Vitamin C is currently recognised as an immune boosting vitamin and important in the treatment of scurvy. However a recent study has found it to be a crucial vitamin in bone health.
The study, published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, demonstrated that at higher levels than just the minimum dose to prevent scurvy, Vitamin C promotes higher bone mass and lowers fracture rates.
The reason for this is because Vitamin C suppresses osteoclasts, which are the old bone destroying cells, and stimulates osteoblasts which are the bone building cells, so constantly renewing bone. Osteoblasts manufacture collagen to bind the bone matrix cells together forming ‘hydroxyapatite’, important in bone density.
This process is different to that of the osteoporosis drugs such as the biphosphates, which only manage to suppress osteoclasts. They do not stimulate osteoblasts which means that they do not promote new bone growth.
Did you know that most mammals and nearly all animals synthesize their own vitamin C at high levels? We humans don’t, we have lost that ability in our evolution, so we can only get it from foods and supplements.
Vitamin C is water soluble which means that the body gets rid of it quickly, so it is important to take it every day, and I would recommend 500mg as a minimum dose, either as ascorbic acid, calcium ascorbate, or the ascorbate bound to other minerals. However you can take much higher doses and the ‘tolerable upper limit recommendation’ is 2,000mg, but not all at once!
It is also important to eat the foods that contain Vitamin C such as oranges, tangerines, pineapples broccoli and cauliflowers.
So, we have established that a daily dose of Vitamin C is very important, but there are times when in addition to your regular daily intake of Vitamin C you need to take more, such as before major dental work, if you are on a long haul flight, if anyone in your house has flu or any other infection or if you are either in hospital to visit a family member or a friend, or for a procedure yourself.
So don’t forget, not only is Vitamin C a great immune booster it is also vital for bone health at higher doses.