All about fruitarianism with a long-term fruitarian, Lena

C

  • Vitamin C

    Vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid, or ascorbate, is an essential nutrient for humans, a water-soluble vitamin. Humans, unlike most animals, are unable to synthesize vitamin C, so it is an essential dietary component. 

    • Vitamin C is required for the biosynthesis of collagen (an essential component of connective tissue), L-carnitine, and certain neurotransmitters, it is also involved in protein metabolism.
    • Vitamin C is also an important physiological antioxidant and has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants within the body, including alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E). Vitamin C regenerates vitamin E by reducing vitamin E radicals formed when vitamin E scavenges the oxygen radicals. 
    • Vitamin C plays an important role in immune function and improves the absorption of nonheme iron, the form of iron present in plant-based foods.

    Approximately 70%–90% of vitamin C is absorbed at moderate intakes of 30–180 mg a day. At doses above 1 g a day, absorption falls to less than 50% and absorbed, unmetabolized ascorbic acid is excreted in the urine. 

    Insufficient vitamin C intake causes scurvy, which is characterized by fatigue or lassitude, connective tissue weakness, and capillary fragility.

    Cells accumulate vitamin C. The total body content of vitamin C ranges from 300 mg (at near scurvy) to about 2 g.

    • High levels of vitamin C are maintained in cells and tissues, and are highest in leukocytes (white blood cells), eyes, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, and brain.
    • Relatively low levels of vitamin C are found in extracellular fluids, such as plasma, red blood cells, and saliva.
  • Vitamin C in Muscles

    The study has shown that skeletal muscle is very sensitive to changes in vitamin C intake, and that the vitamin C content in muscle will fall if intake decreases below optimal levels. This is likely to affect muscle function. Muscle is the largest store of vitamin C in our bodies.

    Professor Margreet Vissers, from the Centre for Free Radical Research:

    Many people think that all fruit and vegetables are equally able to supply vitamin C, but this is not the case. The levels in food vary hugely across the spectrum. We should eat a good range daily, but because many fruit contain only one tenth of a healthy daily vitamin C requirement, we would recommend at least one serve per day of a high-value food like kiwifruit. This will help you easily reach an optimal vitamin C intake, as well as delivering other vital nutrients.

    There is, however, considerable debate regarding the beneficial health effects of vitamin C supplementation. The administration of vitamin C may significantly hamper endurance capacity. Vitamin C supplementation decreases training efficiency because it prevents some cellular adaptations to exercise.

  • Vitamin C Benefits Debate

    Ascorbic acid is essential for collagen, carnitine and neurotransmitters biosynthesis. Most plants and animals synthesize ascorbic acid for their own requirement, butpes and humans can not synthesize it due to lack of an enzyme gulonolactone oxidase

    Though ascorbic acid was discovered in 17th century, the exact role of this vitamin in human biology and health is still a mystery in view of many beneficial claims and controversies.

    Many health benefits have been attributed to ascorbic acid such as antioxidant, anti-atherogenic, anti-carcinogenic, immunomodulator and prevents cold etc. However, lately the health benefits of ascorbic acid has been the subject of debate and controversies:

    • The relation between ascorbic acid and cancer is still a debatable.
    • There is compelling evidence for antioxidant protection of lipids by ascorbic acid both with and without iron co-supplementation.
    • Current evidences suggest that ascorbic acid protects against atherogenesis by inhibiting LDL oxidation.
    • The data on vitamin C and DNA damage are conflicting and inconsistent. 

  • Vitamin C Recommendation

    Based on available biochemical, clinical and epidemiological studies, the current US recommended daily allowance (RDA) for ascorbic acid ranges between 75 - 120 mg per dayto achieve cellular saturation and optimum risk reduction of heart diseases, stroke and cancer in healthy adults

    • Males - 90 mg a day,
    • Females - 75 mg a day,
    • Smokers- +35 mg a day (35 mg/day more)

    Freshfruits,vegetables and also synthetic tablets supplement the ascorbic acid requirement of the body. However, stress, smoking, infections and burns deplete the ascorbic acid reserves in the body and demands higher doses of ascorbic acid supplementation.

    Ascorbic acid and its derivatives are widely used as preservatives in food industry.

  • Vitamin C and Common Cold

    Clinical trails with varying doses of ascorbic acid showed that ascorbic acid does not have significant prophylactic effect, but reduced the severity and duration of symptoms of cold during the period of infection.

    Consumption of ascorbic acid as high as 1 g a day for several winter months, had no consistent beneficial effect on the incidence of common cold.

    There was a consistent beneficial but generally modest therapeutic effect on duration of cold symptoms

    In trials that tested vitamin C after cold symptoms occurred, there was some evidence of greater benefits with large dose than with lower doses.

  • All Known Essential Vitamins

    Vitamins are a group of substances that are needed for normal cell function, growth, and development. There are 13 essential vitamins:

    • Vitamin A (retinol, retinal, 4 carotenoids)
    • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
    • Vitamin D (D3 - Cholecalciferol, D2 - Ergocalciferol)
    • Vitamin E (tocopherols, tocotrienols)
    • Vitamin K (phylloquinone, menaquinones)
    • Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
    • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
    • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
    • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
    • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine)
    • Vitamin B7 (biotin)
    • Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
    • Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)

    Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body's fatty tissue: vitamins A, D, E, K

    Water-soluble vitamins - the body must use almost all water-soluble vitamins right away - vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and C.
    Vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the liver for many years.

John Stuart Mill

A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury.

Enterotypes and Microflora

An enterotype is a classification of living organisms based on its bacteriological ecosystem in the gut microbiome. Humans can be roughly divided into three enterotypes depending on which genus of bacteria dominates their gut: Bacteroides, Ruminococcus, or Prevotella. 

  • People who eat a lot of meat and saturated fat tended to have more Bacteroides in their flora
  • Ruminococcus prevailed in people who consumed lots of alcohol and polyunsaturated fats. 
  • Prevotella favored a diet rich in carbohydrates.

Long-term diet is strongly associated with the gut microbiome composition. If switching gut enterotype is possible, it may take a long-term dietary intervention. 

Chimpanzees have enterotypes that are compositionally analogous to those found in humans. 

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