Alternatives & Traditional

Posts tagged ‘copper’

The Benefits of Stomach Acid

Stomach acid is present to:

1. Help protect the body from pathogens that would otherwise enter through the digestive system.  Many pathogenic bacteria, such as E.  coli and H. pylori THRIVE in an alkaline environment.  This is why E. coli lives in the alkaline environment of the intestines and H.  pylori secretes ammonia to neutralize stomach acid to protect itself.  Reducing stomach acid just makes it that much easier for these pathogens to set up shop in the body where they DO NOT belong. 

 2. To allow for the absorption of minerals as non-chelated minerals are reacted with the acid to convert them in to absorbable salts.  

3. Reduction of acid reflux, which results from the lack of stomach acid.  A lack of stomach acid leads to fermentation by yeast overgrowth in the stomach and by fermentation of foods not being digested properly.  The resultant gas formation builds up in the stomach and is eventually rapidly released up the esophagus carrying traces of acid with it.  

4. To allow for the proper digestion of proteins.  The digestive enzyme pepsin cannot work without sufficient levels of hydrochloric acid (stomach acid).  When  proteins are not broken down properly the intact proteins can enter the bloodstream forming antigens.  This in turn can lead to serious and even life threatening allergic reactions.

 5. Absorption of vitamins.  The B vitamins B6, B12 and folate in particular are dependent on sufficient stomach acid for absorption.  Stomach acid levels decline though with age naturally.  This is why deficiencies of B6, B12 and folate are so common in the elderly.  

6. Conversion of silica to orthosilicic acid for use by the body.  Silica is essential for the formation of collagen, elastin, and chondroitin.  Without sufficient silica we develop numerous conditions including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, heart disease, emphysema, diverticulitis, etc.  Even wrinkles and cellulite can result from a loss of silica leading to a reduction of the structural proteins collagen and elastin.  In order for silica to be absorbed and utilized it must first be converted in to orthosilicic acid.  This occurs from a reaction between silica and water, but the process is greatly enhanced by the presence of an acid.  The primary acid for this conversion is stomach acid. 

As I mentioned before stomach acid DECLINES with age.  This leads to a drop in the conversion of silica in to orthosilicic acid, and therefore a loss of collagen, elastin, and chondroitin production as we age.  Now go back and look at the symptoms that develop from the loss of these structural proteins.  Notice how these are not seen in younger people but are common in the elderly?  So why do we see this in the elderly?  Because the lack of stomach acid interferes with the absorption of nutrients needed for the production of structural proteins.  These nutrients include silica, zinc, copper and amino acids. 

As we can see if you want to speed up the production of “age-related disorders” a simple way is to do this is to neutralize your stomach acid.

It should be noted that most of the nutrients needed to form stomach acid are acid dependant for absorption.  Therefore the lack of stomach acid leads to further declines in stomach acid, leading to less absorption of stomach acid forming nutrients, leading to less stomach acid formation………   It is a vicious cycle downhill once started.  Therefore I recommend avoiding antacids, acid blockers also known as proton pump inhibitors, alkaline waters, calcium carbonate (coral, oyster shell, dolomite), calcium oxide/hydroxide (lime) and magnesium oxide/hydroxide.

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Safety of Megadosing Vitamin C Part 4

Copper, which is displaced by excess vitamin C is essential for the formation of hemoglobin that carries oxygen to the tissues, and removes carbon dioxide.  Iron is also essential for the formation of hemoglobin, although iron absorption is increased by vitamin C.  This all brings up an interesting problem.  If iron levels are increased by improved absorption from vitamin C but hemoglobin cannot be formed due to lack of copper, what happens to all the iron being absorbed?
As with copper and vitamin C, iron is essential for the body and serves various purposes.  Although, as with copper and vitamin C excess levels of iron can be dangerous.  And since the body has no efficient way of ridding itself of excess iron iron levels may easily build up to toxic levels.

As iron accumulates in the body it is primarily stored in organs and glands where it can lead to organ failure and glandular damage.  The heart, liver and pancreas are at the greatest risk of damage and failure from iron overload.

Side effects of iron overload include heart disorders, diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism, parathyroid damage resulting in low blood calcium, pituitary gland dysfunction, atrophy of the testes and ovaries, nervous system damage and disorders, arthritic disorders, graying or bronzing of the skin and decreased energy levels.  Numerous microbes and protozoa thrive with high iron levels.  These include Candida, Listeria, Chlamydia, Salmonella, Plasmodium, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Cryptococcus, Campylobacter, Pseudomonas, Helicobacter pylori Escherichia coli and numerous others.

Iron overload is also known to increase the risk of various cancers including liver cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma, breast cancer, melanoma and colon cancer.  The increased risk of cancer is probably due to the increased activity of cancer pathogens.  For example, human papilloma virus (HPV) has been linked to several cancers including breast cancer, prostate cancer and skin cancer.  Human herpes virus type 8 has been linked to the viral form of Kaposi’s sarcoma.  Liver cancer has been linked to hepatitis viruses and aflatoxins from the fungus Aspergillus niger.

Arthritis may occur from iron overload due to two factors.  Oxidative destruction can lead to joint damage.  In addition, certain forms of arthritis are triggered from pathogens.  For example, rheumatoid arthritis has been linked to an infection with a form of Chlamydia bacteria.

Heart disease due to iron overload is generally believed to result from oxidative damage to the arterial lining, and to the heart muscle itself.  There may be a secondary factor though.  Scientists have found a link between Chlamydia bacteria and arteriosclerosis, which may lead to arrhythmias, angina and heart attack.

