or supplementing with it. Animals can make their own Vitamin C with the exceptions along with us humans, being primates and guinea pigs, which is thought to be why animals do not suffer heart disease as we do.
But why do Humans not make Vitamin C as animals do?
Somewhere in the evolutionary track humans as well as Apes and Guinea Pigs lost the ability to make Vitamin C. We all 3 had a common ancestry and that is that we lived in a tropical environment and enjoyed a diet rich in Vitamin C. Because of this abundant supply over time the body stopped synthesizing Vitamin C as it received it from the foods we ate at the time. As we evolved into the modern day human we traveled away from this environment and established civilizations in areas lacking in Vitamin C, however our bodies have not had time to adapt so we still depend on our diet to provide Vitamin C for us.
It’s an ongoing science exploring the benefits of Vitamin C as new uses are being discovered all the time.