Monthly Archives: January 2018

The Negative Effects of Sugar on Vitamin C Intake

Negative-Effects-Sugar-Vitamin-C

From an early age, we learn that Vitamin C helps support the body’s immune system by supporting the activities of antimicrobial and natural killer cells and protecting those cells from the harmful effects of oxidative stress. Although many people reach for fruit juices rich in Vitamin C, this can be counterproductive because they also contain large amounts of sugar.

Studies have found that excessive amounts of sugar, or glucose, in the body can inhibit the absorption of Vitamin C. In the 1970s, researchers established that sugar and Vitamin C have a similar structure and enter cells using the same pathway. This makes sense because most animals use glucose to manufacture Vitamin C in their bodies. However, humans do not have the L-gulonolactone oxidase enzyme needed to synthesize Vitamin C. Instead, we must get the nutrient through foods or Vitamin C supplements.

Both Vitamin C and glucose can enter cells using a critical protein known as the Glut-1 receptor.  The Glut-1 receptor has a preference for glucose, which means it will choose sugar over Vitamin C when given the opportunity. This poses a particular challenge for white blood cells, which need as much as 50 times more Vitamin C within their cell walls than in the surrounding blood plasma to effectively combat the effects of oxidative stress.

So, instead of reaching for fruit juice or other high-sugar drinks as your source of Vitamin C, try eating vegetables that contain high amounts of Vitamin C, such as spinach, peas and broccoli. It could also be helpful to take Vitamin C supplements.

The Role of Vitamin C in Copper and Iron Absorption

Iron-Copper-Absorption-LivOn-Labs

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), iron deficiency is considered the most common and widespread nutritional issue in the world. More iron is absorbed when iron stores are low, while less is absorbed if the body’s stores are appropriate. Dietary iron is in the form of either heme iron or nonheme iron. Although the iron found in meat (heme iron) is easily absorbed, the iron in plant-based foods and eggs (non-heme iron) is absorbed differently, as it  depends on the presence of other nutrients.

The non-heme iron in vegetables, egg yolks, fruits, grains, iron-fortified products, nuts, and seeds is absorbed less efficiently than the heme iron found in poultry, fish, and meat. Fortunately, Vitamin C assists the body in absorbing more non-heme iron from these sources, thereby improving the body’s ability to utilize more iron from these sources than it could otherwise. Vitamin C can also help overcome some of the negative effects of phytonutrients such as phytic acid, tannins, polyphenols, and oxalic acid, which can interfere with non-heme iron absorption. Vitamin C can be obtained from supplements or from dietary sources such as broccoli, oranges, kiwi, tomatoes, bell peppers, mangoes, and strawberries.

Copper is essential to several processes within the body, including iron metabolism.  There are four copper-containing enzymes – called multi-copper oxidases (MCO) – that can change ferrous iron to ferric iron, the form or iron needed for red blood cell formation.  These enzymes make up the ceruloplasmin levels in the body.

Although Vitamin C supplements have been found to contribute to copper deficiency in animals, Vitamin C’s effect on the nutritional status of copper in humans is still being studied. Two minor studies on healthy young men indicated the oxidase activity of ceruloplasmin may be lowered by higher doses of Vitamin C supplements. One of the studies found that a total of 1,500mg of Vitamin C taken each day for two months resulted in lower ceruloplasmin activity. The other study indicated that 605 mg of Vitamin C supplements per day for 3 weeks created a decline in ceruloplasmin oxidase activity but did not cause copper absorption to decline. Neither of the studies determined supplementing with Vitamin C negatively affects copper nutritional status.

  1. Hickey S., Roberts H, Miller N, (2008), “Pharmacokinetics of oral vitamin C” Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine July 31.

Vitamin C and Cellular Energy Production

Cellular-Energy-Vitamin-C-LivOn-Labs

Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that the human body requires for a wide range of functions. Vitamin C, taken in the diet or in vitamin C supplements, promotes wound healing, supports the immune system and is required for proper function of the brain cells. In addition, research indicates vitamin C affects energy production in the body’s cells.

