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Vitamin C
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Vitamin C
Recommended daily allowance: 60 mg (milligrams)

Symptoms of deficiency: Scurvy, muscle weakness, swollen gums, loss of teeth, bruising, anemia, frequent infections, slow healing of wounds, digestive difficulties.

Benefits: Promotes overall body functions. Helps form collagen in connective tissue. Aids in the treatment of cancer, cholesterol, heart disease, blood clots, allergies, and arthritis. Contributes to hemoglobin and red-blood-cell production in bone marrow. Helps heal wounds and broken bones.

Good food sources: Citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, vegetables.

Cautions: Consult your doctor if you have gout, kidney stones, or sickle-cell anemia. If you suffer from glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (red blood cell enzyme eficiency), consult your doctor before taking mega-doses.

Substance interactions: Decreases vitamin's effect: Aspirin, tobacco, barbiturates, mineral oil, oral contraceptives, salicylates, sulfa drugs, tetracyclines. Decreases medicine's effect: Anti-cholinergics, oral anticoagulants, copper. Mega-doses of vitamin C increase chance of formation of drug crystals in urine if combines with aminosalicylic acid (PAS for tuberculosis).

Signs of toxicity: Flushed face, frequent urination, mild diarrhea, nausea.

* Large doses will break down alcohol more rapidly in the body.

* Neutralizes potentially cancer-causing nitrites (preservatives found in hot dogs and lunch meats) and nitrates (found naturally in vegetables and drinking water).

* A powerful antioxidant. Reduces risk of heart disease, cancer, cataracts, arthritis.

* Builds up the body's immune system to make it stronger against colds and viruses.

* Reduces the histamine levels in the body, which trigger allergy and asthma attacks. People taking at least 200 mg daily have a 30% reduced risk of bronchitis.

* May aid diabetics by helping to regulate insulin release. Vitamin C has been shown to prevent the sugar inside cells from converting to sorbitol (sugar alcohol). Sorbitol accumulates in cells and is connected to diabetes-related eye, nerve and kidney damage.

* Some doctors recommend limiting the use of chewable vitamin C tablets because they can cause enamel loss from the surface of the teeth.

* Supplements are extremely beneficial for pregnant and nursing mothers.

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