Vitamin C, Ascorbic Acid
( Originally Published 1930's )
When we say vitamins are the third essential food in the maintenance of health; that minerals and amino poteins supercede them, we use the plural vitamins. However, specifically, certain vitamins assume a full par value with the mineral and protein. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is the foremost of all vitamins in the maintenance of a healthy body, and particularly in human longevity.
The United States Government has collected Biochemists' re-ports from all parts of the country. It is not, therefore, just a say-so when we give you the high points of vitamin C and its benefit to you and yours.
You will note that Vitamin C is called ascorbic acid, also cevitamic acid. It is an acid, and very tart to the taste. You will recall that there is a principal in tart fruits which causes sugar and fruit juices to solidify, or jell. This tart substance, called pectin, can not be said to be identical to vitamin C. However, vitamin C acts similarly to pectin in causing a protecting jelly-like substance to surround certain tissues of the body.
Recent experiments, in withdrawing all vitamin C foods from test animals, poved that this jelly-like substance was reduced to a more watery consistency, and that bone marrow, teeth, and connecting tissues suffered destruction.
Through a series of tests upon animals, it was found that the lack of vitamin C is a great reason for capillary blood vessel breaks. Those little red and blue blood vessels which you notice under the skin is an indication of vitamin C deficiency. While the idea has not been advanced, as proven, that the large blood vessels suffer from vitamin C deficiency, it is possible and quite probable that this is a fact.
Not only does vitamin C aid blood vessel repair, but it also induces the healing of wounds. Animals, in which wounds have been purposely incised, healed twice as quick if they have been given full feedings of foods containing vitamin C. Peptic ulcers of the stomach are now being treated, not only with milk and eggs, but a full complement of Vitamin C. Neither milk, nor eggs contain sufficient vitamin C to act as a perfect healing agent. All these two foods do is to sooth the pain of the ulcer.
Through blood and urine tests, it has been found that vitamin C is used up more quickly in the system of people with infections; particularly, this is true in tuberculosis. The blood serum, which acts as our first line of defense when infections invade, is of high quality only when it contains a normal amount of vitamin C.
The normal amount of vitamin C has been determined for various ages of people. This work has been going on for several years, and the following information is quite valuable to you folks who are poor eaters, of Vitamin C food. And, please remember, that vitamin foods can supply all your needs, if you are an adult and eat generously of fruits, vegetables, leafs, and dairy products.
Infants are somewhat at the mercy of their mothers. Baby should have 10 to 20 milligrams of vitamin C a day, for the first few days. This should be increased quite rapidly to 50 milligrams per day. Mothers furnish from 10 to 50 milligrams per day. Since it is not possible to determine whether the mother eats enough vita-min C foods to supply both herself and child, it is advisable to give the baby orange juice, or some other C fruit.
Mother should fortify herself, prenatally, by eating more fruit such as orange, lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, tomato, etc. Remember, if there is not enough C for both child and mother, the child gets it. Nature sees that the mother gives up her substance to her progeny.
Bottle babies must be protected more than breast babies. Pasturized cow's milk runs from 1 to 2.6 milligrams vitamin C to each 100 cc, or approximately 6 to 15 milligrams per pint. Fifty milli-grams a day for a healthy youngster would mean 4 to 9 pints a day. This would be entirely too much milk to obtain the necessary amount of vitamin C. That is why it is essential to give infants and children orange juice.
Each tablespoonful of orange juice supplies 7 1/2 milligrams of vitamin C, or about 100 milligrams to a cup full. Lemon and grape-fruit juice supply about the same amount. However, pineapple juice and tomato juice supply only half that amount and would have to be doubled in quantity.
Bananas, strawberries, cabbage, and other leafy vegetables, sup-ply a fair amount of vitamin C. A banana—dead ripe—would supply about 8 milligrams of vitamin C, or as much as in one table-spoonful of orange juice. What child, without getting a tummy ache, could eat 5 or 6 bananas a day? Better give him orange juice.
The adult requirement for vitamin C is 100 milligrams a day. That should be a minimum. However, an adult should double that amount as an insurance. So many things can happen to destroy vitamin C values in food; wilted vegetables, boiled-to-death vegetables, and long exposure to the air. Everything happens to vitamin C; now it is there, and then it is not.
Bleeding gums, gingivitis, pyorrhea; all indicate a vitamin C deficiency. Those little capillary breaks, pimples, psoriosis, weepy eczema, asthma, hayfever, and many other conditions of the skin and mucus sufaces, are also vitamin C deficiencies. All you people, who suffer from these various conditions, know that you do not eat, or do not like, tart fruits and green vegetables; at least not enough of them. C, what we mean?
And that ain't all ! The person who does not like, or does not eat, fruits valuable in C, is the person who does not make enough alkali to change starches and fats into fuel for energy. That person is the one who gets indigestion, gas, heart-burn, colitis, and—Whoa ! that is where we came into this book. Remember? Just go back and read the fist few chapters again. You will, or should, not ever forget that Vitamin C, in its proudest parents, the tart foods, green vegetables, and leafs, mean a lot to your health and longevity.
Notice, please, we say vitamin C in tart foods for you bellyachers. Concentrated vitamin C in tablet or capsule will not do what vitamin C in food will do. You do not get the alkalizing effect of the fruit juices.
Vitamins are only a supplementary food; not the real thing. However, in asthma, hayfever, and capillary blood vessel breaks, there seems to be not only a deficiency in the alkalization of the system, due to too little tart fruits, but an actual deficiency in the vitamin C, itself. Therefore, it is essential for people with these afflictions to take extra large amounts of vitamin C. Five thousand to twenty-five thousand units a day have given benefit in such conditions.
Nevertheless, every person should get as much vitamin C in natural foods as is possible. Once more now, WHAT YOU DO NOT EAT HURTS YOU.