Vitamin C: and disease prevention
As vitamins go, none have attracted the level of attention vitamin C
has. It's not a cure-all for colds as thought in the 1960s, but recent
research says is has great potential for helping to prevent heart
disease, stroke and cancer.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It blocks damage to cells caused by
free radicals that contribute to the development of disease. For it to
function at its best, however, the National Institutes of Health say
cells must be fully saturated with C. That requires about 400 milligrams
The vitamin's role as a component of collagen is less well known.
Collagen is a component of skin, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and
scar tissue. The C in collagen is vital for wound healing and the health
of skin, bones, teeth, cartilage and all body tissues.
At the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, their
analysis of nine large studies shows that people who consumed more than
700 milligrams of C a day were 25 percent less likely to develop heart
disease. To get that much, you would have to take a 500 mg. supplement
and eat at least two pieces of fruit each day.
Cancer experts believe that getting just 200 milligrams of C per day may
protect against several cancers. They recommend getting it from food.
People who are watching their weight should get about 500 milligrams of
C a day, according to the Oregon State University lab. They found links
between the level of vitamin C in blood and body fat, as well as waist
The best way to get 200 to 400 milligrams of C a day is by eating 2 1/2
cups of fruits and vegetables a day.
How to burn more calories
Metabolism is the factor that describes how the body uses energy,
measured in calories. Some people claim their resting metabolism rate (RMR)
is low, which is why they weigh more than they want to.
The body uses calories in three ways: To power vital functions like
breathing, heart rate and cell growth. It even burns calories while you
sleep. All this basic activity takes up to 75 percent of the calories
you use each day.
Calories are also used for physical activity, which varies from person
to person. And they are used for absorption of food, which uses about 10
percent of a day's calories, according to experts writing in
People who do aerobic exercise regularly burn more calories and build
muscle, which burns more calories even when they sleep. Twice a week
strength training with dumbbells or resistance bands is essential to
boosting metabolism. The RMR stays high for hours after strength
Exercise is also important because it reduces stress. Stress can cause
the release of cortisol in the body, which slows metabolism.
Getting enough sleep makes a difference. The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort
Study shows that people who sleep four or five hours a night instead of
seven or eight hours weigh more. They have lower levels of the
appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin.
Many weight-loss supplements claim to raise the RMR, but there is little
evidence that they do. The caffeine in coffee does increase the
metabolic rate for about three hours. EGCG, extracted from green tea,
increases the metabolic effect of caffeine.