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Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is a vital vitamin. Unfortunately, unlike many animals, the human body cannot produce this vitamin itself and is therefore dependent on external supply. This happens primarily through nutrition. However, if this is not enough, vitamin C can be taken in the form of tablets or powder. However, the body is only able to process and store a small amount of the vitamin supplied. If larger amounts are required, a vitamin C infusion is the appropriate agent of choice.
Vitamin C and its functions
Vitamin C has many functions in the human body. This is what is needed in the production of collagen, which is an important component of bones, skin, tendons, cartilage, blood vessels and teeth. Vitamin C is a radical scavenger, regulates fat metabolism, supports the absorption of iron from food and is necessary for the detoxification reactions in the liver. Vitamin C is important for the defense against viruses and bacteria, stimulates the proliferation of T-lymphocytes, is highly concentrated in the white blood cells (leukocytes) and is therefore essential for a well-functioning immune system.
Vitamin C is also used for the metabolism in the brain and the production of the necessary messenger substances there. A lack of this vitamin can cause damage in the blood vessels and increase the arteriosclerotic deposits. In addition, vitamin C promotes the conversion of cholesterol into bile acids, which means that an excessive cholesterol level in the blood can be reduced.
Vitamin C is most abundant in fresh fruits and vegetables. Examples include black currants, citrus fruits, pineapples, peppers, fennel, broccoli, sauerkraut, tomatoes and potatoes. However, it is quite uncertain how much vitamin C the food really contains and how much of it can actually be ingested. In addition, this vitamin is quite sensitive to heat. Therefore, the food should either be eaten raw or, if this is not possible, cooked gently. Long transport routes, long storage and incorrect preparation can reduce the amount of vitamin C or even destroy it completely.
Deficiency symptoms include fatigue, tiredness, recurring infections, angular cheilitis, wound healing disorders, bleeding gums and decreased performance. Fortunately, a disease that only occurs very rarely today and only occurs in extreme cases is scurvy. This disease has become known to seafarers, triggered by the one-sided diet that has led to this avitaminosis during long voyages. Foods containing vitamin C were missing on the trips.
Scurvy showed the following symptoms: mouth rot with bleeding gums or tooth loss, poor wound healing, exhaustion, joint inflammation, muscle wasting, dizziness and high fever, and even death. Later, to counter scurvy, famous seafarers such as Christopher Columbus and James Cook took sauerkraut barrels on board so that they could give the crew a dose of vitamin C every day.
Increased vitamin C requirement
An increased vitamin C requirement occurs in inflammatory rheumatic diseases, infectious diseases, allergies, after operations, with stress, with poor circulation, with severe injuries, in connection with chemotherapy and / or radiation therapy, with smokers and with alcoholism.
Vitamin C orally
The oral intake of vitamin C is limited. Vitamin C is absorbed by the intestine and it can only keep a small amount - the rest is simply excreted. Too much of it causes indigestion and leads to gas formation and diarrhea. Chewable tablets that contain vitamin C can, if consumed in excess, also attack the tooth enamel.
If the body needs a large amount of this vitamin, a vitamin C infusion is the right choice. After such an application, the organism is well filled with the vitamin and can be supplied in times of increased need.
Past the gastrointestinal tract
Anyone who talks about vitamin C therapy will certainly think of the two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling (1901 - 1994). He devoted himself extensively to high-dose vitamin C therapy, which is only possible in the form of an infusion. Pauling assumed that a large amount of vitamin C could prevent serious illnesses.
The benefits of vitamin C infusion have been the subject of intensive research since the 1990s. The basis for this is the knowledge that in many diseases the vitamin C requirement increases and this cannot be replenished by oral intake. In addition, the intestinal mucous membranes are affected in many cases due to the underlying disease and therefore an oral vitamin dose cannot be absorbed by the intestine. An injection or an infusion, on the other hand, bypasses the gastrointestinal tract and the vitamin C ends up where it should.
Indication for a vitamin C infusion
There are a number of indications for a vitamin C infusion. These include susceptibility to infections, allergies, exhaustion, listlessness, viral and bacterial infections, fungi in the digestive tract, wound healing disorders, rheumatic diseases, increased blood lipid levels, circulatory disorders in the brain, cancer follow-up and accompanying therapy for chemotherapy and / or radiation therapy, and strengthening the immune system, for example, before Operation, for convalescence,
A vitamin C infusion is carried out when the body is deficient in vitamin C and this cannot be covered by oral intake. This is a simple and optimal way to quickly get a high dose of vitamin C to the organism. The suitable ascorbic acid preparation must be used for infusion in a carrier solution - usually 0.9% saline, also called isotonic saline, is used. Such an infusion lasts approximately twenty to thirty minutes.
Depending on the indication, the vitamin C infusion is carried out two to three times a week. After the infusion, you should always drink enough water or tea to counteract the formation of kidney stones.
Vitamin C infusion for cancer
Many cancer patients suffer from a vitamin C deficiency that they are often not even aware of. The conventional medical treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy consume a large amount of vitamin C. Most of the time, the mucous membranes of cancer patients are also affected. Therefore, the intestinal mucosa cannot take in the orally added vitamin. This is how vitamin C infusion is carried out in biological cancer defense.
Researchers have been studying the effects of vitamin C on cancer cells for years. There are studies here that also support the use of vitamin C in the form of infusions for tumor defense as a treatment. But vitamin C infusion has also become a frequently used means of aftercare, especially for weakened patients.
In very rare cases, a vitamin C infusion can lead to a hypersensitivity reaction. Symptoms such as dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath are possible. Patients with impaired kidney function should not be given a vitamin C infusion, as kidney and urinary stones can form and, in the worst case, kidney failure can occur. However, these infusions are usually well tolerated - side effects are very rare. (sw)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Alpha A. Fowler, Jonathon D. Truwit, R. Duncan Hite, et al .: Effect of Vitamin C Infusion on Organ Failure and Biomarkers of Inflammation and Vascular Injury in Patients With Sepsis and Severe Acute Respiratory Failure The CITRIS-ALI Randomized Clinical Trial; in: JAMA, Volume 322, Issue 13, 2019, jamanetwork.com
- Virginia Commonwealth University: New study links vitamin C therapy to better survival rates after sepsis (published 10/01/2019), news.vcu.edu
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