VITAMIN C (ALSO KNOWN AS ASCORBIC ACID)
Vitamin C in EnergyNeeds®
Vitamin C is added in order to provide a wide basis of nutrition, and for its antioxidant properties in ameliorating an underlying defect in redox metabolism or mitochondrial dysfunction.
What Is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) cannot be manufactured by humans and is thus a true vitamin, obtained exclusively from the diet.
What Does Vitamin C Do?
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, and a key component of the respiratory chain involved in energy metabolism. It also helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including bones, blood vessels, and skin.
What Does a Vitamin C Deficiency Appear As?
Deficiency of vitamin C, termed scurvy, is often thought of as a disease of the past, but even in rich countries deficiency can appear in autistic children with restrictive diets (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26590972) that are low on fresh fruits and vegetables. Typical symptoms include bleeding (especially of the gums), bruising, rash, slow wound healing, abnormal hair or nails, weakness, fatigue, joint disease, and frequent infections.
What About Vitamin C‘s Use in Disease?
Vitamin C may help protect against a variety of cancers by combating free radicals, and helping neutralize the effects of nitrites (preservatives found in some packaged foods) that may raise the risk of certain forms of cancer. Supplemental vitamin C may also lessen the duration and symptoms of a common cold, help delay or prevent cataracts, support healthy immune function, and decrease total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides.
What Are the Common and/or Important Side Effects of Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is water-soluble vitamin and thus considered to be generally non-toxic. At moderate dosing, like that in most over-the-counter supplements and in EnergyNeeds® (1,000 mg a day in adults), side effects are rare. However, high dosing, over about 1,000 mg a day in adults, may increase the risk for kidney stones, and dosing over 2,000 mg a day in adults may have additional side effects, such as flushing, nausea, headache, and increased blood sugar. Safe dosing in children are correspondingly lower. Vitamin C is often taken as an antioxidant, but high dosing may have a pro-oxidant effect. Thus, moderate dosing is generally recommending for supplementation.
Is There Any Laboratory Testing for a Vitamin C Deficiency?
Laboratory testing can reveal the presence of a deficiency of this nutrient, but is generally not likely to have clinically utility.