Dr. David Brownstein,  editor of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter, is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success with natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. His books include Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!; Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It; Salt Your Way To Health; The Miracle of Natural Hormones; Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders; The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet; and The Guide to Healthy Eating. He is the medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their teenage daughters, Hailey and Jessica.

Tags: vitamin C | aging | researchers | strength | balance | fitness | Journal of Gerontology

Vitamin C and Aging

Monday, 19 December 2011 09:27 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Question: Does taking vitamin C help combat the effects of aging?

Dr. Brownstein's Answer:

Researchers studied 655 elderly Japanese women, who did not take supplements, to ascertain how vitamin C levels affect strength, balance, and overall fitness. The study, reported in the September 20, 2011, issue of the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, examined physical performance, lifestyle, and plasma vitamin C concentrations of the subjects.

This study positively correlated vitamin C levels with strength, agility, and walking speed — all of which are important measures of aging. The authors found plasma vitamin C concentrations positively correlated with handgrip strength, length of time standing on one leg with eyes open, and walking speed.

Furthermore, plasma vitamin C levels were inversely correlated with body mass index. (In other words, the lower the vitamin C levels, the higher the weight.)

Humans cannot make their own vitamin C; we must obtain it from our diet. We get vitamin C from many food sources, particularly fruits and vegetables. However, the vitamin C content of these food sources is directly dependent on how long before consumption the produce was removed from its source plant. The more time between when food was picked and its consumption, the lower its vitamin C content. That’s why fresh produce is best.

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and helps maintain normal immune system function. It also helps maintain optimal detoxification pathways. I recommend taking 3,000 to 5,000 mg per day. If you get loose stools with vitamin C, lower the dosage. Besides loose stools, there are few side effects.

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Monday, 19 December 2011 09:27 AM
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