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Vitamin C


Thanks to Linus Pauling’s pioneering work, Vitamin C is easily the most well known and recognized of all the vitamins needed by the human body.  A water soluble vitamin that’s also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is vital to the body’s immune system and defenses. It is also essential in the formation of collagen for healthy skin, and helps heal wounds and maintain bones, cartilage and teeth. 


While the daily recommended dose of Vitamin C is set at about 60 mg for a healthy adult male, recent research has shown that that level of vitamin C is barely enough to stave off scurvy, the result of serious vitamin C deficiency.  Researchers who completed a study of the effects of vitamin C supplementation recently have recommended raising the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C to 200 mg for healthy adult males – and much higher doses in those with compromised health and immune system issues.


Dr. Linus Pauling made a big splash in the headlines in 1970 when he recommended megadoses of Vitamin C to ward off the common cold.  While his suggestion was roundly decried by conventional medical authorities at the time, later research has borne out his contention.  Not only do large doses of vitamin C help prevent colds, they also seem to lessen the severity of symptoms, and reduce the number of secondary infections and complications of the common cold. 


The body doesn’t manufacture vitamin C, nor store it for later use, therefore it’s important to include sources of vitamin C in the diet on a daily basis.  In fact, there is some evidence that those who choose to supplement the diet with vitamin C in capsule or tablet form should split their dosage out over the course of the day to ensure its availability and effectiveness.


What Vitamin C Does:

Vitamin C is one of the most powerful and plentiful of all known anti-oxidants. It works by ‘hooking’ onto free radicals that are created in the body by the metabolism of fats and other nutrients for energy.  The damage done to cells by free radicals is acknowledged to be the cause of most age-related conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, vision problems, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and cancer.   Antioxidants like vitamin C, E and A help prevent, lessen and sometimes reverse the damage done by free radicals.


Vitamin C seems to ‘kick-start’ the body’s immune system.  Whenever the body is called upon to heal itself – whether from an illness like the common cold or an injury – it consumes massive amounts of vitamin C.  This vitamin C goes into the formation of collagen for scar tissue and new skin tissue, and helps the body to create antibodies against harmful intruders.


Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency:

Most doctors agree that the recommended daily intake of vitamin C is barely enough to prevent the symptoms of severe vitamin C deficiency – scurvy.  Multiple studies have implicated sub-clinical vitamin C deficiency with many health conditions that afflict modern society.  Low levels of vitamin C have been associated with the following conditions:

  • hypertension

  • atherosclerosis

  • stroke

  • some cancers (including prostate, colon and breast)

  • gallbladder disease

Because vitamin C is such an important component of the body’s immune system, doctors suggest that providing the body with adequate amounts of vitamin C may help prevent these conditions.


Health Benefits of Vitamin C:


  • Helps prevent heart disease

Some studies suggest that adequate vitamin C helps protect the blood vessels from damage caused by free radicals. The damage to these cells is one of the main causes of atherosclerosis, a major form of heart disease.


  • Lowers cholesterol

Several studies involving small numbers of people suggest that 2000 mgs of vitamin C daily may lower total levels of serum cholesterol


  • Protects against high blood pressure

Population based studies have shown a definite link between people who consume large amounts of vitamin C and a lowered incidence of high blood pressure.  Doctors often recommend that those at risk of high blood pressure increase their intake of vitamin C.


  • May lessen the severity of symptoms of the common cold

Multiple studies have failed to prove that vitamin C cures or prevents the common cold, but there is evidence to support the belief that taking large amounts of vitamin C at the onset of cold symptoms can lessen the severity of symptoms.  At least one major study follow-up also suggests that those who took large doses of vitamin C at the onset of a cold suffered fewer repeat infections during the remainder of the cold season.


  • May help prevent some forms of cancer

Population based studies have found a link between people with diets high in vitamin C and lowered rates of cervical, breast and skin cancer.


  • Prevents damage from Osteoarthritis

Because vitamin C is essential in the formation of healthy cartilage, it is instrumental in helping to offset the damage caused by osteoarthritis.


  • May aid in weight loss

Observational studies have shown that many obese people have lowered levels of vitamin C.  While it is not seen as a cause, some doctors feel that the lowered levels of vitamin C interfere with normal metabolism, and increasing the amount of vitamin C in the diet may help weight loss efforts.


  • Protects vision and eye health

The Nurses’ Health Study showed that women under 60 years of age who have high intake of Vitamin C or had used vitamin C supplements for ten years or more had significantly lower incidence of cataracts.


Antioxidants, including vitamin C have proven effective in preventing age related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in older adults.


  • May prevent secondary conditions and complications diabetes

Because studies have shown that diabetics often have low levels of vitamin C, doctors recommend that those who have diabetes or pre-diabetes take supplements of vitamin C to help the body process glucose and insulin.

Possible Side Effects of Vitamin C

At high doses, vitamin C may cause diarrhea, stomach upset and gas. Those with kidney disease should check with a physician before taking large doses of vitamin C as well.  Vitamin C may interfere with drugs used in treating cancer, therefore it is suggested that those undergoing chemotherapy consult a doctor before beginning a course of treatment with vitamin C supplements.



Vitamin C is one of the best known and well-researched antioxidants available. It has a proven track record as a major contributor to a healthy immune system, and studies show that it is effective in preventing cancer and heart disease, protecting against high blood pressure and vision loss and is beneficial to those whose immune systems are compromised by other conditions.


As always, dietary sources of vitamin C are important, but doctors often recommend supplementing the dietary intake of vitamin C with a full spectrum health supplement that contains all the nutrients that your diet may be missing. One such health supplement is Total Balance from Xtend-Life.  Total Balance is specially formulated to provide over 70 essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients in a synergistically balanced formula. There are three different formulations – one for men, one for women and one that is balanced for either gender. Because each ingredient is included in the amounts that your body can best use, Total Balance from Xtend-Life Natural Products is an excellent choice to supplement your daily diet with all the nutrients you need for a total health.



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