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The Hidden Dangers of Mega Vitamin C

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Ascorbic Acid Causes Hardening of the Arteries?

It seems hardly likely that taking high doses of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can cause thickening or hardening of the arteries since so many people have taken high doses for a long time. Yet researchers from the University of California reported just that on March 2, 2000. People who took 500 mgs of ascorbic acid had a 2.5 times faster progression of thickening of the carotid artery (hardening of the arteries) than people who took no supplement.

This study was not a clinical study where subjects are divided into those taking ascorbic acid and those taking a placebo. This was an epidemiological study which means patient records were examined and this finding popped up. There might well have been other confounding factors that would explain the artery-thickening finding.

Nonetheless, the researchers were surprised at the finding. And it seemed that the higher the dose of ascorbic acid, the worse the artery damage (the more they took, the faster the buildup). In fact, smokers taking 500 mgs of ascorbic acid had a rate of artery thickening five times greater than nonsmokers not taking the supplement. And while no one is sure what this all means, the researchers did come up with some common sense ideas about fractionated supplementation.

The director of the study astutely observed that "when you extract one component of food and give it at very high levels, you just don't know what you are doing to the system, and it may be adverse." Other researchers were quick to add that the research shows the uncertainties of picking out a single vitamin among the plethora of nutrients in a healthy diet. They added that it is a challenge to pick out nutrients that may make people live longer because if we are wrong, we can do harm.

Naturally this flies in the face of all the claims by all the synthetic vitamin manufacturers who state that vitamins can't hurt you, will never cause harm, are always beneficial, and will cure everything from a cold to cancer. The fact is that isolated, synthetic, or fractionated high-dose "vitamins" are unnatural and can cause harm to certain people. In the case of ascorbic acid, it is feasible that high doses may cause artery damage.

Synthetic Vitamins Also Cause Deficiencies

All store-bought vitamin C is either synthetic or fractionated (isolated from a highly-processed food like corn oil). The real vitamin C complex contains a myriad of nutrients, including organic copper, bioflavonoids, enzymes and coenzymes, trace mineral activators, antioxidants, etc. The ascorbic acid fraction of this complex is only the preservative or anti-oxidant portion which actually serves to preserve the nutrients of this marvelous nutritional complex. By manufacturing high-dose ascorbic acid supplements, we have opted to "extract one component and give it at a very high level, not knowing what we are doing to the system."

It is a fact that the body cannot assimilate (use) high-dose fractions of nutrients without first putting them into a form that is functional to the human body. In the case of ascorbic acid, the body will scour the system for the missing components of the vitamin C complex in order to utilize the ascorbic acid. That is why almost all of this chemical ends up in the urine -- because it cannot be utilized by the body in its fractionated form.

The potential problem with ascorbic acid is that prior to being excreted from the body, it scours the system for its accompanying nutrients. In so doing, ascorbic acid and other synthetic nutrients can create deficiencies of their nutritional partners. Prime examples are high doses of zinc causing a mineral deficiency, high doses of vitamin B1 causing a B vitamin deficiency, and high doses of ascorbic acid causing a copper deficiency.

Copper and Blood Vessels

One of the major functions of organic copper in the body is to keep blood vessels healthy. In fact, copper is always a nutrient used with patients who suffer from blood vessel diseases and deformities like aneurysms. Is it possible that people taking high doses of ascorbic acid induce a copper deficiency of sufficient significance to weaken blood vessel walls, resulting in thickening or hardening of the arteries?

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), which serves as a spokesman for the supplement industry, simply states that the ascorbic acid study in question does not really tell us much of anything since it was only an epidemiological study. They state that "the weight of all published scientific evidence suggests that vitamin C is beneficial not only for the heart but also protects against cataracts and some types of cancer." What remains unclear is whether the weight of scientific evidence is based on real vitamin C from food or ascorbic acid.

At this point in time, it would probably be prudent not to take high doses of ascorbic acid. If you want to take a vitamin C supplement, use the whole vitamin C complex from food which naturally contains ascorbic acid as well as vitamins A, P (bioflavonoids), the enzyme tyrosinase and other enzymes and co-enzymes, organic copper, trace mineral activators and a whole tapestry of other nutrients both known and unknown. Two of the best food based Vitamin C products are Cataplex ACP and Cataplex AC by Progressive Labs.

New (Old) Blood Test for Heart Risk

According to the March 23, 2000, New England Journal of Medicine, a sensitive blood test for C-reactive protein is a powerful indicator of present or future heart and blood vessel disease. Recent testing studies prove what alternative heart doctors have been saying for a long time. Tests like the sensitive C-reactive protein and homocysteine levels are powerful predictors of heart disease and future heart problems like heart attacks and strokes.

Furthermore, the study showed what alternative doctors have also been saying all along--these kinds of tests are far more accurate screening mechanisms than either total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol levels. The study showed that those with the highest C-reactive protein levels had 4.4 times the chance of having a heart attack or other cardiovascular event. And this test proved to be the best indicator of heart attack risk -- twice as good as the LDL level (the American Heart Association's gold standard).

This test only costs about $20. When more than half of all heart attacks occur in people with normal or low cholesterol levels, this kind of test makes sense.

If you have a high C-reactive protein or homocysteine finding, it simply means you need to work on your diet and supplements to reduce blood vessel inflammation and heart damage, especially if you also have an extremely low cardiac recovery rate. Treat your heart and blood vessels nutritionally. At the very least, eliminate all processed oils, fried foods, and margarines, use little to no sugar; and take at least six Cardio-Plus tablets from Standard Process Labs along with a tablespoon of raw flax oil daily.

 

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