Vitamin C

Excerpt from Healthy Diet and Nutrition for Women

Vitamin C reduces capillary fragility and can help control or reduce heavy menstrual flow in susceptible women, particularly in teenage girls and in women who are transitioning into menopause. Vitamin C helps to strengthen and fortify blood vessels, thereby reducing heavy menstrual bleeding, particularly when taken with bioflavonoids. According to a study from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women who received 600 mg each of both vitamin C and bioflavonoids daily, in divided dosages, for two months experienced less blood loss, as compared to those taking a placebo.

Similarly, a study from Fertility and Sterility found that vitamin C improved hormone levels and increased fertility in women with luteal phase defect. As I indicated earlier, your menstrual cycle has two phases. The first is the follicular phase, which begins on day one of your period and ends at ovulation. The second luteal phase starts with ovulation and ends on the first day of your period. Estrogen levels rise during the follicular phase, while progesterone levels increase in the luteal phase.

Several factors can prevent adequate progesterone production in the luteal phase, including oxidative stress. That’s where vitamin C comes in. A recent study found that women who received 750 mg of vitamin C every day for three months enjoyed increased progesterone levels. Interestingly, those women who did not receive vitamin C not only had lower levels of progesterone, but also showed increased levels of estrogen. One reason for this is that vitamin C is necessary to convert essential fatty acids into prostaglandins. Remember, progesterone can only be produced in the ovary during the second half of your menstrual cycle, after ovulation has occurred.

Vitamin C also helps to prevent cervical cancer. Cervical cancer occurs more frequently in vitamin C-deficient individuals. Taking supplemental vitamin C is very important in preventing this condition, along with beta carotene and folic acid, in women who have abnormal pap smears with cervical dysplasia. Research studies have shown that supplemental vitamin C, taken with these other nutrients, can help to reverse cervical dysplasia.

Vitamin C also provides important protection against cancer and heart disease, which becomes a significant health issue in women after menopause.  In fact, vitamin C helps protect the cardiovascular system by preventing oxidation of the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL cholesterol). This is an early event leading to the development of atherosclerosis. Vitamin C reduces capillary fragility and can help control or reduce heavy menstrual flow in susceptible women, particularly in teenage girls and in women who are transitioning into menopause.

Vitamin C also has important anti-stress and immune stimulant properties. It is needed by the adrenals for the production of adrenal cortical hormones. Women who are deficient in vitamin C due to low dietary intake or insufficient supplementation tend to handle stress less effectively, resulting in anxiety, nervous tension, and even chronic fatigue. Adequate vitamin C intake helps us to fight off a wide range of viral and bacterial infections. Vitamin C is also needed for collagen production, which maintains the structural integrity of the skin. The best fruit sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and lemons, and other fruits such as melons, strawberries, and other berries.

I suggest taking 1,000-4,000 mg of mineral-buffered vitamin C per day, in divided doses to prevent diarrhea. Also increase your consumption of vitamin C-rich foods, including citrus fruits, strawberries, peaches, broccoli, tomatoes, and spinach.

For more information about Vitamin C or other vitamins see Healthy Diet and Nutrition for Women available on AmazonAmazon Kindle and Womens Wellness Publishing.

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