The human body is an electrical system. Body cells use chemical messengers to communicate and control various functions such as growth, repair and the production of important enzymes and hormones. Individual cells have what is known as electrical potential. Each cell is surrounded by a thin membrane that allows ions of minerals like sodium and potassium to cross back and forth based on the concentrations on each side of the membrane. The mitochondria – structures inside the cells – are like tiny powerhouses that regulate energy production. Basically, each cell is a battery that can produce or accept an electrical charge depending on the concentrations of its ions. When vitamin C becomes depleted in the cells, the electrical potential of the cells drops.

Having adequate amounts of vitamin C in the body is critical for health at the cellular level. Humans need at least 40 to 120 milligrams of vitamin C every day and many scientists think higher doses are beneficial. Foods like peppers and citrus supply vitamin C, as do vitamin C supplements.

Vitamin C’s Role in Brain Health

Brain-Health-Vitamin-C-LivOn-Labs

Most people are aware that vitamin C is an important part of a healthy diet and that humans need a regular dose since the body can’t store this vitamin. Vitamin C supports tissue healing and natural collagen production. What is less well-known is the importance of vitamin C to brain health.

Vitamin C – also known as ascorbate – is an antioxidant. It can be obtained from foods like citrus fruits and peppers or through vitamin C supplements. Although the whole body uses vitamin C in various functions, it is of critical importance in the brain. Researchers have found that the body’s highest concentrations of vitamin C are found in the brain and other neuroendocrine tissue. It is also very difficult for the brain to become depleted of ascorbate, suggesting that it is critical for proper brain function. In addition, when vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) occurs, the body holds onto ascorbate in the brain tissue when other tissues become depleted.

Among other functions, vitamin C is used by the brain to produce neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers the brain cells use to communicate. Neurotransmitters affect the body’s emotions and control important chemical processes such as the “fight or flight” response to stress and danger. Scientists have discovered, for example, that the nerve cells of the eye – the retina is part of the nervous system – must be bathed in ascorbate in order to function properly. The retina contains special cells called GABA receptors, that help control communication between brain cells. Current findings indicate vitamin C is critical for these receptors to function properly; in the absence of vitamin C, the receptors stop working.

The implications of these findings support the long-standing advice from nutritionists and doctors for people to eat or take vitamins C in some form every day. Vitamin C-rich foods include chile and bell peppers, kale, papaya, strawberries, cauliflower and, of course, oranges. Vitamin C supplements are also readily available in various forms.

Vitamin Deficiencies Can Cause Bruising

Vitamin-Deficiencies-Bruising-LivOn-Labs

Everyone suffers bruises from time to time, usually as the result of some sort of blunt-force trauma. Normally, it’s not a serious problem, but excessive bruising can sometimes indicate an underlying issue such as thin skin, weak capillaries or insufficient collagen levels. These conditions may be linked to vitamin deficiencies.

Bruises typically occur when someone bumps into something. The trauma damages capillaries beneath the skin, causing a tiny amount of blood to seep out and leave a darkened area. The older a person gets, the more they tend to bruise. This is because the skin gets thinner and loses a protective layer of fat as people age. Certain medications, such as blood thinners, can also cause people to bruise more. However, another common culprit is Vitamin C deficiency.

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for the body. It supports the immune system, works as a powerful antioxidant and is necessary for the natural production of collagen. Collagen is a structural protein that aids in the maintenance and repair of blood vessel walls and other connective tissue. When a person does not get enough Vitamin C, their body can bruise more easily. They may also experience joint pain, a weakened immune response and slower healing of wounds.

If a person develops a severe Vitamin C deficiency, known as scurvy, they can also suffer from bleeding gums, the loss of teeth and hair and the degeneration of blood vessels. This condition is relatively rare in the modern U.S., especially given the wide availability of Vitamin C in the diet and  Vitamin C supplements, but it does still occur in some individuals with poor nutritional habits. In order to prevent these health problems, health experts recommend that adults consume at least 60 – 90mg of Vitamin C each day.

In addition to Vitamin C deficiency, insufficient levels of Vitamin K and Vitamin D may also lead to excessive bruising, as they are both essential to the blood coagulation process. Meanwhile, Vitamin B9 and B12 deficiencies can also cause blood vessel damage and increased bruising. While a healthy diet is important for the prevention of vitamin deficiencies, the use of Vitamin C supplements and other supplemental nutrients can give the body an extra layer of protection.