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Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., Dipl.Ac., LAc.
Vitamin C (with bioflavonoids)
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid or ascorbate) is a vital water soluble nutrient that our body needs, but is unable to synthesize on its own, and therefore, must be supplemented through dietary sources like fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin C plays an important role in the growth and repair of tissues, wound healing, in the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones and teeth, as well as, the production of neurotransmitters in the brain.[i] Another crucial function of ascorbic acid is its antioxidant capability, which protects cells and tissues from oxidative damage
Ironically, not only does smoking cause oxidative stress, it also greatly depletes vitamin C levels due to an accelerated metabolic turnover of ascorbate in smokers compared to non-smokers.[ii] Similar findings occurred in a Korean study also comparing smokers and non-smokers.[iii] According to a Berkeley study, 40% of male smokers have reduced Plasma levels of vitamin C.[iv] Other researches thought theses low – levels may have been the result of decreased dietary intake, because smokers tend to eat less fruits and vegetables; but after making adjustments for dietary intakes. They still found lower plasma levels of ascorbate in smokers than non-smokers.[v] [vi]
Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinol-10)
CoQ10 is an important lipid-soluble antioxidant involved in cellular functions, the production of cellular energy, and the scavenging of free radicals.[vii] Some studies suggest that there is a decline in CoQ10 after the age of 35-40. Besides aging, smoking can also deplete the body’s stores of CoQ10.[viii] It has been shown that smokers have substantially lower plasma levels of ubiquinol - 10, especially if there is co-morbidity with hyperlipidemia.[ix] More studies are accumulating evidence showing CoQ10 as an effective antioxidant therapy to counteract oxidative stress.[x] No serious side-effects have been reported from the daily supplementation of CoQ10.[xi]
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[i] K Akhilender Naidu. Vitamin C in human health and disease is still a mystery ? An overview. Nutr J. 2003 Aug 21;2:7.
[ii] Kallner AB, Hartmann D, Hornig DH. On the requirements of ascorbic acid in man: steady-state turnover and body pool in smokers. Am J Clin Nutr. 1981 Jul;34(7):1347-55.
[iii] Song SM, Park YS, Lee A, Cho YG, Kim DS, Lee HS, Choi SI, Lee KR. Concentrations of blood vitamin A, C, E, coenzyme Q10 and urine cotinine related to cigarette smoking exposure. Korean J Lab Med. 2009 Feb;29(1):10-6. doi: 10.3343/kjlm.2009.29.1.10.
[iv] Lykkesfeldt J, Christen S, Wallock LM, Chang HH, Jacob RA, Ames BN. Ascorbate is depleted by smoking and repleted by moderate supplementation: a study in male smokers and nonsmokers with matched dietary antioxidant intakes. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Feb;71(2):530-6.
[v] Lykkesfeldt J, Christen S, Wallock LM, Chang HH, Jacob RA, Ames BN. Ascorbate is depleted by smoking and repleted by moderate supplementation: a study in male smokers and nonsmokers with matched dietary antioxidant intakes. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2000; 71(2):530-6.
[vi] G Schectman, J C Byrd, and H W Gruchow. The influence of smoking on vitamin C status in adults. Am J Public Health. 1989 February; 79(2): 158–162.
[vii] Dr. L. Ernster, P. Forsmark-Andrée. Ubiquinol: an endogenous antioxidant in aerobic organisms. The clinical investigator. August 1993, Volume 71, Issue 8 Supplement, pp S60-S65
[viii] Supplements, MedlinePlus. "Coenzyme Q-10: MedlinePlus Supplements." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2014. Web. 27 Mar. 2015.
[ix] Kontush A, Reich A, Baum K, Spranger T, Finckh B, Kohlschütter A, Beisiegel U. Plasma ubiquinol-10 is decreased in patients with hyperlipidaemia. Atherosclerosis. 1997 Feb 28;129(1):119-26.
[x] Y H Noh, K-Y Kim, M S Shim, S-H Choi, S Choi, M H Ellisman, R N Weinreb, G A Perkins and W-K Ju. Inhibition of oxidative stress by coenzyme Q10 increases mitochondrial mass and improves bioenergetic function in optic nerve head astrocytes. Cell Death and Disease (2013) 4, e820; doi:10.1038/cddis.2013.341
Published online 3 October 2013.
[xi] Garrido-Maraver J, Cordero MD, Oropesa-Ávila M, Fernández Vega A, de la Mata M, Delgado Pavón A, de Miguel M, Pérez Calero C, Villanueva Paz M, Cotán D, Sánchez-Alcázar JA. Coenzyme q10 therapy. Mol Syndromol. 2014 Jul;5(3-4):187-97. doi: 10.1159/000360101.