Human bodies can’t make Vitamin C
There is nothing controversial about Vitamin C. It is accepted as necessary for life and most people will think of taking vitamin C as a supplement to treat the common cold or flu. What they may not realize is that vitamin C cannot be manufactured by the human body. Where other animals are able to produce it, somewhere along the evolutionary path, humans lost that ability. It is therefore important that a good diet contain foods with vitamin C or that they take vitamin C as a supplement. It is a water soluble vitamin which helps protect cells from oxidation throughout the body. In addition vitamin C plays a role in the synthesis of collagen but it is important for many other body function as well.
Vitamin C fights free radicals
More and more, scientists are understanding how vitamin C acts to keep the body healthy. Vitamin C helps to slow the aging process because it is a strong antioxidant. It protects molecules in the body from the damage caused by free radicals which are a natural product of normal metabolism. As this damage accumulates over time, it contributes to the deterioration that we call aging. By fighting the free radicals which cause the damage, vitamin C keeps us younger.
How much to you need?
The US Government recommends 90 mg per day for an adult non-smoker and 120 mg per day for a smoking adult. This dosage is sufficient to prevent diseases caused by vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) but does not reflect dosage to maintain healthy body functions. Many practitioners recommend much higher doses. There have been many studies to determine if vitamin C can reduce the seriousness or prevent other diseases and some evidence that it can be effective in at least some of them. Although it is difficult to establish that high doses of vitamin C can provide significant health benefits, no studies to date have suggested that there is damage from taking high doses so many people use high doses of vitamin C as insurance. The Linus Pauling Institute suggests that a tolerable upper intake of vitamin C for adults over 19 years of age is 2,000 mg per day.
No known problems from high doses
Because it is safe, inexpensive and is linked to healthy body function in so many ways, I take large doses of vitamin C as insurance. Even if all the suggested benefits are not proven true, the biggest cause of aging is the oxidation damage to cells. Making sure that I have as many free radical scavengers in my body is an easy way to limit that damage.