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Campbell—Vitamin C
8 ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES, MAY/JUNE 2015 VOL. 21,3
Vitamin C: It Isnt Just for Cancer Anymore
EDITORIAL
Most of us are familiar with vitamin C, a water-
soluble vitamin and antioxidant. As a food
additive, vitamin C—commonly called ascorbic
acid—is widely used to prevent oxidation. Our bodies
neither make nor store vitamin C, so we must obtain it from
an external source. Almost all fruits and vegetables contain
some quantity of vitamin C. It is the most widely taken
nutritional supplement and is available in several forms as
tablets, capsules, crystals, and drink mixes, among others.
Overdose of vitamin C is very rare, as one would have to
consume several kilos of it to reach lethal dose, 50% (LD50).
Large doses of vitamin C can cause a temporary bout of
indigestion.1
Vitamin C is absorbed in the intestinal tract and
transported via glucose mechanisms. Large quantities of
sugar in the intestines or in the blood can slow the absorption
of vitamin C.2 Cooking can diminish the content of vitamin C
in vegetables by 60% due to enzymatic destruction, especially
with longer cooking times or the use of copper cooking
materials.3 Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient in a
number of physiologic processes and a cofactor in 8 known
enzymatic reactions, including several for collagen synthesis.
ese last ones cause the most severe symptoms of scurvy
when there is a vitamin C deciency.4 According to the
National Institutes of Health, the daily recommended dietary
allowance for vitamin C is 90 mg in men and 75 mg in
women, a woefully low and inadequate dosage, as the
following studies show.5
Scurvy as a result of a lack of vitamin C has been known
for more than 260 years. It was the primary cause of death
among sailors during long sea voyages. In 1499, Vasco da
Gama lost 116 of his crew of 170 due to scurvy, and in 1520,
Magellan lost 208 of 230.6 Dr James Lind of the Royal Navy
was the rst to discover the connection between the lack of
fresh vegetables and fruits and scurvy. During a sea voyage,
he gave one group of sailors 2 oranges and 1 lime daily,
whereas the other group received the standard rations of
vinegar, cider, or seawater. e citrus fruits prevented
scurvy, and Dr Lind published his work in 1753.7 Also
remarkable is that this was the rst controlled experiment in
medicine. At rst, fruits were boiled to produce a juice, as
fresh fruits were expensive to keep on board. However, this
destroyed the vitamin C, so the discovery was abandoned for
40 years. In 1795, limes became standard rations at sea, as
they could easily be found in the British Colonies of the West
Indies, resulting in the nickname “limey.A few years later,
Captain James Cook sailed to the Hawaiian Islands and
beyond without the loss of a single life on board to scurvy, an
unheard of achievement, for which the British Admiralty
awarded him a medal.8,9
DOES VITAMIN C HELP WITH COLD SYMPTOMS?
ere has been an ongoing debate between conventional
medicine and complementary and alternative medicine
(CAM) about the use of vitamin C in patients suering from
what is commonly known as a cold. A recent study
published by the Federation of American Societies for
Experimental Biology (FASEB) showed that nearly 25% of
US adults have below adequate levels of vitamin C and that
6% can be classied as decient. is deciency is
underdiagnosed in the general population, as the symptoms
are vague: fatigue, malaise, and depression. e authors
conducted a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized
study for 8 weeks to measure the eect of 1000 mg of vitamin
C in a group of men during the peak of the cold season. e
results showed that cold symptoms were 4 times higher in
the group that did not receive vitamin C supplementation, as
was the incidence of colds. is shows a measurable health
advantage to taking a relatively moderate dose of vitamin C.10
e signs and symptoms of vitamin C deciency are anemia,
gingivitis, poor wound healing, easy bruisability, epistaxis,
arthritis, and rough scaly skin.11,12
Vitamin C Lowers Lipids
A study published in the Journal of Scientic Research
showed how vitamin C supplementation can lower both
cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Men and women were randomly selected to receive either
500 mg of vitamin C, a relatively low dose, or a placebo
capsule for 30 days. Lipid proles were recorded before and
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aer the completion of the 30-day trial. ere was signicant
reduction in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, but no
eects on high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, very
low–density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol, or triglycerides,
and there was no dierence in the eects between men and
women.13
Vitamin C Helps in Men With Heart Failure
Higher plasma levels of vitamin C reduce the risk of
heart failure in older men, in both those with and without
myocardial infarctions. However, elevated intake of vitamin
E was associated with increased heart failure risk. In a group
of 3919 men aged 60 to 79 years and followed for 11 years,
this study showed there was a signicant decrease in heart
failure in those men with higher plasma levels of vitamin C.
is is an important fact because in the United States we have
10
000 Baby Boomers retiring every day. Heart failure aects
more than 5.1 million Americans and is the leading cause of
hospitalization for those older than age 65 years.
