(NaturalNews) Back in the late l950s and l960s, Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling turned his attention to studying and documenting how vitamin C could improve health status and help the human body resist and heal from disease. His reward? By the time of his death in l994, he had been branded a "quack" by a large part of the medical community.
Now, almost 25 years after his passing, not only is his research being taken more seriously but other scientists are documenting how vitamin C can be the key to preventing and treating a host of health problems.
Almost everyone knows vitamin C is now lauded for helping to reduce symptoms of a cold if taken in sufficient quantity when sniffles first appear. But what you may not know is that researchers have found evidence strongly suggesting vitamin C can be used to head off some serious diseases and disorders -- and may even help you lose weight!
In fact, some of these uses for the vitamin are just plain amazing. Yet you'll seldom find vitamin C "prescribed" and, instead, are more likely to get drugs to treat maladies after they develop. And the odds are, your family doctor may be clueless about these ways vitamin C can help you.
Here's the latest on the relatively secret but very real ways vitamin C can improve your health:
1. Burn more fat and keep pounds away.
Researchers in the Department of Nutrition at Arizona State University found that research subjects who had low blood concentrations of C burned a whopping 25 percent less fat than those who had plenty of the vitamin in their body. The scientists think this may be because vitamin C is a co-factor for the biosynthesis of carnitine, a molecule your body needs to oxidize fatty acids. They concluded inadequate vitamin C could explain why some people have such a hard time losing and keeping off excess pounds.
2. Stop wheezing!
British scientists at the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the Institute of Public Health in Cambridge studied 515 adults with asthma and 515 matched controls. They found that adults with symptomatic asthma had the lowest intake of fruit, especially citrus fruit, and low plasma vitamin C levels. These findings, the scientists stated in their research paper, suggest diet may be a potentially modifiable risk factor for the development of asthma.
In the l700s, sailors found that eating limes during low sea voyages kept their gums healthy. No doubt the vitamin C in the fruit was responsible. Research published in the Journal of Periodontology showed that people with too little vitamin C have higher rates of periodontal disease. Also, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) report inadequate C is associated with weakened tooth enamel as well as the painful inflammation of gums known as gingivitis.
4. Guard your looks.
The NIH also lists rough, dry and scaly skin as signs of too little C. So is dry hair and even split ends. What's more, research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who ate a lot of vitamin C-rich foods had fewer wrinkles than those with inadequate amounts of the vitamin.
5. Protect your heart.
While we all are bombarded with ads about statins and other drugs that purport to reduce the risk of heart disease, you seldom hear about the mounting evidence a natural therapy -- vitamin C -- may protect your cardiovascular system. A case in point: Finnish researchers published a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggesting higher doses of supplemental vitamin C cause the incidence of major coronary heart disease events like heart attacks to plummet.
So how much vitamin C do you need? Most experts agree that you can take large amounts, usually up two grams, safely unless an excess causes diarrhea or other stomach upset (if that happens, simply cut back on your dose). Vitamin C is not stored in the body so toxicity is very rare.
To increase the C in your diet, eat more green peppers, citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, papayas, mangos, watermelons, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, winter squash, red peppers, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, tomatoes, broccoli, turnip greens and other leafy greens, sweet and white potatoes, pineapples and cantaloupes.
About the author
Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA’s "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic’s "Men’s Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.
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