vitamin C

Functions
  • Healthy immune system, lens of eye, adrenal glands, reproductive organs, connective body tissues (such as joints and gums)
  • Immune system:
    • Enhances white blood cell activity
    • Stimulates immune cells to fight infection
    • Assists in the production of immune-related chemicals
  • Antioxidant: protecting cells and constituents of blood from free-radical damage; restores and regenerates antioxidant potential of Vitamin E
  • Detoxification: helps the body to chelate heavy metals
  • Neurotransmitter and hormone synthesis (cofactor for hydroxylase enzymes):
    • Neurotransmitters: acetylcholine, norepinephrine and serotonin
    • Hormones: (cortisol, growth hormone-releasing factor, oxytocin and vasopressin
  • Collagen synthesis (cofactor for hydroxylase enzymes). Collagen is the structural protein found in skin, bones, tendons, cartilage, arteries, capillaries, hair, nails, teeth
  • Cardio protective: influences cholesterol excretion
Sources notes
  • Best sources raw vegetables and fruits
  • Destroyed by air, heat and water
  • Increases iron absorption
Vegetable Sources Red Chilli; Red Bell Pepper;  Kale; Parsley; Collard leaves; Turnip greens; green peppers; Broccoli; Brussel Sprouts; Mustard Greens; watercress; Cauliflower; red cabbage; Spinach; Cabbage
Fruit Sources acerola; guavas; strawberries; papayas; oranges; lemon, grapefruit; elderberries; mangoes; tangerines
Nut and seed sources
Absorption and function notes
  • Excessively excreted when body is under stress (both environmental and emotional stress)
  • Ascorbate form does not require digestion for absorption
Deficiency factors
  • Poor wound healing; bleeding gums; frequent colds or infections; lung-related problems (epithelial lining relies on vitamin C for protection)
  • Frank deficiency: scurvy – signs are spongy gums, purpura (small bruises).
Toxicity At high doses: diarrhea can result; can also increase levels of uric acid in the urine (concern about kidney stones)

Adapted from:

Murray, M. (2005). Encyclopedia of Healing Food. New York, N.Y.: Atria Books

Bland, J., Costarella, L., Levin, B., Liska, D., Lukaczer, D., Schlitz, B., Schmidt, M., Lerman, R., Quinn, S., Jones, D. (2004). Clinical Nutrition: A Functional Approach, Second Edition. Gig Harbor, WA: The Institute for Functional Medicine.

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