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Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, was the subject of the first controlled clinical experiment in recorded medical history. In the 1750’s, a British doctor put limes, rich in Vitamin C, in the rations of one group of sailors and then compared this group with a second group of sailors who got precisely the same rations except for the limes, which were withheld. The limeless group, after having been at sea a long time, showed the expected tendency to develop scurvy, a disease characterized by wounds that won’t heal, gums that bleed, skin that is rough, muscles that waste away (Hendler 83). Physicians call vitamin C the antiascorbutic vitamin because it prevents and cures scurvy (Hubert 446) Until recently, most people thought scurvy was pretty much a thing of the past. Now there is a growing recognition that this scourge continues in certain subsets of our population (Hendler 84).
The late Linus Pauling advised taking 3,200 milligrams a day or more to fend off everything from cancer to heart disease. The experts who set the recommended daily allowances say that taking 60 mg a day-the amount in four ounces of orange juice-will keep you healthy (What 30). Assertions that massive doses prevent colds and influenze have not been borne out by carefully controlled experiments (Vitamin). While the best available evidence does not fully support Dr. Pauling, it does indicate that vitamin C can significantly reduce the severity of colds and that it can help prevent cancer but not inhibit established advanced cancer (Hendler 84).
Critics of megadose intake of Vitamin C state that enormous amounts of the substance spill over into the urine. There is considerable truth to this statement, especially under some of the following circumstances:
If the form taken is ascorbic acid, which, especially at high levels, is irritating to the kidneys, bladder, and urethra.
If the intake is suddenly increased. In such cases, the cells have not had time to get accustomed to being offered such high levels of "C," so they are not ready to accept it, and it heads for the kidneys.
If the ascorbic acid is in the form of a powder, liquid, or non-timed release tablet. In such concentrated form, without minerals, the substance hits the cells too suddenly to be well picked up.
On the other hand, in animals that produce "C" in their own bodies, the ascorbic acid produced in the liver is promptly reacted with minerals before circulation in the blood stream. Such mineral ascorbates are more readily accepted by body cells because the minerals often serve as ascorbate transporters to aid in assimilation of the ascorbate by the cell.
Further, the much preferred approach is to take most of one\'s "C" as mineral ascorbates as timed release, since this form provides the following benefits:
1. Interacts With Entire Gl Tract
No more than 25% of the ascorbates present in a suitably timed tablet should be dissolved in the stomach. The 75% balance should be timed to go on, as can best be managed, past the short, highly oxygenated duodenum at the beginning of the small intestine. Dr. Sherry Lewin points out that much degradation of "C" can occur in this short section, that timed release "C" can go through the area with minimum loss, for better assimilation in the remaining 27 feet or so of the digestive tract.
The pancreas secretes large quantities of bicarbonate of soda as the food enters the intestines, producing a mildly alkaline media that is unlikely to cause much disassociation of the ascorbate complex. From there on, the benefits of contact of the neutral, mineral ascorbates with the trillions of receptive cells lining the remainder of some 27 feet of neutral digestive tract through both small and large intestines (the duodenum, jejunum, the ileum, the ascending colon, the transverse colon, the descending colon, the sigmoid colon), all the way to the rectum and anus . . . can be quite substantial.
Surely the protection of mineral ascorbates all the way through the digestive tract to the rectum should do something to prevent the development of hemorrhoids. (Judging by the commercials, this seems to be a very prevalent ailment. Even Jimmy Carter had to go into a hospital in January of 1982 for a hemorrhoid operation.) Surely, too, a good
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Biomolecules, Digestive system, Vitamin C, Coenzymes, Organic acids, Mineral ascorbates, Ascorbic acid, Scurvy, Vitamin, Digestion, Large intestine, Small intestine
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