(NaturalHealth365) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two out of three adults in the United States are overweight or obese – and a staggering 100 million plus have diabetes or prediabetes. In addition, 15 to 20 percent of Americans over age 65 suffer with mild cognitive impairment (a slight, but noticeable, decline in memory and thinking skills).
And, although a variety of factors may contribute to the widespread prevalence of these conditions, many natural health experts believe that a vitamin C deficiency is the root cause of the problem.
In fact, some scientists – such as medical researcher and author Bill Sardi – maintain that much of the population exists in a chronic state of vitamin C shortage. The consequences of this deficiency include excess body weight, overall fatigue, ‘brain fog’ and a higher risk of disease.
Now, a fascinating study has shown that blood levels of vitamin C are associated with metabolic and cognitive health – lending support to this assertion. Keep reading to discover the true power of vitamin C.
The key nutrient to help you avoid metabolic disorders and cognitive impairment
The CHALICE (Canterbury Health, Aging and Lifecourse) study assessed the health and vitamin C status of over 400 50-year-old volunteers in New Zealand. Published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nutrients, the study was unusual in that it didn’t rely on dietary intake of vitamin C – but focused instead on actual blood levels.
The volunteers were assessed for measures of metabolic health, such as triglycerides and cholesterol values, as well as for a wide range of cognitive and memory functions. And the results were eye-opening!
Specifically, those with higher levels of vitamin C had lower body weight, lower body mass index (BMI) and smaller waist circumference – along with better measures of metabolic health such as lower levels of insulin and triglycerides.
They also demonstrated lower HbA1C – a measure of blood sugar control over time – illustrates the importance of vitamin C in combating diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
And, the benefits didn’t stop there. The “higher vitamin C” participants also had sharper cognitive function.
Poor brain function is directly linked to low vitamin C levels
Next, the researchers assessed the group for attention and concentration, executive functions, memory, language, conceptual thinking and calculations.
Not only did the scientists find that vitamin C helped to prevent cognitive impairment — but they were able to pinpoint the extent of the protection.
Specifically, every 1 micromole per liter increase in vitamin C correlated to a 3 percent lower risk of MCI (mild cognitive impairment).
And, having levels below 23 micromoles per liter (considered the threshold for “moderate” deficiency) caused the odds of mild cognitive impairment to double!
Moderate vitamin C deficiency, or hypovitaminosis C, affects 20 percent of the American population – and can cause depression, decreased energy levels and slow wound healing.
The team also found that 63 percent of the participants had “inadequate” levels of vitamin C, defined as under 50 micromoles per liter. In fact, only 7 percent of the group had optimal levels, classified as 70 micromoles and above.
(Note: dietary vitamin C intake among Americans is roughly similar to that of New Zealanders).
Biological “Achilles’ heel” – vitamin C must be obtained through diet (or supplements)
With antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and antihistamine properties, vitamin C – also known as ascorbic acid – imparts powerful health benefits.
This water-soluble nutrient helps to synthesize collagen, recycle antioxidant vitamin E and promote proper immune function.
Unfortunately, human beings don’t produce their own vitamin C. A long-ago mutation to a liver enzyme known as gulonolactone oxidase caused this ability to be lost.
The body needs only a mere 10 mg of vitamin C a day to prevent severe vitamin C deficiency – and a life-threatening condition known as scurvy. But, the modern-day rarity of scurvy may have led to a false sense of complacency when it comes to vitamin C requirements – as many times that amount are needed to effectively protect against disease.
Vitamin C pioneer and Nobel Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling, PhD, theorized that most of the world’s population receives only 1 or 2 percent of the amounts of vitamin C required for optimal health.
The Institute of Medicine sets the current daily adult RDA for vitamin C at 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women – an amount considered ludicrously low by many integrative healthcare providers.
Studies reveal the value of high-dose vitamin C against disease risk
Although Western medicine is slow to acknowledge its usefulness, vitamin C has been employed for decades to prevent (and treat) disease. In case histories dating back to the 1940s, vitamin C pioneer Frederick Klenner, MD, reported successfully treating serious diseases – including polio, encephalitis, influenza and measles – with high-dose intravenous vitamin C.
And, several controlled clinical trials found that vitamin C dramatically lowered odds of developing pneumonia — slashing risk by up to 80 percent.
Furthermore, a vitamin C-based treatment for sepsis – a life-threatening severe infection – was found in one retrospective study to reduce death by an astounding 87 percent.
But, even as evidence emerges that proper vitamin C levels are a “must” for warding off disease, public health ‘experts’ continue to insist that an adequate supply of vitamin C can be obtained through fruits and vegetables.
The BIG question: Is diet enough for our vitamin C needs?
The fact is: No matter how conscientiously you eat vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables – and no matter how important their other health benefits – fresh produce alone may not provide enough ascorbic acid to protect against chronic health issues – especially if someone is already feeling sick.
Moreover, smoking, alcohol use, prescription drugs, illness and stress can all deplete vitamin C levels, leading to shortfalls.
Supplementing with vitamin C is the obvious solution, with many experts advising liposomal vitamin C as the most efficient way to deliver the nutrient directly into the cells. Integrative doctors tend to advise vitamin C dosages of 500 mg to 2,000 mg a day, but (as always) check with your doctor before supplementing.
While natural health advocates maintain that proper supplementation could save untold trillions of dollars currently spent on prescription drugs and office visits, the “powers-that-be” in Western medicine still seem in need of some ‘convincing.’
But, as emerging studies continue to show the therapeutic potential of vitamin C – that may soon change.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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