Vitamin C The Essential Acid

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is essential for the nervous system, and is concentrated a hundred times more in the cerebrospinal fluid compared to other body fluids. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant.

In earlier times, sailors on long voyages deprived of citrus fruits (vitamin C) developed scurvy, a condition causing decay of skin and teeth.

Older people who stop eating vitamin C-rich citrus fruits and vegetables may develop memory loss and mild confusion.

At the opposite end of the age spectrum, students taking high doses of vitamin C tend to score slightly better on IQ tests.

Despite Linus Pauling's exhortation to swallow huge amounts of vitamin C to treat the common cold and other illnesses, clinical research in people with memory loss has been sparse. But given that it has antioxidant properties comparable to vitamin E, a promemory effect is more than likely.

Taking High Doses of Vitamin C Has Limitations

Vitamin C is found in most fruits and a few vegetables. I suggest a daily glass or two of orange or grapefruit juice, but if you want to be more aggressive you can add 1 to 5 grams of vitamin C tablets daily. Other than a possible increase in stomach acidity, you should not have any side effects. This is because as soon as the water-soluble vitamin C reaches high blood levels, the kidneys expel the excess into the urine. Effective therapy requires staying one step ahead of this mechanism, which means that unless you take high doses continuously, vitamin C therapy won't do you much good against memory loss. Another limitation is that vitamin C does not enter brain tissue easily. To cross cell membranes in the brain, fat-soluble forms of vitamin C like ascorbyl palmitate and ester C have been developed, but these medications have many side effects, and you should not take them on a daily basis.

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