Throughout history, scurvy, or severe Vitamin C deficiency, caused massive suffering. About 450 B.C., the Greek physician Hippocrates first described its symptoms: bleeding gums, tooth loss, fragile bones, and muscle and joint pain. Scurvy also caused weight loss, irritability, fatigue, impaired mental function, shortness of breath, bruising, poor wound healing, internal bleeding, and sudden death from haemorrhage or heart failure. Infamous among sailors on long voyages where fresh fruits and vegetables were luxuries (they spoiled too quickly), scurvy was a scourge of soldiers, explorers, and settlers alike. Certain foods - especially oranges, lemons, and limes - soon became known for their ability to prevent or cure scurvy.
In the early 20th century, scientists isolated Vitamin C and showed that it was the agent that cured scurvy. Vitamin C was first synthesized in 1933, and the official name for Vitamin C was established as ascorbic acidin 1938. Since then, researchers have discovered numerous critical health-maintaining roles for Vitamin C.
They now know that Vitamin C is a key member of the body’s antioxidant defense team, working with flavonoids to protect body fluids and cells’ watery portions from oxidative damage. It is concentrated in the adrenal glands (responsible for our stress response), eyes, liver, spleen, intestine, bone marrow, pancreas, thymus, kidneys, areas of the brain, and in the white blood cells that make up our immune defenses against bacteria, viruses, and even cancer. Vitamin C-rich diets have been linked to reduced risks for cataracts, cancer, atherosclerosis, and stroke - all conditions where oxidative damage plays a role.
BEYOND SCURVY: MODERN ROLES FOR VITAMIN C
Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, who first proposed that Vitamin C might keep sniffles, sneezes, and even cancer at bay, generated a flurry of research with the publication of his 1970 book Vitamin C and the Common Cold and the Flu. Since then, research has shown many important functions for Vitamin C:
- Needed to form collagen, the major protein of connective tissue, cartilage, and bone. Collagen, which makes up more than half of the protein in humans, gives skin its elasticity and binds cells together in organs and tissues, much as mortar bonds bricks.
- Antioxidant protection of cells, lipids, proteins, and DNA from free-radical damage linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, etc., as well as declining immunity. May help protect Vitamins A and E and polyunsaturated fatty acids from oxidation.
- Needed to make carnitine, an agent that plays a key role in human metabolism.
- Needed to make the neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
- Involved in hormone synthesis and/or release from adrenal glands - part of the body’s response to stress.
- Necessary for iron absorption, transport, and storage.
- Plays a role in the metabolism of the amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan.
- Plays a role in the metabolism of fats, including cholesterol.
- Required for strong teeth and bones.
- Required for healthy gums.
- Helps maintain the strength of blood vessels, especially capillaries.
- Facilitates wound healing.
- Inhibits the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines in the digestive tract.
- Strengthens immunity by stimulating the production of antibodies and the activity of white blood cells known to engulf and destroy infected cells.
- May reduce the severity and duration of colds.
- Regenerates oxidized Vitamin E. May reduce requirements for other nutrients.
- Has antihistamine properties.
- Required to convert folic acid (a B-vitamin) to its active form.
- Essential for normal protein metabolism.
- May aid the detoxification of drugs.
VITAMIN C IS A POWERFUL WATER-SOLUBLE ANTIOXIDANT - AND MORE!
If your diet is short on Vitamin C, every cell in your body suffers. As most of our body weight is water and Vitamin C resides in watery regions of the body, Vitamin C has a large area to protect. It also helps regenerate our major fat-soluble antioxidant, Vitamin E.
Antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, help prevent oxidative damage. Metabolism involves an oxidative process which may create free radicals, reactive and destructive molecules with the potential to damage cells and increase the risk of disease. Other agents which contain or generate free radicals include: sunlight, radiation, cigarette smoke, smog, heavy metals, ozone, organic solvents, pesticides, herbicides, food additives, and many drugs.
Antioxidants may neutralise, or “mop up,” free radicals before they cause damage. They can also stop oxidative chain reactions, inhibiting further damage even after oxidation has begun. Though antioxidants destroy free radicals, they can be destroyed in the process, so they must constantly be replenished. As long as the body has abundant antioxidants, free radicals are held in check. If the body’s antioxidant defense team becomes overwhelmed, however, free radicals may harm and even destroy cells.
VITAMIN C AND IMMUNITY
Why does one person exposed to an illness become sick, while another remains well? The strength of the immune system may make the difference, and Vitamin C is an important member of a team of nutrients - including carotenoids, flavonoids, Vitamin E, and a number of minerals - that bolster our resistance to disease. Vitamin C may boost the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies. The immune system tends to respond more rapidly when cells are saturated with Vitamin C. During an illness, Vitamin C stores become depleted and even a well-balanced diet may not supply enough for optimal body function. Several studies indicate that Vitamin C may help control viral infections causing polio, cold sores, fever blisters, shingles, pneumonia, hepatitis, measles, viral encephalitis, and influenza. And while Vitamin C may not prevent you from catching the common cold, it may reduce the length of a cold by about a day and the severity of symptoms such as coughing, fever, chills, runny nose, and sore throat.
