Vitamin C: Heal or Kill?


Vitamin C (ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid) is an important nutrient, which helps our body form blood vessels, cartilage, muscles and collagen in bones. It is also vital to our body’s healing process. As an antioxidant, it enhances the immune system and significantly decreases the risk of a wide range of diseases, such as cancers and degenerative and chronic diseases.

People who get little or no vitamin C (below 10 mg per day) for many weeks can get scurvy. Scurvy causes fatigue, inflammation of the gums, small red or purple spots on the skin, joint pain, poor wound healing, and corkscrew hairs.


Vitamin C occurs naturally in some foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Heat and cooking in water can destroy some of the Vitamin C content in these foods; so, eating these foods raw is best. Some good sources of Vitamin C include:

A male above 19 years would require about 90 mg of Vitamin C daily, while a female above 19 years require 75 mg daily.


Vitamin C is promoted so much that many food companies add it to their products. It is found in soft drinks, snacks, cereals, and added to many health supplements. Some naturally-occurring Vitamin C is also added to canned or bottled juices. In some food products, Vitamin C is used as a preservative, and marketed to be “high in Vitamin C” for health reasons. Most people think that sounds brilliant for nutrition supplementation, but it can be potentially harmful with certain foods.

The reason is actually not a complicated equation. This is because a common preservative used in foods and beverages called Sodium Benzoate (SB) can be a hazardous concoction when mixed with Vitamin C. Sodium Benzoate, also called Benzoate of Soda or E211, can be found in juices, pickles, soft drinks, sauces, mustard, salad dressings, jams and other ingestible products.

According to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), SB, by itself, shows no evidence of causing any health problems in people. But when you mix it with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), a chemical reaction occurs and it creates ‘Benzene’, which is a proven carcinogen and is severely detrimental to health. The body does not produce Benzene on its own, but this common combination could result in cancer from regular ingesting of such carcinogen cocktail. It can mess up the entire system of the body.

In a study done by the FDA more than 10 years ago, it found that 54 out of 84 soft drinks tested contained Benzene. Some had levels 16 times higher than what is allowed in drinking water. And these allowances can be lenient, which means the allowable limit in your body is actually lower. So, even though the laws state that drinking water should have less than five PPB (parts per billion) of Benzene, there is no legal limit on Benzene in other drinks.

Food Science believes that SB is great due to its preservation benefits in drinks and food. It is antibacterial and anti-fungal and even helps fight different coli, such as Escherichia coli 0157:H7 (E. coli) found mostly in under-cooked food, contaminated ground beef, unpasteurised milk, contaminated water and vegetables. It is a bacterium which causes 73,000 reported food-borne illness cases and 60 deaths in the USA (1999). Therefore, it is highly promoted for use as a preservative. But, even by itself, it is not safe for human consumption.

Another study from the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) published in 2007 shows that SB (not the mixture, just Sodium Benzoate) is linked to hyperactive children and decreased intelligence in children. The study revealed an average of 5.5 points drop in IQ. Although there are other influences which may cause hyperactivity among children, this is a red flag.

Help Yourself First

Just like most of the articles I have written, we need to be aware of what we do, eat and drink, especially the dangers and hazards to our health, so that we make informed changes and choices for better health. It is important to check and read labels on soft drinks and processed foods, if you are going to consume such items. If any contains SB (Sodium Benzoate), do not buy it. If you have it, throw it out. As I have always advised, avoid processed foods altogether. There are too many dangers and no healthy reason for consuming them.

The only way to get rid of pain, numbness, tingling, discomfort is to go the natural way. There is no point visiting a doctor or chiropractor if one does not want to change your lifestyle, including what you consume. We need to understand the causes of health problems and avoid focusing on alleviating the symptoms only, if we want to get effective results and real changes to our health in the long term.


Your Trusted Chiropractor (Specialist in Zone Chiropractic) & Nutritionist 

Dr. Nicholas Lim, D.C., ANutr, B.Sc. (Hons)

[Dr. of Chiropractic and Nutritionist &

Honorary Secretary of Chiropractic Association of Singapore]

WhatsApp :+65 9352 8828

Telephone : +65 6970 8152

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