Canadian Medical Guide > Vitamins & Mineral Food Supplement Guide

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Vitamin / Mineral Supplement Overview:
Vitamin C is essential for the manufacturing of collagen, necessary for tissue repair. It is needed for metabolism of phenylalanine, tyrosine, folic acid, iron. Vitamin C is also vital for healthy immune and nervous systems because it strengthens blood vessels, as it is an antioxidant that participates in oxidation-reduction reactions. Also, it is required for utilizing carbohydrates and synthesizing fats and proteins.

How Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Works in the Body:
Vitamin C is one of the most crucial vitamins in your body for the very fact that plays a large role in hundreds of the body's functions.

The most plentiful tissue in the body is collagen, which is a connective tissue. The primary role of Vitamin C is to help this connective tissue. Because collagen is the defence mechanism against disease and infection, and because Vitamin C helps build collagen, it makes sense that it is also a remedy for scurvy by contributes to hemoglobin production. It promotes the production of red-blood-cell in bone marrow. Ascorbic Acid also supports healthy capillaries, gums, teeth, and even helps heal wounds, burns, and broken tissues. It contributes to hemoglobin and red-blood-cell production in bone marrow while even preventing blood clots. The list goes on. It helps heal urinary-tract infections, and helps treat anemia.

Another large benefit of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is the fact that it plays a large role in the production of antibodies. When the immune system is being overworked, for example when a cold strikes or when your body is wounded, Vitamin C comes in to play by beefing up the white blood cell count and function. It also functions as a promoter of interferon, a compound that fights cancer. An example of this would be blocking production of nitrosamines which are thought to be carcinogenic.

Other functions of Vitamin C include:
The promotion of iron absorption and calcium absorption.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) aids adrenal gland function
Reduces free-radical production
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) may reduce cholesterol
Potential protection against heart disease
May prevent allergies
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) may reduce symptoms of arthritis, skin ulcers, allergic reactions
Possible relief of herpes infections of eyes and genitals
May prevent periodontal disease
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) may reduce toxic effect of alcohol and drugs
May promote healing of bed sores
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) may retard aging
May improve male fertility

Additional Vitamin C Supplements may be beneficial for:
Anyone with inadequate caloric or nutritional dietary intake.
People receiving kidney dialysis.
People over 55 years of age.
Those with recent burns or injuries.
Users of alcohol or tobacco
Those with a chronic illness, such as hyperthyroidism, AIDS, cold exposure, acute illness with fever, or tuberculosis.
People with infection.
Those under prolonged periods of stress.
Post surgery patients.
Those who are continually exposed to toxins.

Foods High in Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid):
Orange juice
Black currants
Broccoli Oranges
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage Peppers, sweet and hot
Collards Potatoes
Green peppers
Rose hips

Using Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid):
Consume fresh fruits lightly cooked or raw.
Steaming vegetables may reduce Vitamin C concentration.
Leaving food exposed to light and air may decease concentration.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is available as:
Liquid: the best form due to its high bioavailability and fast absorption. Always choose liquid as your first choice when supplementing your diet.
Tablets: taking 1.5 hours after a meal is generally recommended. Effervescent is also available.
Injectable forms are available from your doctor.

Medical Precautions: Consult your doctor if you have:
Kidney stones
Sickle-cell anemia
Iron storage disease

Over 55:
Intake of specific vitamins may decrease as you age, therefore extra supplementation may be necessary.
Side effects are more frequent.

Do not take doses greater than RDA.
Choose a prenatal multivitamin with Vitamin C because bone development, teeth, and tissue formation of the fetus are developing.
Mega-doses during pregnancy may result in deficiency symptoms after birth.

Continue prenatal vitamins.

Vitamin Supplement Storage:
Heat and/or moisture may alter the vitamin. Refrigeration is recommended.

Symptoms of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Deficiency:
Prolonged healing of wounds
Easy bruising
Frequent infections
Prolonged colds
Scurvy: weak muscles, fatigue, loss of teeth, bleeding gums, depression, bleeding beneath the skin
Swollen or painful joints
Anemia: tired, paleness

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Overdose:
Signs of Overdose:
Overdose of oral forms: headache, increased urination, flushed face, nausea or vomiting, lower abdominal cramps, Diarrhoea. May feel like the flu or common cold.
Injectable forms may result in dizziness or fainting. : Discontinue vitamin and consult doctor immediately.
Dial 911 or 0 or Poison Control Center immediately.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Side Effects:
Reaction or effect : What to do
Anemia : Discontinue. Call doctor immediately.
Flushed face : Discontinue. Call doctor when convenient.
Headache : Discontinue. Call doctor when convenient.
Increased frequency of urination : Discontinue. Call doctor when convenient.
Lower abdominal cramps : Seek emergency treatment
Mild Diarrhoea : Decrease dose. Call doctor when convenient.
Nausea or vomiting : Seek emergency treatment.
Rebound scurvy-like symptoms : Call doctor when convenient If you decide to reduce dose, do so
gradually to prevent deficiency symptoms.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Interactions:
Interacts with : Combined effect
Aminosalicylic acid (PAS for tuberculosis) : Increases chance of formation of drug crystals in urine.
Large doses of vitamin C must be taken to produce this effect.
Anticholinergics : Decreases anticholinergic effect.
Anticoagulants (oral) : Decreases anticoagulant effect
Aspirin : Decreases vitamin-C effect.
Barbiturates : Decreases vitamin-C effect. Increases barbiturate effect.
Calcium : Assists in absorption of calcium.
Copper : Decreases absorption of copper. Large doses of vitamin C must be taken to produce this effect.
Iron supplements : Increases iron effect.
Salicylates : Decreases vitamin C effect
Sulfa drugs : Decreases vitamin C effect. May cause kidney stones.
Tetracyclines : Decreases vitamin C effect.
Tobacco/Alcohol : Decrease absorption of this vitamin.


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