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We certainly have been talking a lot about immunity and viral prevention lately and, if you have been paying attention, you are likely taking some vitamin C. If you haven’t been taking any, you should. Not only is vitamin C insufficiency prevalent in the US, but the benefits of vitamin C go well beyond immune protection.

the benefits of vitamin C go well beyond immune protection

Contrary to popular belief, vitamin C is actually a very common deficiency, even in the US. While we don’t see much scurvy, which is caused by frank vitamin C deficiency, about 1 in 14 American adults present with levels that are too low. This is certainly surprising to me, as vitamin C is found in ample sources in fruits and vegetables. However, there are many, many people who just don’t eat enough of these foods to prevent vitamin C deficiency.
  • Cigarette smoking- typically reduces blood levels of vitamin C by 25-50%, so smokers need twice the amount of vitamin C than non-smokers. People exposed to second-hand smoke also have lower levels of vitamin C and need a higher dose to reach sufficiency. The immune effects of smoking are such that smokers, with their low vitamin C status, tend to be hospitalized for influenza at nearly 5x the rate of non-smokers.Exposure to environmental pollution and smoke increase oxidative stress on all the cells of the body.
  • Pregnancy and lactation- when the need for all nutrients is higher.
  • Medical conditions- metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, cataracts, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and chronic inflammatory conditions all can contribute to vitamin C deficiency.
  • Infections- bacterial, viral, and fungal all require higher doses of vitamin C for appropriate immune response.
  • Surgery, burns, and trauma- these things also require a higher vitamin C dose for immune regulation, regulation of the inflammatory response, and increased healing time.
Vitamin C is most well known for its effect on immune function. Vitamin C supports the function of various cells in both the innate and adaptive immune system, by increasing both the production and function of many immune cells like Natural Killer cells and T-regulatory cells. Vitamin C also inhibits the inflammasome pathway which stimulates the cycle of inflammation. Most disease processes have some element of inflammation, and vitamin C can regulate the inflammatory pathway. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which might be how most of us think of this super nutrient. As an antioxidant, vitamin C provides that all important quenching of free radicals. Free radicals cause DNA damage and tissue damage.

Ultimately, vitamin C is an essential nutrient that your body needs every single day.

Ultimately, vitamin C is an essential nutrient that your body needs every single day. There are times when your need is higher than others (see above), but this vitamin is cheap, easily absorbable, and readily available.Most healthy individuals need only 500-1000mg/day. If you have one of the above conditions, you can safely increase your dose to bowel tolerance (upwards of 10-20g/day).

For daily use, I like this:

For use if you have a higher need, I like this: 

**can be found in the refrigerator at the
Vail Valley Pharmacy

To learn more about how Dr. Klearman can help and what vitamin C supplements she recommends, please contact us.