Most animals are able to synthesize all the vitamin C they need from diatery sugars; humans, along with other primates, are among the few species of animals unable to synthesize the vitamin. Vitamin C plays a important role in the body’s ability to handle physiologic stress during infection, injury or chronic disease. While most animals are able to increase synthesis of vitamin C during the conditions of stress, humans’ strict dependence on dietary sources of the vitamin increases risk of deficiency during stress period.
Functions of Vitamin C
Vitamin C has various functions I the body. It helps in wound healing, burn, and fracture healing, acts as a antioxidant, and also helpful in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and steroids hormones. It enhances the absorption of iron and converts folic acid, a B vitamin, to an active form.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. By preventing the uptake of oxygen by other molecules, it deters the destruction of tissue by unstable molecules. Vitamin C is more sensitive to oxidation than either vitamin E or vitamin A and will be oxidized before they are. Thus it is called antioxidants’ antioxidant.
Vitamin C is necessary in the formation of collagen, the strong fibrous protein in connective tissue. Both skin, blood vessels, soft dental structures, and scar tissue all contain collagen. Without vitamin C, collagen molecules are inadequately cross linked, resulting in weak tissue.
Adrenal gland function
High concentration of vitamin C are found in the adrenal glands. These are the organs that secrets adrenaline, the “fight or flight” hormone in times of stress. Vitamin C aids in the release of adrenalin from adrenal glands. Emotional and physical stress increases the body’s need for vitamin C by three to four times.
Folic acid conversion
Vitamin converts folic acid to an active form. For this reason, deficiency of vitamin c can lead to anemia due to inefficient use of iron and folic acid.
Cholesterol breakdown and excretion
The first key step in the breakdown of cholesterol depends on vitamin C. cholesterol levels in the liver and blood increase if vitamin C level is impaired.
Body and blood histamines levels
Vitamin C plays a role in controlling body and blood histamine levels, and blood histamines levels increase when vitamin C status is poor. High levels of histamines can aggravate allergies, asthma, stomach ulcers, and certain psychiatric disorders.
Vitamin C facilitates iron absorption. It acts with hydrochloric acid to keep iron in the more absorbable ferrous form.
Foods with Vitamin C
Citrus fruits are excellent sources of vitamin C. other good sources include papaya, cantaloupe, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green peppers, strawberries, white potatoes, cabbage, chard, kale, turnip greens, asparagus, berries, pineapple, and guavas.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic diarrhoea
- Elevated serum cholesterol
- Severe trauma
- Surgical wounds
- Chronic use of drug such as aspirin and oral contraceptives
- Old people with chronic illness
- Regular cigarette smoking
Signs of excess
Gastrointestinal stress and diarrhoea. Excess do not produce a hypervitaminosis but have been linked to oxalate kidney stones or gout in susceptible persons.
Signs and symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency / scurvy
Impaired connective tissue synthesis and fragility of blood vessels causes
- Abnormal bleeding
- Easy bruising
- Inflamed and bleeding gums
- Joint stiffness
- Joint pain
Build up of keratin in hair follicles producing roughened “sandpaper skin”
Impaired wound healing
Weakness, lassitude, fatigue
Psychological/neurological symptoms including depression and personality changes
Impaired immunity with increase risk of infection
Diminished antioxidant defenses may increase risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, cataract.
Homeopathic treatment of Vitamin C deficiency or Scurvy symptoms
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat vitamin C deficiency but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. True nutritional deficiency should be treated with Vitamin supplements and dietary modification. If there is problem is assimilation, homeopathy can help. Secondary symptoms can also be helped with the right homeopathic remedy. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several well-proved medicines are available for vitamin C deficiency symptom’s treatment that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensation and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. Some important remedies are given below for vitamin C deficiency symptom’s treatment:
Arsenic Album – pronounced debility; child is emaciated; severe gastrointestinal disturbances; exceedingly fetid smell from the mouth.
Sulphur – is indicated when addition to the bleeding gums and fetid breath the patient has old, shriveled, withered look and unhealthy state of skin. Discharge of blood and fetid pus from about the roots of the teeth.
Mercurius – when gums recede from teeth and are blue and unhealthy in color. Legs swollen and very painful. Unhealthy bluish ulcerations of the skin are the characteristic symptoms of this remedy.
Kreosote – mouth putrid and cadaverous; gums ulcerated ; epistaxis, and discharge from the genitalia.
Carbo Veg – persistent hemorrhage from gums and nose. It may also occur from kidneys and bowels.