VITAMIN C AND CANCER
Cancer is a group of about 100 diseases with numerous causes, including unlucky genes. External influences - including tobacco, chronic infections, and a poor diet - account for three-quarters of all cancers. Although a poor diet may raise your cancer risk, a good diet may lower it. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with Vitamin C and other healthful nutrients, and more than 130 scientific studies document their anti-cancer effects. The American Cancer Society recommends eating plenty of Vitamin C-rich foods every day. Population studies consistently show that a Vitamin C-rich diet lowers your cancer risk. Low intakes of vitamin C are associated with a two-fold increase in the risk of cancers of the breast, cervix, oesophagus, lung, mouth, pancreas, rectum, colon, and stomach.
VITAMIN C AND HEART HEALTH
Vitamin C may help protect heart and blood vessel health. Vitamin C deficiency is a risk factor for coronary heart disease. In a recent study, men who were deficient in Vitamin C were three times more likely to have a heart attack compared to men who were not deficient in Vitamin C. Also, a good Vitamin C status may cut your risk of a stroke in half. Higher-than-RDA intakes of Vitamin C have been linked to lower risks of cardiovascular death and disease, as well as increases in artery-clearing HDL (“good”) c holesterol, and decreases in artery-clogging oxidized LDL (“bad”) cholesterol10 and blood pressure.
VITAMIN C AND LUNG HEALTH
Smoking. As oxidants in cigarette smoke can deplete Vitamin C, smokers tend to have lower blood levels of Vitamin C than non-smokers. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences recommends almost twice as much Vitamin C for smokers as for non-smokers.
Asthma. Vitamin C has antihistamine effects, and in half a dozen small studies, it improved respiratory measurements of people with asthma. In one study, it helped prevent exercise-induced asthma.
VITAMIN C AND PROTECTION OF THE EYE
Long-term exposure to sunlight is a risk factor for cataracts, the world’s leading cause of blindness. Free radicals in sunlight may cause proteins in the eye’s lens to break down, clump together, and cloud the lens. Vitamin C is 20 times more concentrated in lens tissue than in blood. Vitamin C supplements and an antioxidant-rich diet may help lower the risk of cataracts: Women who had taken Vitamin C supplements for at least 10 years had a 45% lower risk of cataracts. People who consume less than 125 mg per day of Vitamin C have four times the risk of developing cataracts compared to those consuming more than 500 mg per day.
VITAMIN C AND EXERCISE
Can Vitamin C help you get more out of your workout? Suboptimal intake may contribute to muscular weakness, decreased use of fatty acids, anaemia, poor healing of injuries, decreased aerobic power, muscle and nerve fatigue, and accumulation of lactic acid. Vitamin C may improve oxygen utilisation, acclimatisation to heat, work capacity, and recovery after exertion. While exercise may generate harmful free radicals, Vitamin C, through its antioxidant action, may lessen their damage. In one study, oxidative stress was higher in exercisers who did not supplement with Vitamin C than in those who did.
VITAMIN C AND STRESS
Vitamin C is especially concentrated in the adrenal glands, which produce hormones in response to all types of stress: physical, mental, and emotional. The normally high levels of Vitamin C in the adrenal glands are depleted when stress hormones are made. Scientists theorise that Vitamin C is needed for the synthesis or release of these hormones. The greater the stress, the greater the Vitamin C requirement.
VITAMIN C AND PREGNANCY
Pregnancy increases the need for most nutrients, including Vitamin C. The placenta transmits Vitamin C from mother to baby, and at birth the baby’s Vitamin C levels are twice that of the mother. For this reason, pregnant women need additional Vitamin C, especially in the second and third trimesters. Also, nursing mothers lose 25-45 mg of Vitamin C each day, as human milk is rich in Vitamin C.
READILY AVAILABLE, BUT OFTEN MISSED
Even though Vitamin C is readily available in foods, most people do not get enough. Some of the richest natural sources of Vitamin C are acerola cherries and rose hips (the base of the rose bloom). Citrus fruits - oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes - are also excellent sources. Other top sources are strawberries and other berries, pineapple, guavas, papayas, cantaloupe, peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, and tomatoes.
DEFICIENCY IS ALWAYS A RISK: THE VITAMIN C “GAP”
Humans are one of the few species that cannot make Vitamin C. All animals require Vitamin C, however, so those whose bodies cannot biosynthesise it must obtain a steady supply in the diet. But Vitamin C is water-soluble and is therefore impossible to store for long periods. Compounding this problem is the fact that Vitamin C, a fragile nutrient that is easily oxidised and attacked by enzymes, can be destroyed in significant amounts during food harvesting, transportation, storage, processing, and cooking. The bottom line? Your diet may not be meeting your Vitamin C needs.
