How Vitamin C Works in the Body
Since Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin it can't be stored like the fat-soluble vitamins. This means that anything that doesn't get used immediately is excreted through the urine. So you must continually replenish it through supplements. Most people buy manufactured supplements from the store, but your body can more easily absorb nutrients from natural foods.
To help maximize the amount of Vitamin C that is absorbed before it gets flushed out, Bioflavonoids need to be present. Surprisingly these Bioflavonoids can be found in the same foods you would find Vitamin C in! A comprehensive list of foods and herbs that contain Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids can be found in this article, Avoiding Supplements: Find Vitamin C Naturally. It's essential to eat these foods, which contain higher amounts of Vitamin C, regularly. Consuming increased amounts of these foods when faced with trying to heal a wound or illness are known to help recovery.
There are many areas of the body that benefit from keeping Vitamin C at healthy levels.
1. Cellular Repair
Vitamin C is used in repairing the body. The reason for this is because it synthesizes Collagen, an essential protein that makes up 25-35% of the protein found in your body. It is a connective protein that plays a big part in:
- Healthy gums
- Aiding in adrenal gland function
- Protecting against clotting and bruising
- Building new bones
- Building cartliage
- Building tendons
- Building skin
- Building connective tissues
- Preventing scurvy
If you increase your Vitamin C consumption, it soothes your muscle cells, helping produce Type I Collagen, which is about 90% of all Collagen found in the body. Doing this helps your body heal. Next time you have a wound try it out, you won't be disappointed! You could even try some of these Vitamin C Herbal Teas, many of which have easily foraged ingredients!
2. Cell Maintenance
The Basement Membrane is defined as a thin membranous layer of connective tissue that lines most epithelium (thin tissue forming the outer layer of a body's surface) and anchors them to the dermis (skin). This layer also repairs and fine-tunes the function of the connective tissues cells. Vitamin C creates Type IV Collagen, these are the most used proteins in the Basement Membrane, their primary function is to maintain this layer. If you become deficient in Vitamin C the production of the basement membrane is decreased making the protective lining even thinner and less effective.
Vitamin C also synthesizes Carnitine. This is an amino acid that is responsible for turning fats into cellular energy. It's synthesized in the liver and kidneys and then transported to the skeletal muscles, heart, brain, and sperm to be stored. It would be smart to increase your intake of Vitamin C when needing energy instead of consuming energy drinks. It's natural, healthier, and more easily absorbed. Check out these Naturally Energizing Teas.
Neurotransmitters are responsible for the body being able to respond to its environment, as well as aid your brain in thinking and remembering things. The Sodium-Dependent Vitamin C Transporter-2 (SVCT2) is what transports Vitamin C to the brain and neurons. Once it has entered the cells it is then broken down into ascorbate. The brain and neuroendocrine tissues are the two places that we find the highest concentration of ascorbate. Because of this, the brain will be the last organ to be deprived of ascorbate. In other words, if you are deficient in Vitamin C you will experience symptoms in other areas of the body before you notice any damage to the brain.
When taken with Calcium, Vitamin C stimulates cells called osteoblasts that help incorporate the calcium into your bones. It also prevents cells called osteoclasts from growing, these cells dissolve the calcium from your bones. Instead of taking manufactured Vitamin C and Calcium supplements try out these foods and herbs found at Avoiding Supplements: Find Vitamin C Naturally and Avoiding Supplements: Finding Calcium Naturally, this article goes over which foods and herbs naturally contain Vitamin C so that your body can absorb it more easily.
Since Vitamin C is also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory it is perfect in speeding up the healing process of fractured bones because when a bone is healing it normally goes through four stages:
- Soft callus formation
- Hard callus formation
Soft and hard callus formation is the forming of new tissue, also known as woven bone, that grows where the bone has been broken or fractured. Vitamin C actually improves the mechanical resistance of this callus. Making it stronger and less likely to break again in the future. It also helps if you consistently make sure to keep your Vitamin C at healthy levels.
6. Immune System
There hasn't been much evidence of Vitamin C curing illnesses, but it has been proven to make symptoms more bearable. In my other article, Myth: Use Vitamin C to Fight the Common Cold, I go over more information about how Vitamin D is what actually activates your immune system.
Even though Vitamin C doesn't act as Vitamin D does, it still helps support your immune system by repairing and maintaining the cells in your body, keeping them healthy and strong.
7. Absorbing Iron
There are two types of Iron that can be found today. The first is known as Ionic Iron, you can find this type in your salts. The second kind of Iron is Heme Iron usually found in pill form, this Iron is extracted from Bovine Hemoglobin, which is the oxygen transporting protein found in your red blood cells. This type of Iron doesn't need any extra support from Vitamin C to be absorbed. But it could be beneficial to take some Vitamin C with the first, Ionic Iron. Since Vitamin C is what helps synthesize red blood cells and keeps your blood vessels healthy your body could benefit if you take the two together. Especially if you are anemic (deficient in iron). You can also find iron naturally in certain kinds of food and herbs, you can find the lists on this article Avoiding Supplements: Finding Iron Naturally.