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The Clinical Impact of Vitamin C: My Personal Experiences as a Physician

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9 Evidence-Based Medicinal Properties of Oranges

The orange is both a literal and symbolic embodiment of the sun, from whose light it is formed. As a whole food it irradiates us with a spectrum of healing properties, the most prominent of which some call “vitamin C activity,” but which is not reducible to the chemical skeleton known as ‘ascorbic acid.’ Science now confirms the orange Continue reading

The Four Micro greens for the Best Health

The folks at the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Maryland have recently made an important discovery about some healing foods. These foods are special, because they contain extra doses of disease- fighting antioxidants and healing phytonutrients. They’re called “micro greens” and are the seedlings of vegetables and Continue reading

Put the Brakes on Oxidative Damage with This

Researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences have discovered one healing food that could be a natural remedy against oxidative damage. What’s more, this food grows in just about everyone’s front yard or backyard. It makes a delicious tea that’s full of antioxidants and it’s easy to cultivate and use right in your own kitchen. Continue reading

Vitamin C and the big ‘C’

Vitamin C can curb the growth of cancer cells according to New Zealand scientists who provided hard evidence to the connection between the vitamin C and killing “the big C” (cancer). Vitamin C kills cancer because cancer cells do not have the enzyme catalase to break down hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into water and oxygen. Vitamin C tricks cancer cells into thinking it’s sugar, so the cancer sucks it up. Continue reading

The Benefits and Side Effects of Hibiscus Tea

People drink tea for a number of reasons, ranging from an affinity for the taste to an extra caffeine boost to a variety of health benefits. Tea is a popular drink across the world, and whether you’re drinking chai in India or Earl Gray in Britain, each tea has a unique flavor and essence. Jamaica flower tea is a hibiscus tea known for its popularity in Mexico.

Jamaica Flower Tea

Jamaica flower tea is an iced tea made from a flower called Jamaica (hibiscus sabdariffa). In Mexico, hibiscus blossoms are called Jamaica and Jamaica flower tea is called “Agua de Jamaica.” Made from a strong brew of hibiscus flower tea, Jamaica flower tea is a tart, flavorful red tea, often sweetened heavily with sugar.

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Study Suggests a Daily Vitamin Pill Causes Risk of Skin Cancer

Millions of people who take vitamin pills could be putting themselves at risk of the deadliest form of skin cancer. Research has revealed that supplements containing antioxidants and minerals appear to increase the chances of developing a malignant melanoma.

Volunteers given pills containing vitamin E, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, selenium and zinc were four times more likely to get cancer than those who took dummy pills.

The findings come from a follow-up study to one in 2007, which revealed the risks to vitamin-pill poppers.

The results of that research, by French scientists, showed that out of 13,000 adults, those who took daily supplements to stay healthy were at much higher risk of skin cancer.

To double-check their findings, the same team monitored patients for several more years. These results, published in the latest European Journal of Cancer Prevention, confirm that the increased risk virtually disappeared once patients stopped daily supplements.

Now scientists behind the research, carried out at the National Centre for Rare Skin Diseases in Bordeaux, are calling for those most at risk of skin cancer — fair-skinned types or those with a history of excessive sun exposure — to steer clear of supplements.

Women may be more at risk than men, possibly because they have more fat around the skin, where antioxidants and vitamins are mainly stored.

Malignant melanomas kill about 1,700 a year in the UK and are the third most common cancer in those aged 15 to 39. Over-exposure to the sun’s rays is the biggest cause. So far, the only proven way of reducing risk is to use high protection creams and wearing suitable clothing.

But it had been widely assumed that taking antioxidants would reduce the risk, since supplements theoretically protect the skin against damage from the sun’s rays.

The study, however, suggests supplements have the opposite effect. Scientists do not think taking vitamins actually causes malignant melanoma, rather it somehow speeds up the development of a tumor.

The findings are likely to heighten concerns about overuse of vitamins. Earlier this year, Swedish researchers found that taking daily multivitamin pills raised the risk of breast cancer in women by almost 20 per cent.

It is estimated that nearly a quarter of all adults in the UK take antioxidant supplements or multi-vitamins on a regular basis. The market is worth about Pounds 500million a year.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, from the Health Supplements Information Service, which represents supplement suppliers, said other studies had found no link between vitamins and skin cancer. She added the low number of skin cancer cases in the French research also cast doubt on the results.

Cancer Research UK stressed that vitamins and minerals found in foods did not appear to harm skin in the same way.

A spokesman said: ‘The best way to reduce the risk is to avoid sunburn.’

RECORD numbers of Scots from the ‘package holiday generation’ are dying of skin cancer, new figures show.

Deaths have risen by a third in only two years, most markedly among the age group which first took sunshine breaks in the 1960s and 70s.

The disease is now a bigger killer than either cervical or uterine cancer in Scotland. General Register Office for Scotland figures show that between January and June 2010, 102 people died from malignant melanoma. A decade ago, the disease claimed 115 in the entire year.

The Scottish Executive said it was funding campaigns to raise awareness of the disease.

Introducing – Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for normal growth and development.

Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. The body cannot store them. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine. That means you need a continuous supply of such vitamins in your diet.

Alternative Names

Ascorbic acid

Function

Vitamin C is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It is necessary to form collagen, an important protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is essential for the healing of wounds, and for the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.

Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants. Vitamin E and beta-carotene are two other well-known antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that block some of the damage caused by free radicals, which are by-products that result when our bodies transform food into energy.

The build up of these by-products over time is largely responsible for the aging process and can contribute to the development of various health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and a host of inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Antioxidants also help reduce the damage to the body caused by toxic chemicals and pollutants such as cigarette smoke.

The body does not manufacture vitamin C on its own, nor does it store it. It is therefore important to include plenty of vitamin C-containing foods in your daily diet.

Food Sources

All fruits and vegetables contain some amount of vitamin C. Foods that tend to be the highest sources of vitamin C include green peppers, citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, turnip greens and other leafy greens, sweet and white potatoes, and cantaloupe.

Other excellent sources include papaya, mango, watermelon, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, winter squash, red peppers, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and pineapples.

Side Effects

Vitamin C toxicity is very rare, because the body cannot store the vitamin. However, amounts greater than 2,000 mg/day are not recommended because such high doses can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea.

Too little vitamin C can lead to signs and symptoms of deficiency, including:

  • Dry and splitting hair
  • Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
  • Bleeding gums
  • Rough, dry, scaly skin
  • Decreased wound-healing rate
  • Easy bruising
  • Nosebleeds
  • Weakened tooth enamel
  • Swollen and painful joints
  • Anemia
  • Decreased ability to fight infection
  • Possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism

A severe form of vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy, which mainly affects older, malnourished adults.

Recommendations

The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins, including vitamin C, is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide pyramid.

Vitamin C should be consumed every day because it is not fat-soluble and, therefore, cannot be stored for later use.

The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends the following amounts of vitamin C:

Infants and Children

  • 0 – 6 months: 40 milligrams/day (mg/day)
  • 7 – 12 months: 50 mg/day
  • 1 – 3 years: 15 mg/day
  • 4 – 8 years: 25 mg/day
  • 9 – 13 years: 45 mg/day

Adolescents

  • Girls 14 – 18 years: 65 mg/day
  • Boys 14 – 18 years: 75 mg/day

Adults

  • Men age 19 and older: 90 mg/day
  • Women age 19 year and older: 75 mg/day

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and those who smoke need higher amounts. Ask your doctor what is best for you.