Do you get enough Vitamin C? That depends if your primary goal is 1) to prevent deficiency symptoms or 2) to hinder oxidation, lessen free-radical damage, and promote optimal health. Most of us do not get the amount of Vitamin C we need each day to prevent even minor deficiency. And if we’re not getting enough Vitamin C to meet goal number one, we’re certainly not getting enough to meet goal number two. Consider:
- 59% of Americans do not consume the RDA for Vitamin C. That’s not very encouraging considering it only takes one orange a day to get this amount!
THE NEOLIFE DIFFERENCE IN VITAMIN C SUPPLEMENTATION
NeoLife provides two excellent choices to help you address the Vitamin C “gap” and assure that your dietary needs are being met: Vitamin C for sustained release and delicious All-C for a chewable option. All our products feature high-potency, high purity Vitamin C plus Vitamin C-related factors from oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. All-C also contain rose hips and acerola cherries - nature’s richest vitamin C sources!
NEOLIFE DIFFERENCE #1: WHOLE-FOOD SOURCES
In nature, Vitamin C does not exist in isolation. It exists in fruits and vegetables with bioflavonoids, proteins, carbohydrates, and other factors which work together to improve Vitamin C’s bioavailability. NeoLife’s All C supplement features our exclusive whole-citrus Neo-Plex Concentrate with juice, vitamin C, flavedo, mesocarp, endocarp, protopectins, bioflavonoids, and other natural factors - virtually everything from whole oranges except the water! By providing Vitamin C in a natural, biocompatible context, Neo-Plex Concentrate helps your body better absorb and utilise Vitamin C.
FOOD SOURCES OF VITAMIN C
|Food||Vitamin C (mg)|
|acerola cherries (1 ounce)||501|
|rose hips (1 ounce)||441|
|kiwi fruit (2)||145|
|orange juice (1 cup)||105|
|papaya (1 cup)||87|
|strawberries (1 cup)||83|
|orange (1 medium)||82|
|broccoli (1 cup)||79|
|grapefruit juice, canned (1 cup)||76|
|green or red pepper (1/2)||76|
|vegetable juice cocktail (1 cup)||67|
|broccoli, cooked (1/2 cup)||63|
|apple or grape juice, fortified (1 cup)||60|
|Brussels sprouts, cooked (1/2 cup)||53|
|snow peas (1/2 cup)||51|
|cauliflower, cooked (2/3 cup)||47|
|tomato juice (1 cup)||44|
|cabbage, shredded (1 cup)||40|
|mango (1 cup)||39|
|lime (1 medium)||37|
|kale, cooked (2/3 cup)||35|
|raspberries (1 cup)||35|
|sweet potato, baked (1)||32|
|pineapple juice, canned (1 cup)||27|
|watermelon (2 cups)||27|
|spinach, raw (1 _ cups)||24|
|pineapple (1 cup)||22|
|lettuce, romaine (1 _ cups)||20|
|parsley (1/4 cup)||20|
|potato, baked, with skin (1)||19|
|blueberries (1 cup)||18|
|tomato (1/2 cup)||16|
|tomato sauce (1/2 cup)||16|
Sources: USDA Handbook 8, Florida Department of Citrus, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Refs. 26, 27.
Flavonoids - potent antioxidants in their own right - improve bioavailability of Vitamin C but are typically removed from fruit juices because of their bitter taste. A landmark study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that Vitamin C from a citrus extract - which included flavonoids naturally present in fruit - was absorbed 35% better than synthetic Vitamin C. Our Vitamin C formulas contain high-potency, high-purity Vitamin C as well as related factors such as lemon bioflavonoid complex, hesperidin (a flavonoid from grapefruit), and rutin (a flavonoid from buckwheat) for maximum biocompatibility. Vitamin C S/R and Chewable All-C also contain flavonoids from rose hips and acerola cherries.
NEOLIFE DIFFERENCE #2: GUARANTEED POTENCY
Because Vitamin C is so fragile, we manufacture our products with 10-20% more Vitamin C than claimed by the label to assure full potency throughout the guaranteed shelf life.
NEOLIFE DIFFERENCE #3: A VARIETY OF SUPPLEMENTATION OPTIONS
NeoLife brings you the powerful antioxidant protection of vitamin C in two great formulas: Chewable All C tablets and Vitamin C S/R. Each product offers a different potency level, so you can choose the product that best meets your needs or combine products to meet higher vitamin C goals.
Delicious cherry-flavoured All-C is great for children or anyone who prefers chewable tablets. You can take them through-out the day to maintain high Vitamin C levels, or take a tablet whenever you want the Vitamin C value of 4 small oranges.
Chewable with great cherry taste.
Potent - Each tablet provides the Vitamin C value equivalent to 4 small oranges.
Neo-Plex Concentrate. Virtually everything from whole oranges except the water - juice, Vitamin C, flavedo, mesocarp, endocarp, protopectins, bioflavonoids, and other naturally-occurring factors - to enhance the absorption and utilisation of Vitamin C.
Other whole-food bioflavonoids. Rutin from buckwheat, hesperidin from grapefruit, and bioflavonoid complex from lemon.
Rose hips and acerola cherries provide additional natural Vitamin C and flavonoids.
Two convenient sizes. Available in counts of 90 tablets; keep a jar handy for delicious Vitamin C anytime.