Approximately one-half of people diagnosed with heart
failure die within 5 years.14-16
Vitamin C Reduces Serum Uric Acid Levels
Hyperuricemia is a known and well-established risk
factor for gout. e risk for gout increases with successively
higher levels of serum uric acid, with a 10-fold increase in
those patients with a serum uric acid level greater than
9 mg/dL. Hyperuricemia is associated with a number of
diseases, including hypertension, renal disease, obesity,
metabolic syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, stroke, vascular
dementia, and preeclampsia.17
Treatment to prevent the recurrence of gout has 2 viable
arms: either reducing uric acid synthesis with xanthine
oxidase inhibitors or by increased uric acid secretion via
probenecid. Both drug regimens are eective in preventing
gout ares but carry considerable side eects proles. e
dietary approach to lower uric acid provides an alternative:
One must reduce meat, poultry, and seafood consumption;
alcohol, especially beer; saturated fats; and high-fructose
corn syrup. However, vitamin C has uricosuric properties as
demonstrated by in vivo, in vitro, and animal studies. A
recent randomized trial in patients with acute ischemic
stroke showed that a daily intravenous infusion of 500 mg of
vitamin C for 10 days resulted in a signicant reduction of
serum uric acid compared with placebo infusion.18
A meta-analysis of the eects of vitamin C on serum
uric acid levels by randomized, controlled trials was
conducted. e median dosage of vitamin C was 500 mg, the
median study duration was 30 days, and the median trial size
ranged from 8 to 184 participants. Pretreatment and
posttreatment measurements were conducted on serum uric
acid levels. e conclusion was that vitamin C signicantly
lowered serum uric acid levels in patients. Vitamin C
administration was not shown to have any adverse eects in
any of the trials included in this meta-analysis.19
Vitamin C Helps in Pediatric Major Depressive Disorder
Approximately 8% of children and adolescents suer
from depression.20 Until age 15 years, there is no gender
dierence; however, aer this age, the rate of depression
among females doubles.21 e diagnosis of children with
major depressive disorder (MDD) follows the criteria set in
the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,
fourth edition, text revision (DSM-IV-TR), yet there are
considerable challenges due to multiple comorbid factors,
including academic and psychosocial issues, increased risk
for suicide, self-harm, and substance abuse.22-25 Treatment is
limited and oen ineective, there is a delay in therapeutic
benets, and oen it is poorly tolerated.26,27 Of the prescription
medications approved for use in children, uoxetine, a
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), is the most
commonly used.28 However, the use of SSRIs has dropped by
20% in the United States starting in 2004 due to warnings
issued by the Food and Drug Administration of increased
suicide risk.29.30
e above has brought an increased interest in vitamin
C due to the psychological abnormalities that are characteristic
of vitamin C deciency.31-33 Recent studies have shown that
vitamin C reduces the severity of MDD in both children and
adult patients, and it improves mood in healthy individuals.34-36
Another study showed a 35% reduction in mood
disturbance in hospitalized patients treated with 1 g of
vitamin C.37 A recent 6-month, randomized, double-blind,
placebo controlled study in pediatric MDD was conducted,
with one group receiving uoxetine (10-20 mg) daily and 1 g
of vitamin C daily, with the control group receiving uoxetine
and a placebo. ere was a signicant decrease in depressive
symptoms in the group receiving uoxetine and vitamin C,
and no adverse eects were observed.38
CONCLUSION
Vitamin C supplementation is inexpensive, safe, and
helps in a number of medical conditions as described in the
studies earlier. It should be recommended a great deal more
than it currently is, especially in conventional medicine, and
the daily recommended dose is too low and inadequate and
should be revised. ere are a number of benecial uses that
space for this editorial does not allow me to cover, including
in signicantly alleviating symptoms of women undergoing
chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy for breast cancer and
reducing the risk of gliomas of the brain.39,40 We hope we can
not only continue using this benign yet very helpful
supplement, but that all health care practitioners would
recommend it more oen in appropriate situations with
patients.
