Many animals make their own vitamin i." in the process ot synthesizing Hit sluu.i e from plants, hut we l.iek ihe enzyme oxidtisc thai allows for this conveisson Oui source in Its most common form v. riscorbie m.id. found in citrus jukes, whole fruit, vegetables, and dietary vupplemcnts.
Even ill use who know lillie about ihe nature ami functions of other vitamins Eakc itamin C supplements whttl they have a cold I ike vitamin A. however it is moftt effective il taken upon feeling tli. first yuipioms of a cold m I'ln instead ot waiting until II >l-»s in fully A >ti3ily .[tiota vitamin I -.upph uicnt". doc-, nut make vim immune ttf eolih In.ll milny pcop'1 I ¡ml it I-: . ti', 11k- ■ ■ -: nl ■■
of the usual cold symptoms. Because vitamin C contains an antihistamine, it is sometimes effective in treating a number of respiratory infections.
Since 1970, when Linus Pauling, a chemist and Nobel Prize winner, wrote a book advocating the use of vitamin C to combat colds and the flu, many people began taking it in massive doses. Despite his advice, I find it more important to know when to take vitamin C and so avoid the risk of getting kidney stones or an iron storage disease—a distinct possibility when the intake of vitamin C is very high. From my experience as a bodybuilder, I find it better to take vitamin C supplements twice a day—before and after training—rather than in a single dosage in the morning. By taking half the recommended amount before going to the gym, you will find it easier to warm up. Vitamin C works as a lubricating agent by thinning the synovial fluid in the joints and thereby allows freer movement. When you train you lose vitamin C from sweating heavily. This should be replaced by taking the remainder of your daily quota 30-60 minutes after finishing your workout In this way the vitamin remains in your system for a longer time because you are not sweating very much. Through the years I have found this system highly effective since it deals with the immediate needs of my body. This is a more rational approach to the use of vitamin C than is taking massive doses. After all, this is a water-soluble vitamin, and although a small amount is stored in the body through tissue saturation, most is eliminated in the urine and through perspiration within three or four hours.
Functions One of the chief functions of vitamin C is the formation and maintenance of collagen, a protein essential to the formation of connective tissue of the skin, bones, and ligaments. Collagen is high in amino acids; therefore, a lack of it delays healing of wounds and burns. Also, it maintains the strength of capillary walls and blood vessels that otherwise could rupture as evidenced when people bruise easily. Vitamin C is necessary for sound teeth, strong bones, and the formation of red blood cells. Research has shown that cholesterol levels in the liver and blood serum tend to rise when there is a deficiency in this vitamin, yet they go down when normal dosages are taken. The absorption of iron is increased when taken with vitamin C, and it serves as an antioxidant, protecting vitamins A and E and the polyunsaturated I'uts, The need for vitamin C increases when the body is placed under stress resulting from surgery, extreme fatigue, injury, very high or low temperatures, cigarette smoking, and exposure to toxic levels of heavy metals like cadmium, lead, and mercury.
Deficiency symptoms Some early symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency are fatigue, shortness of breath, sore or bleeding gums, pains in muscles that come and go, tooth decay, and cracking at the corners of the mouth.
Destroys vitamin or limits absorption Stress, smoking, and high fever, as mentioned above, will destroy vitamin C as well as antibiotics, cortisone, aspirin, and other painkillers when taken over a long period of time. Because a high concentration of ascorbic acid is found in the adrenal glands, the synthesis of steroid hormones causes a severe depletion in this supply. Air, heat, light, and alkalies such as baking soda are destructive to vitamin C found in our food.
Toxicity An overdose may first result in a burning sensation while urinating. This may be followed by stomach cramps, diarrhea, and nausea. Massive doses can cause destruction of the red blood cells, formation of kidney stones, and certain iron storage diseases. Keep in mind that some or all of these symptoms may accompany a medical problem not related to vitamin toxicity.
Storage The storage of foods containing ascorbic acid should be considered carefully because it is the least stable of all the vitamins, being easily destroyed by light, heat, and air. Refrigerating vegetables is essential, especially those with large, leafy areas like spinach, kale, cabbage, and Swiss chard. Buy vegetables in small amounts and use within a day or two. Tomato, orange, and ¿rupcfruit |uell:s .¡in be stored in ii ni.ni red trlus-s l-anluinei in me refr¡getBlot fnr several days whilom losing much of Iheir vitamin content, but they should never be left standing on the kitchen table.
Processing effects Because cutting vegetables releases an enzyme destructive to ascorbic acid, they should not be sliced or diced until directly before cooking. Then use as little water as possible, keeping the cooking pot covered closely, and serve the vegetables immediately when they are ready. Do not defrost frozen vegetables, hm put them into boiling water as soon as possible. Even better, use a vegetable steamer to avoid the leaching out of vitamins in cooking water. It is also best to cook vegetables with the skin left on. Baking soda and iron or copper pans will destroy vitamin C.
Best sources Acerola cherries, currants, grapefruit, green peppers, guavas, iemons, limes, mustard greens, oranges, parsley, rose hips, turnip greens
Animal Very little from this source, except a fair amount from liver.
Fruit Apples, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupes, papayas, peaches, pears, strawberries, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, white potatoes. Three times as much tomato juice as citrus juice is needed to supply the same amount of vitamin C.
Grains, nuts, seeds No good sources, except a small amount from sprouted grains and seeds.
I cijf tables Asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, dandelion greens, kale, lima beans, red cabbage, spinach, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, watercress, white potatoes.
Selection A key to the high content of vitamin C or ascorbic acid in fruits and vegetables is the amount of sunshine they receive. The longer a plant is exposed to the sun, the greater its content of this vitamin The acerola cherry, for instance, is the richest natural source of vitamin C, containing 1,000-4,000 mg per 31/i-ounce serving. It is grown in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands, having the full benefit of sunshine not blocked by a layer of smog or air pollutants. Unfortunately, the fresh fru t is avai able only in the Caribbean, but supplements made from the acerola cherry are available in most health food stores.
The skin color of oranges and grapefruit cannot serve as a guide to buying citrus fruits unless they are purchased in stores special izing in organically grown food Dyes are injected into the skin of citrus fruits purchased in most supermarkets to give them bright orange and yellow colors that look attractive and appeal to customers. Try to select fruit with a thin skin that yields slightly under finger pressure. Oranges, lemons, and grapefruit with thick skin usually feel lightweight for their size because they contain less actual fruit than those of a similar size that are thin-skinned.
Preferably, juice should be made fresh from the whole fruit squeezed at home. If you need to purchase frozen products, however, check the label to be certain they are 100 percent pure juice without the addition of sugar or preservatives Fruit-flavored drinks should be avoided. Even if they do contain fruit juice rather th in artificial flavor ng, the actu il fruit content is usually under 10 percent the rest is junk.
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