All about fruitarianism with a long-term fruitarian, Lena

In animals, a tumor develops when a cell (or group of cells) loses the built-in controls that regulate its growth, often as a result of mutations. Plants can experience the same phenomenon, along with cancerous masses, but it tends to be brought on via infection. Fungi, bacteria, viruses, and insect infestation have all been tied to plant cancers. Oak trees, for example, often grow tumors that double as homes for larvae.

The good news for plants is that even though they’re susceptible to cancer, they’re less vulnerable to its effects. For one thing, a vegetable tumor won’t metastasize. That’s because plant cells are typically locked in place by a matrix of rigid cell walls, so they can’t migrate. Even when a plant cell begins dividing uncontrollably, the tumor it creates remains stuck in one place usually with minor effects on the plant’s health—like a burl in a redwood tree.

Plants also have the benefit of lacking any vital organs.

Elliot Meyerowitz, a plant geneticist at the California Institute of Technology:

“It’s bad to get a brain tumor if you’re a human, but there’s nothing that you can name that’s bad to get a tumor in if you’re a plant. Because whatever it is, you can make another.”

Albert Schweitzer

A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help. 

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.

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