Monday, September 18, 2006

Vitamin C

Ever since I came to know about the beneficial effects of vitamin C as advocated by Linus Pauling, I have tried to include this vitamin in my diet. Linus Pauling was a very rare scientist who won the prestigious Nobel Prize twice, the first one (in Chemistry in 1954) for his work on the nature of chemical bonds and the second one (for peace in 1962) for his efforts to stem nuclear weapons proliferation.
I believe that a scientist of his caliber should be correct. My trust in his findings had the additional support from ayurveda, the ancient system of medicine that has been popular in India from time immemorial. In ashtangahridaya, one of the authoritative books on ayurveda, there is a chapter on rasayanas (tonics) which discusses the preparation of chyavanaprasha (chyavanprash), the famous tonic that restored the health of Chyavana Maharshi. (This preparation is very popular in India even today. In fact, its popularity is so great that you can find many companies in India manufacturing and marketing this tonic on gigantic scale). A very significant ingredient in chyavanaprasha is gooseberry which is rich in vitamin C.
Ayurveda requires that one should consume a suitable rasayana for physical and mental health. Interestingly, the converse also is true according to ayurveda: A person who has good physical and mental health might be taking some suitable rasayana!
My personal experience is that a 500mg vitamin C tablet per day in the chewable form is good for preventing the common cold and such viral diseases when the likelihood of catching such diseases is suspected. When you consume such a tablet, you will be getting a total quantity of more than 500mg since your food items will contain additional quantity of vitamin C. Since vitamin C is ascorbic acid, I never take the tablet in an empty stomach and I consume a lot of water. You can get more interesting information on vitamin C here.

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