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Vitamin C, aka ascorbic acid/ascorbate, aka those sour little white tablets my grandma used to give me at the first sign of a cold… Maligned, discounted, and overhyped—this critical vitamin has been through a lot.
In chiropractic practice, sufficient ascorbate is essential to achieving the results we hope to see. It is integral for collagen synthesis, the basic building block of all connective tissue—joints, bones, blood vessels, and muscles.
Think soft flexible skin: it’s much less about what you rub on it from the outside, and more about what you feed it from the inside. Our bodies, especially the liver, require this nutrient for the detoxification of the myriad chemicals we ingest every day in our food, air, and water. Ascorbate plays a role in modulation of both immune function and inflammation; this is why chronic deficiency creates premature aging and impairs joint cartilage repair.
(This is also why smokers have that old, haggard face. Smoking burns vitamin C like a furnace. If you haven’t quit yet, my recommendation for smokers is 100 milligrams of vitamin C per cigarette.)
Personally, I have taken 2000 milligrams per day for years (and that of course increases if there are stressors; chemical, like paint or solvents; physical, any trauma or heavy workouts; mental or emotional, if I am fighting anything, I double or triple that), a handful in my pocket and on the bedside table at all times. And nothing too fancy—just plain old ascorbic acid has done the trick.
For those of you wondering, there is no cause for concern over excess intake. Being water soluble, ascorbic acid is excreted. This means at the worst, you will have expensive pee. This, however, does mean that your intake needs to be spaced throughout the day. For anyone taking time-released, save your money. It looks good on paper, but doesn’t work. This is an acid and must be absorbed in the acid medium of the stomach; once it hits the small intestine it is neutralized and useless. The body also creates an enzyme, ascorbase, to break down any surplus. A sign that the tissues are saturated is a slight loosening of the stool.
Linus Pauling, the Nobel laureate who did much of the early research on vitamin C, took 16,000 milligrams a day for many years—and he was still in his lab doing research at age 94!
This is not a panacea, but one of the 92+ nutrients required to sustain healthy tissue and a long life.
Respectfully yours in health, Dr. Paul