Excess levels of iron have also been found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.  As with the excessive aluminum levels found in the brains of Alzheimer’s  excessive iron levels have not been proven to be a cause of Alzheimer’s.  Although, it is hypothesized that the excessive level of iron may be causing oxidative damage to the brain leading to Alzheimer’s disease.

Vitamin C Interactions

Pharmaceutical drugs often react with foods and supplements, including vitamin C.  And as we have seen, excessive vitamin C intake can interact with some nutritional compounds.  Sometimes these interactions are beneficial such as increasing the absorption of minerals.  And sometimes it leads to problems such as iron overload or copper and B12 deficiencies.
Another problem that is often overlooked is the interference of laboratory tests by excessive intake of vitamin C.  For example, excessive vitamin C intake may lead to false high or low bilirubin levels depending on the assay test being used.  Lactate dehydrogenase, cholesterol and triglyceride levels will read erroneously low.  Aspartate aminotransferase levels may read erroneously high.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) reported on a case in which a woman with unexplained anemia was taking 2,000mg of vitamin C daily.  When tested for occult blood in the stool repeated tests showed negative results.  The woman discontinued taking the vitamin C for 4 days, and when retested stool samples tested positive for blood.  It was also found that taking 750mg of vitamin C daily can interfere with detecting blood in stool and urine.

Vitamin C interferes with several glucose tests, including tests diabetics use at home.  Urinary glucose test strips will test false positive with as little as 2,000mg of vitamin C daily.  Home test strips can show normal blood glucose readings even when glucose levels are elevated or with as little as 2g of vitamin C daily.  Laboratory glucose tests may show erroneously low glucose levels with excessive vitamin C intake.

To decrease the risk of false laboratory readings it is recommended that all supplements be stopped at least 48 hours before having any lab work done.

Below is a link from the NIH and a portion of the article that discusses the interactions of vitamin C with drugs and supplements, and interference with laboratory tests.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-vitaminc.html

Interactions with Drugs

Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Vitamin C may increase adverse effects associated with acetaminophen.

Antacids: Vitamin C may increase adverse effects associated with aluminum-containing antacids such as aluminum hydroxide (Maalox, Gaviscon).

Aspirin: Vitamin C may increase blood levels and adverse effects of aspirin, whereas aspirin may decrease blood levels of vitamin C.

Barbiturates: The effects of vitamin C may be decreased by barbiturates including phenobarbital (Luminal, Donnatal), pentobarbital (Nembutal), or secobarbital (Seconal).

Fluphenazine (Permitil, Prolixin): Vitamin C supplementation may decrease levels of the drug fluphenazine in the body.

HIV medications (protease inhibitors): Concomitant administration of high doses of vitamin C can reduce steady-state indinavir plasma concentrations.

Levodopa (Dopar, Larodopa): There is limited case report evidence that high dose vitamin C may reduce side effects of levodopa therapy such as nausea or malcoordination.

Nicotine: Nicotine products such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, or nicotine patches may decrease the effects of vitamin C.

Oral contraceptives/estrogens: Oral estrogens may decrease the effects of vitamin C in the body. When taken together, vitamin C may increase blood levels of ethinyl estradiol.

Tetracyclines: The effects of vitamin C may be decreased by tetracycline antibiotics such as doxycycline (Vibramycin), minocycline (Minocin), or tetracycline (Sumycin).

Warfarin (Coumadin): Vitamin C in high doses appears to interfere with the blood thinning effects of Warfarin by lowering prothrombin time (PT) as noted in case reports in the 1970s.  Complications have not been reported (such as increased blood clots).

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Iron: When taken together, vitamin C may increase the absorption of iron in the gastrointestinal tract, although this effect appears to be variable and may not be clinically significant.

Lutein: Vitamin C may increase absorption of lutein vitamin supplements.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin, cyanocobalamin): Large doses of vitamin C may interfere with the absorption and metabolism of vitamin B12.

Interactions with Laboratory Tests

Bilirubin: Vitamin C supplements may cause false increases in tests of blood bilirubin levels.

Carbamazepine levels: Vitamin C supplements may cause false increases in blood carbamazepine levels.

Creatinine: Vitamin C supplements may cause false increases in blood creatinine levels.

Glucose: Vitamin C supplements may interfere with the accuracy of blood glucose tests.

LDH (lactose dehydrogenase): Vitamin C may cause a false decrease in blood LDH levels.

Prothrombin time (PT): Vitamin C in high doses appears to interfere with the blood thinning effects of warfarin by lowering prothrombin time (PT), as noted in case reports in the 1970s. Complications have not been reported (such as increased blood clots).

SGOT (glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase): Vitamin C supplements may cause false increases in blood SGOT levels.

Stool occult blood (guaiac): Vitamin C supplements can cause false-negative stool occult blood tests, within 48-72 hours after vitamin C ingestion.

Theophylline levels: Vitamin C supplements may cause false decreases in blood theophylline levels.

Uric acid levels: Vitamin C supplements may cause false increases in blood uric acid levels.

Urinary acetaminophen (Tylenol): Vitamin C supplements can cause false-negative urine acetaminophen tests.

Urinary glucose: Vitamin C supplements can cause false-positive urinary glucose results with the cupric sulfate reagent test and false-negative urinary glucose results with the glucose oxidase test, within 48-72 hours after vitamin C ingestion.

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