10 Ways to heal with Vitamin C - The Borneo Post - Sunday, 9 September, 2001

The majority of people have greater need for vitamin C than they are getting in their diet. It is possible for people to have an approaching state of scurvy [vitamin C-deficiency disease] in one area of the body and yet have enough vitamin C to maintain health in other parts of the body. That's because any organ or tissue under undue stress, whether from trauma or disease, requires more of this nutrient than would ordinarily be needed. In other words, we can be losing the battle in one area and winning it in another.

Naturally, we all want to be a health winner in every area. And a good place to start is with vitamin C. Of course, there are things that this nutrient won't do for you. It won't make you rich or famous or an Olympic champion, for example. But it can do something even better. It can help restore lost health in any number of ways. Some of them may surprise you.

1. Glaucoma

It's also called hardening of the eyeball, and is the leading cause of blindness next to cataracts. Yet vitamin C can head it off. The healthy eye has an optimal or favorable pressure inside it - that is, an intraocular pressure that keeps the eyeball from collapsing. This pressure varies from person to person and even in the same eye from day to day, much like blood pressure does. While there are many types of glaucoma, increased intraocular pressure is the common denominator. The object then is to decrease that pressure. And that's where vitamin C comes in. It probably works by creating an increased osmotic pressure in the blood, which in turn pulls fluid out of the eyeball. In one study done in Rome, doctors observed a dramatic drop in eye pressure in every patient within two hours after a single dose of vitamin C was used (journal of Holistic Medicine). This is referring to a very large amount of vitamin C, but there have been other cases, which show that smaller doses of vitamin C will also reduce the eye pressure.

2. Periodontal Disease

This problem affects gum tissue and jawbone, leading ultimately to the loss of teeth. Hopefully it won't go that far though, not when vitamin C could help turn it around. That's what a team of researchers from the University of Alabama School of Dentistry found when they compared the gum health of a group taking 300mg of vitamin C with a group taking a placebo (harmless blank pill) for 21 days. Each volunteer also received a thorough cleaning and polishing of the teeth (prophylaxis) on one side of the mouth at the beginning of the experiment.

As one might expect, the research showed there was no significant change in the gums receiving no prophylaxis and no vitamin C. Improvement was greatest with prophylaxis plus vitamin C, which led to a 58 percent reduction in gum inflammation. Vitamin C alone and prophylaxis alone has improved gum health, but the researcher concluded that combining the two treatments worked best of all.

3. Asthma

Wheezing or bronchial constriction brought on by exercise is something most asthmatics have come to expect. Typically, sufferers will experience chest tightness and trouble breathing within three to five minutes after exercising and it will get progressively over the next 30 minutes.

With vitamin C, however, there is now hope for improving that condition, according to two doctors from New Haven, Connecticut. In their experiment, 12 asthmatics were given either a placebo or 500mg of vitamin C six hours or less before exercise testing. Using measurements of airflow, the researchers found that the group treated with vitamin C had significantly less chest tightness than the placebo group. Nevertheless, in this experiment, a larger dose of vitamin C was not tested. But it is likely that this protective effect would have been even greater if several grams of vitamin C had been administered.

4. Elevated Cholesterol Levels

High levels of these substances in the blood mean increased risk of arteriosclerosis, heart attack and stroke. Yet, decreasing the levels may be as simple as a daily supplement of vitamin C.

Over the past 30 years, several teams of investigators in various parts of the world have pointed out that vitamin C lowers cholesterol levels in humans and exerts a protective action in experimentally induced arteriosclerosis in animals. It is believed that vitamin C exerts its protective action by promoting the transformation of cholesterol to bile acids, which can then be excreted from the body. During a long-term marginal vitamin C deficiency, such as people in many countries experience during the winter and spring months when fresh fruit and vegetables are less plentiful, cholesterol transformation to bile acids is slowed down, resulting in an accumulation of cholesterol in the liver and the blood.

5. Heat Intolerance

Referring to symptoms like weakness, headache and nausea when exposed to temperatures above 85 F These symptoms may occur in people who have previously suffered heat stroke. There was a case where a tennis professional who had that problem. He had had heat exhaustion and after that episode found, he could not teach or play tennis between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during summer months without becoming sick. He was suggested to take a slow-release 500mg capsule of vitamin C. He was able to function as long as he took the vitamin every day.

It is now recommended that people who must work in over-heated conditions routinely to take vitamin C. 100mg in the morning and again at noon can prevent the symptoms. They can function in high temperature and still have enough energy left over to go dancing.  

6. Nervous Tension

The influence of vitamin C on the mental state is quite remarkable. Even though vitamin C cannot be made in the brain, concentration there is higher than in any other organ  except the adrenal glands. It should not be surprising that it plays a major role in brain function. The body would not make an effort to maintain a high level in the brain when for most people the whole body contains just enough to prevent scurvy but not enough for optimum health.

In fact, experts think that vitamin C maybe a "naturally occurring anti-anxiety substance." This makes sense, especially when you consider that scurvy is characterised by severe tension and sometimes psychosis. Several schizophrenic patients responded to large doses from anxiety and tension, when no tranquiliser had been helpful.

Vitamin C in doses of one to two grams at a time works as a tranquiliser for the Anxiousness.

7. Shingles

This is an ailment caused by herpes zoster (the same bug that brought you chicken pox as a child). It's bad enough that you break out in ugly sores, but after they're gone you may be left with severe pain where the virus has affected the underlying nerve fibres. According to experts, such discomfort isn't necessary, and shingles patients are routinely given vitamin C and B complex and a multivitamin and mineral tablet along with corticosteroids.

For best results, treatment should be started as soon as the sores appear and then continue for two weeks. With that regimen, 70 percent of the pain is gone within two weeks after the sores have disappeared.

8. Infertility

When it's due to sticky sperm, vitamin C may be the answer. Normally, sperm should swim singly. When more than 20 percent stay clumped together (called sperm agglutination) then it's virtually impossible for conception to occur.

To test the effectiveness of vitamin C, a group of experts from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston selected 36 men who could not impregnate their wives because more than 20 percent of their sperm stuck together. Each was told to take one 500mg capsule of vitamin C every 12 hours for one month. By the end of the first week, fertility was restored since clumped sperm had dropped to 14 percent. By the end of three weeks clumping was down to only 11 percent.

9. Wound Healing

From nicks and scrapes to major surgery, from bedsores to burns, vitamin C can help speed the healing process. This nutrient is unique among vitamins because it regulates the formation and maintenance of intercellular cement and collagen. Thus, the structural integrity of every tissue and organ is dependent on this vitamin.

Research evidence reveals that recovery from injury or surgery can be dramatically accelerated; in other words, recovery time can be reduced by 50 to 75 percent. That's especially evident when vitamin C is used to heal bedsores. In one experiments, 20 patients with bedsores were divided into two groups. One group took 500mg of vitamin C twice a day and the other group took a placebo twice a day. After one month, the bedsores in the placebo group had shrunk by 43 percent. However, they had shrunk by 84 percent in the vitamin C group. In fact, four of the ulcers had completely healed before the month ended.

10. Colds

We can't leave a story about vitamin C and healing without talking about colds. Whether vitamin C can prevent colds is still debated among medical professionals. Still, millions swear by it. It strengthens the immune system, so even if the cold develops, it doesn't last as long.

A study conducted at the University of Sydney where researchers there separated 95 pairs of identical twins into two groups. One twin from each pair took 1,000mg of vitamin C every day for a total of 100 days. The researchers found that for a total of 100 days. The researchers found that the vitamin C groups had a significantly shorter average duration of colds.