Vitamin C

Vitamin C, which is water-soluble, plays a major role in the body's defense against foreign invasions. By strengthening the integrity of tissue barriers, such as connective tissue of the skin and mucous membranes, it helps to prevent harmful organisms from entering the body. And it prevents infections from becoming established by stimulating wound healing. Ascorbic acid in high concentrations can also directly kill some viruses and bacteria. In addition, it plays a major role in white blood cell function by promoting phagocytosis and cell migration.

Deficiencies in ascorbic acid (ascorbate) can result in impaired hypersensitivity reactions and complement formation, but have not been associated with cell-mediated or humoral immunity.

It is best to use buffered vitamin C since ascorbic acid is, obviously, acidic. Acidosis induced by this form can result in mouth ulcers in some people. I prefer the magnesium or calcium ascorbate form. The dose varies from 500 mg to 2 g three times a day, depending on your needs.

Several nutritionists have promoted the use of very high concentrations of this vitamin, which seems to have some merit in individual cases. The real question is whether such large doses can be absorbed. Several studies have indicated that absorption from the gut is regulated, preventing uptake of extremely high doses. It may be that with certain disorders larger concentrations are allowed to pass through the intestinal barriers. As far as I am aware, no one has tested ascorbate absorption in persons with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other similar disorders. Most absorption studies have been conducted using healthy volunteers. Intravenous ascorbate can attain very high levels and appears to be helpful with serious infections such as Lyme disease.

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