Other Roles of Vitamin C

Posted by Blog Wednesday, March 2, 2011

 Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of carnitine from the essential amino acid lysine. Carnitine is required for transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria where the fatty acids are used for energy production, as seen in Figure 2-5. As you may recall, one of the early symptoms of vitamin C deficiency is fatigue, which may be related to the decreased synthesis of L-carnitine.

Vitamin C is needed to make the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is created in response to physical stress. This is one reason why more vitamin C is needed for stress. Vitamin C also acts as a cofactor for the enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of the neurotransmitter dopamine to norepinephrine.

More vitamin C is needed in times of stress.

The adrenal glands contain more vitamin C than any other organ in the body. In response to stress, vitamin C is released along with stress hormones. Many different kinds of stress cause the release of vitamin C from the adrenals. More vitamin C is needed during extreme hot and cold temperatures and with exposure to heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, or mercury.

Figure 2-5 Vitamin C and carnitine are needed for burning fat.

Certain medications, if taken for extended periods, can increase the amount of vitamin C required. Some examples of these drugs are aspirin, oral contraceptives, and barbiturates. For example, two aspirin tablets taken every six hours for a week have been reported to lower the amount of vitamin C in white blood cells by half.

Vitamin C has been used under medical supervision to treat cancer with variable success. High intravenous doses have sometimes resulted in lessening of pain and extended life. This treatment is very controversial. Vitamin C is needed to catalyze enzymatic reactions that activate hormones such as oxytocin. Oxytocin is needed by women during labor to stimulate contractions. Oxytocin also aids in the release of breast milk.

Vitamin C works in two ways to lower cholesterol.

Vitamin C is needed to change cholesterol into bile in the liver.

Vitamin C helps contract the gallbladder to release bile.

Vitamin C is needed for the transformation of cholesterol into bile acids and the elimination of bile acids through the gallbladder. In vitamin C deficiency, the breakdown of cholesterol is slowed, resulting in an accumulation of cholesterol in the liver. This can lead to high blood cholesterol and the formation of gallstones. Vitamin C is needed to catalyze another enzymatic reaction that activates a polypeptide hormone,   holecystokinin. This hormone stimulates contraction of the gallbladder to release bile. So, vitamin C works in two ways to eliminate excess cholesterol.

Deficiency of Vitamin C
Deficiency of vitamin C is apparent in many body systems. Blood vessels are dependent on vitamin C to maintain their collagen. Bleeding gums and small hemorrhages under the skin can be signs of developing vitamin C deficiency. With severe deficiency, the muscles deteriorate, including the heart muscle. Wounds fail to heal and teeth become loosened because collagen cannot be formed. Infections are common. Death from scurvy can be from internal hemorrhaging. Scurvy is easily reversed with fresh fruit and vegetables.

More about C-Vitamin:

Vitamin C The Citrus Antioxidant

Most Popular Supplement

Biosynthesis of Vitamin C

Collagen and Vitamin C

Vitamin C as an Antioxidant

Vitamin C, Infections, and the Common Cold

Vitamin C and Disease Prevention

Other Roles of Vitamin C

Vitamin C Food Sources

Supplemental Forms of Vitamin C


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