Vitamin C and Sugar – Who Knew?

Human cells have receptors on their membrane surface which allows certain compounds to cross over into the cell. These receptors are very specific in regards to the type of binding molecule (ligand) they will bind with. Sugar and Vitamin C have a similar structure and therefore enter cells using the same receptor – the Glut-1 receptor. Insulin (the ligand) moves both glucose and ascorbic acid into cells, including phagocytic immune cells. These cells remove microbes, tumor cells and debris from the blood.

Almost all animals have the ability to manufacture vitamin C within their bodies and have no need to consume it from external sources, with the exceptions being guinea pigs, primates, and humans. The vitamin C is manufactured from glucose, and because of this, the Glut-1 receptor prefers glucose and will choose sugar over Vitamin C when it has the option to. As such, Glucose and ascorbic acid are in constant competition for insulin the insulin that is available. This means (for those of you playing along at home) that the more sugar you are consuming, the less vitamin C you are absorbing.

But wait, there’s more. As hinted at above, phagocytic immune cells can destroy pathogens. They do this by creating superoxide and other reactive oxygen species through a series of chemical reactions known as the HMP shunt. Ascorbic acid stimulates this process and glucose inhibits it, making it harder to fight diseases and viruses. Ascorbic acid has the ability to deactivate this if too much is in the system. The HMP shunt also produces ribose and deoxyribose which are necessary to for making DNA and RNA.


Have a Great Day!


Limiting My Sugar Intake

Sugar has once again popped up on my radar.  Not because I have started consuming more of it, but as I have read various articles I keep coming across links to sugar and its problems.  I mean, everyone knows it isn’t good for you, and everyone knows to try and limit it; I definitely do since I have juvenile diabetes.  I very rarely eat cookies, cakes, donuts and the like – and I mean very rarely, but I refuse to be afraid of some sweetness added to my coffee or the (not so ?) occasional treat like some ice cream or a mini candy bar.  I do avoid HFCS whenever possible, and try to use honey or perhaps raw sugar when I do sweeten something.

I’m not going to go into the ills of sugar right now, but what does it mean to limit it?  I have come across a book I think I am going to order – my oldest wants to read it as well – called Year of No Sugar by Eve O. Schaub.  On her blog she talks about just how insidious sugar actually is.  It’s in everything.  But shelving that for a moment, let’s get back to the point: limiting sugar.

“Nancy Appleton’s extensive research on sugar led her to uncover the fact that, for healthy individuals, the threshold of added sugar is two teaspoons at one time, no more than two to three times a day, totaling two tablespoons altogether.31”    –

If you continue reading the article in the link you will find that white flour function similarly to sugar, but since I have illuminated bread and pasta from my diet, as well as most starches (that I am aware of) I don’t have to factor that in to my equation.  So here is My goal: to limit my sugar intake to no more than 2 tsp, 2 times per day.  Shouldn’t be that hard right?  I mean, I pretty much only add it to my coffee.  There is the issue of the apple juice I love to mix with tequila or rum however… And what about fruit?

Well the article above goes on to state that “Whole foods contain a cornucopia of vitamins, minerals, fiber, fat and other co-factors that mitigate the dangers of the residing sugars. Body chemistry is not as affected as with more concentrated and isolated sugar sources. Moreover, once a person’s body chemistry is stabilized, these more subtly sweet, whole foods will often be enough to satisfy sweet cravings.”  … “If you like fruit, the less-sugary choices of berries, cherries, and apricots are best.”

So there you have it, 2tsp 2-3 times per day of honey, maple sugar, or raw sugar.  (I can safely say that most of my intake will be honey, as I prefer to use honey since it has other health benefits besides being a natural form of sweetener).