Bruising a sign of vitamin C deficiency

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Ever wonder why you don’t have to feed your dog salad or fruit?

The truth is that most animals don’t need it because their bodies produce their own vitamin C. Unfortunately, as humans we do not internally produce this vitamin so vitally important to our health.

So, how can we tell if we are deficient in this nutrient?

Science tells us that our bodies are composed of about 50 trillion cells. These cells are held together by a type of glue called collagen.

Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling as well as biochemist Roger J. Williams, whom I often quote, have written much about the importance of Vitamin C in the production of collagen.

This includes body cells as well as the cells of our blood vessels, which are also held together by the substance. If the connective tissue of these vessels are not able to hold together, they pull apart and allow blood to ooze out, causing the visible reddish-purple “bruise.”

Bruising can be expected if we suffer injuries from an accident or a heavy blow. But if we find these tiny hemorrhages under our skin for no apparent reason and can’t even remember what caused them, we are dealing with a more serious problem.

For example, brushing against the corner of a table should not really fracture blood vessels. If it does this outward sign is telling us that something very important may be happening throughout our entire body.

If a person has high blood pressure it means that the pressure within the arteries is higher than it should be. If that person is also deficient in the collagen strengthening nutrients, the arterial walls will be weak. Increased pressure within those vessels could cause the blood vessel to leak or burst. If that happens in the capillaries under the skin it would cause the reddish-purple blotches.

But if a blood vessel bursts in the brain, this would be a type of stroke, creating a pocket of blood within the brain with all its harmful ramifications.

Although vitamin C has long been recognized to be important in the production of collagen, studies show it is not the only factor involved.

Recent new information has shown other synergistic factors are equally involved, the most important of which are called “proanthocyanidins.” Foods that contain these factors are onions, legumes, red grapes, parsley and blueberries. But the most abundant source is found in grape seeds, and can be bought as grape seed extract from health food stores.

Being able to recognize visible signs of vitamin C deficiency before serious conditions develop can be lifesaving. Depending upon the number and size of hemorrhagic blotches, they can give us a good indication of the presence and severity of our vitamin C/proanthocyanidin deficiencies.

For example, scurvy (a most serious vitamin C deficiency) produces large and profuse blotches. Photos of such “bruising” can be seen on my web site at drftrapani.com in the section “Let’s Talk Health.”

In my next column on visible signs of nutrient deficiencies we’ll examine calcium and vitamin E.

Retired chiropractic doctor Francis Trapani’s background includes 41 years of practice plus doing investigative reporting and fitness programs for broadcast media in Hawaii. He has written three books and is working on a yoga self-help manual “The Doctor Prescribes Yoga.” For more information, go to drftrapani.com.

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