Andrew W. Campbell, MD
Editor in Chief
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Campbell—Vitamin C
10 ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES, MAY/JUNE 2015 VOL. 21,3
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... Oxidative stress in consequence of the condition of imbalance between levels of antioxidants and free electrons that reside in the body cells is believed to play a role in the process of DNA damage leading to cancer [1]. Micronutrient deficiencies are widely known to have a correlation with the incidence of cancer [2,3]. This condition is due to the absence of protection against free electrons and the lack of micronutrient role as an antioxidant in the body. ...
... However, human cells have special mechanism to prevent themselves from external exposure. The element of micronutrient such as vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin C, E, A, zinc and iron contained in the daily diet is very effective for the prevention of diseases, not just limited to infectious diseases but also degenerative diseases caused by DNA damage [2,12]. ...
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Consuming meat food products that undergo high-temperature combustion is able to provide opportunities exposed to carcinogenic substances and leads to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is also a precondition for the occurrence of DNA damage and cancer can be detected by the presence of 8-hydroxy-'2-deoxyguanosine (8OHdG). The study aimed to investigate whether the high prevalence of oxidative stress in Jakarta highway toll collector is independently or causally implicated in deficiency of vitamin C and the grilled food as the third factor modified the association. A cross-sectional study and urinary 8-OHdG was detected using the Enzyme-Link Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) method on 161 toll gate collectors. The study found a strong relationship between grilled food and 8-OHdG (p-value 0.037); prevalence risk ratio (PRR) 2.01 (95% CI 1.044-3.890). However, relationship between variable vitamin C and the 8-OHdG stratified by grilled food founded inverse negatively, it was due to the high frequency of subjects 8-OHdG presented significantly with the deficiency of vitamin C. There was not enough intake of vitamin C among people who ate grilled food. Mantel-Haenzel formula was calculated and the estimation found the condition of independence from the test were X²MH=0.843 among the group who consumed the grilled food. The association between intake of grilled food and oxidative stress is the mere result of the effect of deficiency of vitamin C. Special attention should be given to minimize diet containing various carcinogens like the meat grilling process with a high temperature to decrease degenerative diseases and cancer risk in sub-population with high expose to air pollution.
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This study aims to assess the comparative effects of vitamin C supplementation on lipid profiles in male and female human subjects. A total of 60 healthy individuals (male and female) were selected randomly, instructed and given the understanding of the purpose of study. The test group comprising 30 individuals were given 500mg vitamin C tablets one daily for 30 days and control group of 30 individuals were given placebo capsules(glucose 500mg) one daily for 30 days. Fasting blood samples were collected in the morning for estimation of cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL-C, LDL-C and VLDL-C on first day of the commencement of the study and second blood samples were taken after thirty days of supplementation and same estimations were carried out. Vitamin C caused reduction in serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol significantly but it did not have any statistically significant effect on HDL-C, VLDL-C and triglycerides. As far as gender is concerned the effect of vitamin C on lipid profile in males was not significantly different from those in females.
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In the literature of South Seas exploration the violence, wonder, and nostalgia of voyaging are vivid. This volume charts the sensibilities of the lonely figures that encountered the new and exotic in terra incognita. Jonathan Lamb introduces us to the writings of South Seas explorers, and finds in them unexpected and poignant tales of selves alarmed and transformed. Lamb contends that European exploration ofthe South Seas was less confident and mindful than we have assumed. It was, instead, conducted in moods of distraction and infatuation that were hard to make sense of and difficult to narrate, and it prompted reactions among indigenous peoples that were equally passionate and irregular. "Preserving the Self in the South Seas" also examines these common crises of exploration in the context of a metropolitan audience that eagerly consumed narratives of the Pacific while doubting their truth. Lamb considers why these halting and incredible journals were so popular with the reading public, and suggests that they dramatized anxieties and bafflements rankling at the heart of commercial society.
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