ROLE OF VITAMIN-C IN PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF ADVERSE HEALTH CONDITIONS
- PROTECTION AGAINST HEAVY METAL (ESPECIALLY LEAD) TOXICITY:
The problem of Lead and Cadmium pollution is getting serious with every passing day in developing countries like India. People are getting exposed to heavy metals like Cadmium and Lead through Polluted air, polluted drinking water, Food grown in soil polluted/contaminated with lead and cadmium, repeated exposure to industrial materials and consumer products (Containing Lead/Cadmium).
The Cadmium toxicity can cause damage to the organs such as: Lungs, Liver, Kidneys, Bones, Heart and reproductive organs, etc. which can have various adverse effects on health. It is also considered as a potent carcinogen (Cancer causing compounds), which increases the risk of cancer.
Like Cadmium, lead exposure is also associated with a range of adverse health effects. It can cause damage to the Nervous system, Blood and blood components, Liver, Kidneys and reproductive organs.
Children are more vulnerable to the toxic effects of these heavy metals.
Heavy metals through chemical reactions can generate certain harmful molecules like reactive oxygen species and free radicals within human body, which can put human body under Oxidative stress. This is the main reason behind heavy metal toxicity. Vitamin C being a potent antioxidant can counteract this Oxidative stress and also its deleterious effects on human body thus; offer protection from Heavy metal (Lead and Cadmium) toxicity.
- PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF NEUROLOGICAL & DEGENERATIVE DISEASES LIKE SCHIZOPHRENIA & ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE:
Schizophrenia is one of the major neurological disorders associated with great deal of morbidity and economic burden. Oxidation of the fatty acids present in human brain results in the generation and accumulation of free oxygen radicals, which increase the Oxidative stress and damage cells within brain.
Vitamin C a simple water soluble vitamin present in fruits and vegetables is a potent antioxidant, but it gets over utilized in schizophrenic patients. The absence/lack of sufficient antioxidant to fight against these free radicals can further increase the Oxidative stress in the brain of a schizophrenic patient.
In such a condition (Schizophrenia), Vitamin C is required at higher doses than the optimum dosage required for healthy individual to counteract the excess Oxidative stress.
It is generally used along with the antipsychotic medications in the treatment of schizophrenia.
According to some researchers Vitamin C being an antioxidant can be also beneficial in protection from Alzheimer’s disease.
During metabolism of a food in to an energy certain chemicals & molecules such as reactive oxygen species and free radical are generated within human body, which can be toxic.
Routinely the antioxidants we eat from food can neutralize these harmful molecules and reduce the risk of their toxicity, but when they are not completely neutralized (Due to insufficient antioxidant activity) they can have harmful effects on our body e.g. Hair fall.
Vitamin-C being a strong antioxidant, its regular and sufficient intake can neutralize these free radicals and prevent their harmful effects on our body.
Vitamin C is also plays an important role in the synthesis of collagen (cementing substance). Collagen provides strength to the hair, thus; vitamin C can be effectively used in the prevention of hair fall and its absence/deficiency can lead to weak hair and hair fall.
Eczema is an inflammatory condition affecting skin where skin develops red, itchy, rough and cracked patches. Sometimes tiny blisters are formed which can ooze. Generally, it is treated with oral medications and local application of ointments. Vitamin-C can also contribute in the treatment of Eczema since,
- It can neutralize the chemicals responsible for the development of inflammation of the skin.
- Being an antioxidant it also protects skin from the damage by reactive oxygen species and free radicals.
When skin is exposed to the direct sunlight for a longer period, the ultraviolet rays can damage the skin cells by toxic effects of generated free radicals and reactive oxygen species, which manifests as sunburn. Skin becomes red, painful and hot to touch. Usually Sunscreens and proper clothing helps in the prevention from sunburns. If this is combined with Vitamin-C, it can offer a greater protection as Vitamin-C can neutralize the free radicals generated by UV rays and prevent further damage from it.
Healing of burn wounds is a major issue in medical sciences. Water-soluble vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen. Collagen (A cementing substance) is essential for maintaining the integrity of cells, tissues, blood vessels, cartilage, bones, teeth, skin and tendons. Vitamin-C can also improve the protective mechanism of the immune system, which can help in the process of wound healing. Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic acid, is an efficient antioxidant. It protects the skin against the damage from ultraviolet rays, free radicals. Through these various mechanisms Vitamin C contributes in the healing of Burn wound.
- PREVENTION AND REDUCTION OF ALLERGIES
According some researchers, Vitamin – C can inhibit one of the chemicals generated in the body during allergic response, i.e. Histamine. Because of this property Vitamin-C can be used along with other medicines (Anti allergic) in the prevention and treatment of allergic conditions.
Cataracts can happen as a part of ageing; we cannot totally avoid them form developing. But we may surely be able to delay their onset and keep them from worsening significantly by eating a diet rich in Vitamin-C. Cataracts occur naturally with age and cause the lens in our eye to become cloudy (Opaque). Cataracts can be removed but it is still the leading cause of blindness worldwide. The fluid inside the eye is normally high in vitamin C, which helps in prevention of damage due to Oxidative stress that leads to clouding (Opacity) of the eye lens. A Vitamin C-rich diet may boost the amount of the Vitamin within the eye fluid, providing extra protection against cataract.
- PREVENTION OF SKIN AGEING
Vitamin-C intake through diet or local application of Vitamin-C to the skin can offer a protection against skin ageing and wrinkling.
- Exposure to the ultraviolet rays from sun for prolonged period can result in the damage to the skin due to generation of Free radicals. Vitamin-C being an antioxidant can nullify these free radicals and protect skin from the damage
- Also Vitamin-C helps in the synthesis of collagen (A cementing substance. Effective synthesis of collagen helps in maintaining the integrity of skin.
With these mechanisms Vitamin-C can offer protection to the skin from ageing and wrinkling