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Vitamin C -- Ascorbic Acid

Vitamin C is one of the most important antioxidants. It's especially important because, unlike other animals, we are not capable of synthesizing it within our bodies. We must get it from outside sources, either food or supplements.

Vitamin C is practically the all-round hero to our body. It protects our organs and skin from free radical damage. It may help protect us from cancer by reducing lipid peroxidation which is linked to the degeneration of the aging process and by protecting DNA from damage by free radicals.

It also raises HDL good cholesterol and prevents LDL bad cholesterol from oxidizing, thus preventing the build up of atherosclerotic plaque on the walls of our blood vessels. It also protects our hearts by reversing endothelial dysfunction which is also linked to atherosclerosis.

Vitamin C's best known function is how it protects us from infections by destroying invading organisms. That's why it's promoted as a way to protect us from colds and the flu.

A deficiency of Vitamin C results in scurvy. Those symptoms include easy bruising, bleeding of gums, tooth decay, nosebleeds, and wounds that will not heal. Actual scurvy is rare in developed countries.

However, Vitamin C advocates point out that an absence of scurvy does not logically mean that you're the in the peak of health. For that, you need to take far more Vitamin C than just enough to prevent scurvy.

Natural sources of Vitamin C include most all fruits and vegetables, especially citris fruit, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupes, tomatoes and red peppers.

A relatively high supplementation dose is 1000 to 2000 mg per day. Yet that's highly debated.

I know that the president of my vitamin company believes that high doses of Vitamin C are unnecessary if you take a healthy range of other vitamins and minerals. Therefore, I don't take any extra unless I'm under extra stress or have that rundown achy pre-cold feeling.

Some advocates say you should take large doses of Vitamin C until you find the point at which it sends you running to the bathroom. Then scale down until you find the highest level which does not upset your digestive system, and take that much every day.

However, some believe that high doses of Vitamin C over a long period can deplete your supply of copper and cause kidney stones.

Do take Vitamin C obtained from natural sources such as rose hips rather than simply ascorbic acid. For best results, don't take it on an empty stomach.

By: Richard Stooker

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