Vitamin C plays a critical role in human health, and we must take it in our diet or supplements since our bodies cannot produce it. Among the most important functions of vitamin C is protection of integrity and elasticity of blood vessels, and preventing formation of atherosclerotic plaques which are the underlying cause of heart attacks and strokes. The cardiovascular diseases result in millions of deaths each year. Low fat diets and cholesterol-reducing medicines have not been successful in addressing this issue.
The pharmaceutical industry has successfully made us believe that cholesterol is an undesirable and harmful substance in the body and the lower the cholesterol, the better it is for our health. Statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs, are the most prescribed drugs worldwide. In addition to decreasing cholesterol, there are also claims of statins having various cardiovascular health benefits. At least 200 million people worldwide are prescribed statins such as lovastatin, atorvastatin, simvastatin and others that are sold under different brand names. However, despite the ever-increasing prescriptions for statins, cardiovascular disease is escalating and continues to be the leading cause of death.
Vitamin C is a vital nutrient for human health and survival. It is well known that the human body does not produce vitamin C, and it must be obtained from food sources and dietary supplements. Yet, a clinically significant deficiency of vitamin C is the fourth leading nutrient deficiency in the US.
Recently, vitamin C has gained a renewed importance in the COVID-19 pandemic because of its immune modulating properties. Although not approved as a treatment of COVID-19, intravenous vitamin C was one of the first options successfully used in several hospitals in New York, China, Italy and other places at the peak of COVID-19. A review of 18 clinical trials covering more than 2000 patients analyzed the effect of vitamin C and ICU stay. The authors stated that in at least six of those clinical trials even oral vitamin C doses of 1-3 g/day were enough to reduce the ICU stay by 8.6%.*
Influenza (flu) is a common viral disease affecting up to 20% of the world’s population. In most cases, the flu is benign, but it can also have serious consequences especially in people with compromised immune systems, the elderly, and children. It is estimated to cause 250,000 to 500,000 deaths worldwide each year1.
Approximately half the population in western countries takes supplements on a daily basis. Women, children, a growing aging population, and increasing consumer awareness about general health heavily contributes to the popularity of supplements. The global supplement market is $82 billion and the US contributes $37 billion to that number. Faced with countless options and a worldwide market, choosing supplements can be overwhelming. Rarely are consumers supplied with sufficient scientific information upon which to base their decisions and they usually rely on a company’s marketing materials.
Scientists at the Dr. Rath Research Institute in California have published a new study which demonstrates for the first time that only a consistent daily supplementation with vitamin C can protect against heart disease. The study shows that irregular intakes of this essential micronutrient do not achieve the same beneficial effect. Published in the International Journal of Cardiovascular Research, the study further supports the importance of a consistent, sufficient intake of vitamin C in ensuring an optimum profile of blood risk factors, vascular wall integrity, and optimal cardiovascular health.
The supplement market offers a variety of products in the form of tablets, capsules, soft gels, liquids, chewables, and powders. Each has specific applications but there is confusion about the pros and cons of each of them. Consumer education can bring a better understanding of the advances in supplement research and today’s far superior manufacturing technology. Armed with knowledge consumers can make supplement choices based upon what is best for their health needs rather than product format or impressive marketing and packaging.
Sugar is required for production of bioenergy and other metabolic processes taking place in our body cells. Though sugar is an important part of our diet, the simple fact is that our consumption of sugar largely exceeds our body’s metabolic needs. The modern diet contains approximately 50-80 grams of sugar and most of it is derived from fructose. Fructose is metabolized differently in the body than glucose is. Present in soft drinks and most types of processed food and sweets, the consequences of excessive fructose consumption are dangerous and it has been associated with an increase in diabetes, heart disease and many other health problems.
Everyone is exposed to a variety of infectious agents in the environment such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Any seasonal change challenges our immune system with new pathogens. This year - even before the start of the flu season - the World Health Organization has declared Zika virus infections an international public health emergency. The Zika virus is not a new virus and is similar to other viruses transmitted by mosquitoes such as West Nile virus, dengue, yellow fever, and Japanese encephalitis. The symptoms of Zika virus infection are similar to normal flu symptoms. They include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, rash and conjunctivitis. Often there are no symptoms, and in most cases people are not aware that they are infected while they are spreading the virus. Currently, mosquito control is the only way for prevention from Zika infection and there are no treatments available. Therefore, it would be prudent to understand how to support our body’s immune system and protect it against Zika or other viral and infectious pathogens.
Vitamin C is a vital nutrient for human health and survival. It is not only a powerful antioxidant and immune booster, but it also supports collagen connective tissue formation and builds extracellular matrix, which is the “glue” that binds the body’s cells together. It is important for faster wound healing and prevention of various chronic conditions. Optimum amounts of vitamin C effectively protect the body and cardiovascular system against biological rusting. Additionally, there are several other important functions of vitamin C. It is a cofactor for a series of biological enzymes, which are important for the improved metabolism of cholesterol, triglycerides and other risk factors of heart disease. It is an important energy molecule needed to recharge energy carriers inside the cells. Vitamin C is essential for production of carnitine, the molecule that carries fatty acids into the mitochondria for energy production. It participates in biological recycling of vitamin E, glutathione and many other cell protective molecules, and when taken together with calcium, it increases calcium absorption. Vitamin C neutralizes various toxins in the body, and protects healthy cells from harmful substances and the effects of many pharmaceutical drugs.