Nature’s miracles- Vitamin C

Individual nutrients deserve discussion in their own right and will be addressed in due course. Today, a few words about Vitamin C…

Vitamin C  is one of the most powerful and widespread ANTIOXIDANT  in our body. It mops up free radicals (bad) that are produced (from any type of stress, poor diet, environmental toxins etc) and so reduces oxidative stress and inflammation  and we know that it protects cells from DNA damage –  hence its protective role in many chronic degenerative diseases  including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and arthritis. Antioxidants work together – Vitamin C works in harmony with Vitamin E and another chemical called glutathione. All are needed in balance.

HEART – Vitamin C can help to lower blood pressure.  Low levels are associated with  increased cholesterol and LDL oxidation (the “bad” one) – which can then lead to atherosclerosis and heart attacks (Jialal et al. Circulation 1993)

Higher levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” one) have also been reported with increased vitamin C levels. (Simon J. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 1992).

It also prevents arrhythmias.

“Vitamin C deficiency is a risk factor for coronary heart disease” – Nyyssonen et al  BMJ 1997

DIABETES – the stress of any illness including diabetes depletes the vitamin C levels and if the amount in the diet is insufficient, the diabetes will get worse, with ongoing degeneration of cells due to oxidative stress –  a vicious circle. It is important to take Vitamin C supplements as dietary amounts simply are not enough here (1-2g daily). “Sub-clinical scurvy” symptoms can occur in anyone where there are inadequate levels – tiredness, fatigue,muscle aches and pains. Prof Brighthope has used high doses of intravenous Vitamin C to treat thousands of diabetic infections including life-threatening infections – often when other drugs and  antibiotics had failed to work.

CANCER  – Vitamin C is used for  certain cancers as it can cause cancer cells to die (apoptosis). It is often given as 10g daily for 10 days followed by 10g daily indefinitely (increases survival and quality of life in terminal cancer patients). (Cameron E, Pauling L 1976)

IMMUNITY– Protects against infections including prevention and symptom relief in respiratory infections. It is also known to fight the Herpes simplex virus.

DEPRESSION – A chemical called BH4 which is needed to make  certain neurotransmitters  can be low in certain conditions such as  depression, schizophrenia, Autism, Parkinsons disease and Alzheimers disease. Vitamin C helps to increase the levels of BH4 and hence improve these conditions.

IRON-DEFICIENCY– Vit C helps to increase iron absorption

CATARACTS, ASTHMA – By helping to protect cells (which are  naturally exposed to high amounts of oxygen)  from oxidative damage, it has a protective role against cataracts and asthma.

“There is no drug that works like Vitamin C, which has a proven ability to improve white blood cell activity, increase immune chemicals in the blood, stimulate antibodies and immune hormones, strengthen resistance to invading germs, selectively kill cancer, melanoma and leukaemia cells without harming normal cells, increase glutathione in the brain and relieve depression and some schizophrenias” –  Prof Brighthope.

Foods – e.g. bell peppers, thyme, parsley, brassica family (broccoli-28mg per piece, brussel sprouts-16mg per sprout, cauliflower, cabbage), amla (indian gooseberry), strawberries (11mg per berry) , other berries, chilli peppers (65mg per pepper), kiwi fruit, guava (126mg per fruit), papaya, lemon/lime, oranges (36mg/orange) , grapefruit, pineapple, tomatoes,  spinach, green beans… and many more.

The amounts given are just to get a general idea of the quantity.

Recommended intake–  75mg (F) and 90mg (M)-but  this is only sufficient to prevent scurvy! For optimal health, higher doses can be consumed daily –ideally from fresh produce, but supplements can also be taken. It is reasonable to have at least 500mg daily although 1g-4g daily are usually recommended by nutritional doctors. (Diarrhoea has been documented to occur with 2g though)


Good Health in the 21st Century: A Family Doctors Unconventional Guide- Dr Carole Hungerford

The Vitamin Cure for Diabetes- Professor Ian Brighthope M.D