A primary function of Vitamin C is maintaining collagen, a protein necessary for the formation of connective tissue in skin, ligaments and bones. Vitamin C plays a role in healing wounds and burns because it facilitates the formation of connective tissue in the scar. Cells in the arterial walls need collagen to help them expand and contract with the beats of the heart; it is also needed in the capillaries, which are more fragile. Another major role of Vitamin C is as an antioxidant. Vitamin C also aids in forming red blood cells. It has been found that Vitamin C, along with the amino acid L-Methionine, acts as an antihistamine. Along with vitamin B-6, it is also vital in amino acids metabolism. Vitamin-C enhances the absorption of iron and inhibits the synthesis of nitrosamines, compounds implicated in cancer.
Good sources of vitamin-C can be found in both fruits and vegetables. The best sources are, strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapples kiwi, guava, broccoli, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, spinach, kale, green peppers, cabbage and turnips. Daily intake of vitamin C promotes the health of all the soft tissues of the body and offers a bit in the way of cancer protection. There is ample research evidence that substantial doses of vitamin C, taken regularly over the course of years, prolongs a person's life expectancy by lowering the probability of cerebral vascular disease (CVS Stoke). (The same is true of vitamin E.)
One of the many functions of ascorbic acid in human biochemistry is to regenerate oxidized Vitamin E, in turn, serves to protect cell walls from oxidative damage.
Below are two amazing sources for data on Vitamin-C
Linus Pauling Institute
Micronutrient Research for Optimum Health
Albert von Szent-Gy?rgyiThe Vitamin C Controversy
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1937
"for his discoveries in connection with the biological combustion processes, with special reference to vitamin C and the catalysis of fumaric acid"
By Rob Faigin
Let s consider the intriguing fact that humans possess three of the four enzymes necessary to make ascorbate from glucose. The vast majority of animals, aquatic and terrestrial, reptilian and mammalian, make their own ascorbate in their liver proportional to body mass. How much do they make? On a per body weight basis, an amount that approximates the lower-end range of ascorbate intake recommended by Pauling - 30 times the RDA or 43 oranges.
It is believed the ability to synthesize ascorbate was lost through genetic mutation millions of years ago, though it s hard to know for sure. Assuming this is true, even before humans lost the capacity to internally manufacture ascorbate; primitive humans generally consumed a much higher quantity of ascorbate-rich plant food than does modern man. Official pronouncements to the effect that adequate ascorbate can be obtained through diet are further flawed by the fact unless you consume raw plants from your own garden or locally grown produce, much vitamin C is lost during shipping, storage, and as a result of heat applied when cooking.
All of the other species that cannot produce vitamin C (including apes, guinea pigs, and the fruit-eating bat) consume a plant-predominant diet of fresh raw vegetation. Man is the only creature on earth that both cannot make ascorbate and has a low intake of ascorbate-rich foods. Interestingly as well, animals with high ascorbate levels rarely experience heart disease. Only man and woman suffer from heart disease. So what happens when you take an animal like a guinea pig (which, like us, does not make its own ascorbate) and feed it an ascorbate-deficient diet? Pauling s research shows: heart disease results, in weeks rather than years due to their shorter lifespan.
A study published in the British Medical Journal supports Pauling s theory, finding a 3.5 greater risk of heart attack among ascorbate deficient men compared with those not deficient. There are other contributing factors and HDL/LDL, triglyceride, and lipoprotein(a) are significant predictive cardiovascular risk indicators. But to reject out of hand that ascorbate deficiency plays a role in development of heart disease, without reading Pauling s and Rath s research and that of other scientists, is the height of negligence in my opinion.
In a nutshell, Pauling s ascorbate theory of heart disease centers on collagen, the most abundant protein in the human and animal body. Collagen is the stuff that holds the body together and maintains the strength and structural integrity of connective tissues, skin, and blood vessels. Collagen production is ascorbate dependent; and, Professor Pauling points-out, ascorbate is not merely a catalyst for the manufacture of collagen but is used up in the process. What does collagen have to do with heart disease? The stronger and healthier the vessels through which blood flows, the less likely they are to clog.
Arterial walls are extremely delicate (compared with skin, tendons, and ligaments) and are regularly subjected to micro injury caused by oxidative stress and toxic blood-borne particles like homocysteine. When adequate ascorbate is not present, insufficient collagen is made to repair the damage, and in the absence of sufficient collagen, plaque forms at the site of the lesion. In Pauling s view, atherosclerosis is a faulty alternative healing process (leading eventually to arterial blockage) necessitated by unnaturally low ascorbate levels. The optimal healing process is regeneration (rather than patching-up) of blood vessels, but this requires in humans and the relatively few other species that can t make as much collagen precursor (ascorbate) as needed (or any, for that matter) an intake of vitamin C far greater than the recommended daily allowance.
The RDA of 60 mg. for vitamin C takes no account of Pauling s research nor does it acknowledge any role for ascorbate in helping to prevent long-term cardiovascular pathology by countering oxidation of LDL cholesterol or facilitating breakdown of cholesterol to bile acids. Rather, it is designed to avoid scurvy. Scurvy occurs when ascorbate levels are so severely depressed that blood vessels become so thin and weak that they break, and the person hemorrhages to death. Is there any logical reason to suppose that vascular health benefits from increasing ascorbate intake up to 60 mg., and then no further improvement is registered beyond that point? (Especially considering that every other creature inhabiting Earth either makes many times more ascorbate per gram of bodyweight than the RDA or consumes far more.) No, rather the sounder reasoning and the weight of the evidence suggests that an intake level of vitamin C approximating the RDA promotes progressive degeneration of the vascular system and partially accounts for the appalling rate of cardiovascular disease in the United States and other industrialized nations.