Vitamin C: A True Lifesaver
They were a hardy crew of sea-faring men, willing to spend months, sometimes years, braving the vagaries of the high seas and the dangers of battle.
Still, there was a mysterious enemy that felled many a sailor in the 18th century. While a host of diseases were a constant threat, one materialized in the form of confusing, chaotic symptoms that included “a luxuriancy of fungous flesh,” disturbing nightmares and “a strange dejection of the spirits.” An estimated two million men were lost to scurvy during this period of history.
Various remedies were tested, but the most effective appeared to be citrus fruits, oranges and lemons. Yet it would take another century for British naval surgeon’s mate James Lind to confirm that these vitamin C rich fruits could cure scurvy, a disease brought on by chronic vitamin C deficiency — and decades for the British Navy to act on his findings.
Lind, celebrated as one of the pioneers of preventive medicine and nutrition education, will forever have his name intertwined with vitamin C, which today is recognized as providing all of the following benefits:
Vitamin C is able to block some of the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals speed up aging and contribute to the development of heart disease.
Vitamin C enhances our bodies’ natural detoxification system. Glutathione is known as the “master antioxidant.” Its primary role is to protect cells from oxidative damage.
Strengthens Your Blood Vessel Walls
Vitamin C is essential for the making of collagen which is, in turn, important for the health of our arterial walls.
Vitamin C reduces oxidative stress that can trigger damage to our DNA which potentially contributes to cancer initiation and tumour growth.
- Prevents strokes
- Boosts immune system
- Maintains healthy gums
- Decreases blood sugar in diabetics
- Fights viral illnesses
- Heals burns and wounds
Did you know?
Foods high in vitamin C include red and green bell peppers, dark green leafy vegetables, kiwis and oranges.