Vitamin C defends against oxidative stress and degenerative diseases. First, a little background: When a toxin enters the body, it starts a molecular “fire” that grows and spreads like a blaze through a forest. Scientists call these “fires” oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is combated by antioxidants: molecules that extinguish oxidative stress and neutralize the original toxins without becoming toxic themselves.
Here’s the vitamin C connection: As an antioxidant, it is a frontline defender against oxidative stress. In other words, vitamin C supplementation can help prevent and address all degenerative diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis, and heart disease, since oxidative stress is a well-known causal factor.
It increases bone density. Research demonstrates the strong relationship between vitamin C supplementation and bone density. In one study, postmenopausal women with a high dietary intake of vitamin C had greater bone mineral density, but only in the lumbar region of the spine. However, individuals who supplemented with vitamin C saw significantly higher bone mineral density at all sites tested. The increased density was particularly evident at the femoral neck, which is the typical site for most hip fractures.
Vitamin C supplementation lowers fracture risk. Not coincidentally, elderly patients who have suffered an osteoporotic fracture have been found to have significantly lower blood levels of vitamin C as compared to their fracture-free peers. Multiple studies mirror these results and support the conclusion that supplemental vitamin C lowers the risk of osteoporotic fractures. It’s worth noting that the relatively small amounts of vitamin C that are typically ingested via any dietary regimen are not sufficient to impact fracture risk.
It accelerates and improves the quality of bone healing. In addition to accelerating the bone healing process per se, vitamin C is also important to the 1) formation of non-collagen bone matrix proteins, 2) differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells into bone cells, and 3) the regulation of cartilage-forming cells in the bone. Collectively, this means that vitamin C contributes substantially to both the speed and the quality of healing in fractured bones. (And, in fact, a sufficient deficit of it can result in the failure of a fracture to heal.)
Supplementation protects against dangerous calcifications. When we ingest too much calcium (which is extremely common in Western society, as explained in Dr. Levy’s book Death by Calcium), calcium collects in non-bone tissues. These abnormal calcifications contribute to heart disease, stroke, cancer, and more. Not only does vitamin C help to reincorporate calcium back into the bones, it also prevents calcification and calcium depositions elsewhere in the body by keeping calcium in a dissolved state.
Vitamin C protects against calcium-laden kidney stones. One particular (and particularly painful) manifestation of abnormal calcification in the body is seen in the formation of kidney stones. While the popular press and uninformed physicians have accused vitamin C of initiating kidney stones, nothing could be farther from the truth. When adequately dosed, vitamin C can be expected to inhibit or even prevent the oxidative stress that causes kidney stones. Anecdotal evidence (which is consistent with the calcium-dissolving properties of vitamin C) even indicates that vitamin C can dissolve and/or resolve preexisting stones in humans and animals!
In fact, vitamin C supplementation lowers all-cause mortality. Studies examining the relationship between vitamin C and death from all causes—especially from heart disease or cancer—are very compelling. Research indicates that even small increases in dietary intake of vitamin C result in a substantial lessening of all-cause mortality. So here’s the bottom line: The more vitamin C you can get into your body (preferably through supplementation), the healthier you’ll be—and the less your chances of death from our society’s most deadly diseases.
(Remember, like any other supplementation, long-term dosing is best determined with the help and follow-up of your healthcare practitioner.)
Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD, is the author of Death by Calcium: Proof of the Toxic Effects of Dairy and Calcium Supplements. He is a board-certified cardiologist and is also the author of Primal Panacea and Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins; plus three other groundbreaking medical books. He is one of the world’s leading vitamin C experts and frequently lectures to medical professionals all over the globe about the proper role of vitamin C and antioxidants in the treatment of a host of medical conditions and diseases. For more information, please visit www.deathbycalcium.com.