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Patient Advocate: What’s the hype about Vitamin C?

Should you be supplementing?

We have all heard how vitamin C is the cure-all. You have a cold take vitamin C, you are constipated take vitamin C, etc. You get the idea, vitamin C is hot.

Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient, a potent antioxidant, and a cofactor for enzymes. It helps maintain cellular integrity. It plays a role in the innate immune system. The innate immunity is the first responder, rushing to the scene to maintain control of defense against infection, inflammation and harm to the body.

Vitamin C accumulates in phagocytic cells. Phagocytic cells are responsible for microbial killing via chemotaxis. These attributes of Vitamin C help support the epithelial barrier against pathogens.

Research tells us that the adequate amount of Vitamin C in the blood for the prevention of infection is daily plasma levels between (100-200 mg/day). We are also aware that the amount of Vitamin C required to help prevent chronic disease is higher than the amount required for the prevention of scurvy.

Clinically Vitamin C can be decreased by various factors. Genetic differences in antioxidant storage and plasma levels like vitamin C can be seen in individuals with allele variation in Haptoglobin gene Hp2.

Furthermore, people with periodontal disease, smokers, cancer, pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly are among the population that needs higher support.

Patients frequently come to us with diagnosed cancer or other disease and request high doses of Vitamin C. But it is common sense to keep your levels up your entire life to maintain health, fight off disease and not just survive, but thrive.

When it comes to increasing the bioavailability of vitamin C the pharmacokinetics is crucial, as it is variable depending on the route of administration and plays an integral part in plasma concentrations. Vitamin C is controlled by intestinal absorption, tissue transport, and renal reabsorption. Oral administration does not seem to raise plasma levels significantly, whereas intravenous administration does.

Furthermore, we have found that the handling of intravenous Vitamin C during administration is crucial to bioavailability. Vitamin C can denature or become deactivated; losing its potency and usage when not handled correctly during an intravenous administration, by exposing it to heat or light.

What does this mean for the consumer?

To maximize the benefits from Vitamin C blood baseline levels should be acquired, this could be done via a micronutrient panel.

Discuss with your healthcare practitioner what your goals are, and which route of administration would be most suitable, and about the handling process and administration of vitamin C.

Dr. Sadi Jimenez is a naturopathic doctor who practices integrative medicine in Carlsbad. For a consultation, please visit her website here. She practices medicine at Wellness ETC in Carlsbad. Phone: (760) 944-9200 Email: [email protected]