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Series Part 1: Vitamin C for Skin Health.

Series Part 1: Vitamin C for Skin Health.


This post is going to be long so buckle up. Let's dive into the world of Vitamin C.


While I don't want to go in depths behind the molecular science behind the utilisation and processes in the skin anatomy with respect to Vitamin C, it is crucial to superficially understand everything.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, that human body (and some other mammals) cannot produce by itself, unlike most other animals. Our body cannot make it's own Vitamin C because of the lack of L-gulonolactone oxidase enzyme, although it plays a crucial role in our existence. Vitamin C refers to ascorbic acid and dehydroascorbic acid as both help to treat scurvy, a classical condition caused by the deficiency of Vitamin C.
Some abstracted applications from this journal:
  1. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant capable of neutralizing oxidative stress through an electron donation/transfer process.
  2. Vitamin C favours the absorption of iron, calcium and folic acid, which prevents allergic reactions and a decrease in the intracellular content of Vit C can lead to immunosuppression. Therefore, Vit C supplementation is recommended during infection and stress.
  3. Vit C stimulates the formation of bile in the gallbladder and facilitates the excretion of steroid hormones.
  4. Vitamin C acts directly on collagen biosynthesis and is an enzymatic cofactor for lysyl and prolyl hydroxylases, key enzymes for the stabilization and cross-linking of type I and III collagen fibres. It also plays an important role in the intracellular signalling cascade that leads to fibroblast proliferation.
  5. Vitamin C could selectively kill cancer cells by inducing H2O2 production. However, this theory is still controversial in the scientific community.
  6. Vitamin C also appears to exert important brain functions that go well beyond its antioxidant activity. It acts as an enzymatic cofactor in the biosynthesis of collagen, carnitine, tyrosine and peptide hormones. It stimulates myelin production, maturation and differentiation of neurons. Studies show that Vitamin C deficiency is a common factor in the development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic sclerosis, as well as psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

All along my mother has been accurate. Clearly, vitamin c is essential.

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While researching I felt it's important to explore more in-depth about its antioxidant properties. This part will focus on oxidation as a process. If you understand what oxidation means, skip this part.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It has been hypothesised to reduce damage caused by ROS by diminishing the oxidative stress.
Oxidation is a chemical reaction caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS), commonly known as free radicals. ROS are produced as a consequence of endogenous (normal metabolic process) and exogenous (smoking, pollution, UV, stress, etc.) factors. Routinely our body is able to control this in a complex process using the antioxidants bank in our body that helps to manage the free radical damage. However, if there is a disproportion between free radicals and the antioxidants in the body, the body is under oxidative stress.
I found that this video explains the oxidation process and role of antioxidants at the molecular level in detail. I highly recommend you to check out this video to understand the process & it's implications.
Here are some medical articles that can help you understand more about oxidation:
  1. Antioxidant and Oxidative Stress: A Mutual Interplay in Age-Related Diseases
  2. Oxidative stress, ageing, and diseases
  3. Oxidative Stress: Harms and Benefits for Human Health
A few relevant excerpts from these articles:
Free radicals are generated from both endogenous and exogenous sources. Immune cell activation, inflammation, ischemia, infection, cancer, excessive exercise, mental stress, and aging are all responsible for endogenous free radical production. Exogenous free radical production can occur as a result from exposure to environmental pollutants, heavy metals (Cd, Hg, Pb, Fe, and As), certain drugs (cyclosporine, tacrolimus, gentamycin, and bleomycin), chemical solvents, cooking (smoked meat, used oil, and fat), cigarette smoke, alcohol, and radiations [1525]. When these exogenous compounds penetrate the body, they are degraded or metabolized, and free radicals are generated as by-products.
If in excess, free radicals and oxidants give rise to a phenomenon known as oxidative stress; this is a harmful process that can negatively affect several cellular structures, such as membranes, lipids, proteins, lipoproteins, and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) [1621]. Oxidative stress emerges when an imbalance exists between free radical formation and the capability of cells to clear them.
Oxidative stress plays a crucial role in the development of age-related diseases including arthritis, diabetes, dementia, cancer, atherosclerosis, vascular diseases, obesity, osteoporosis, and metabolic syndromes (Tan et al., 2015a; Liu et al., 2017).
Data from both animal and population-based studies have shown that a correlation between the process of aging and reducing ascorbate levels in tissues (Michels and Hagen, 2004; Dixit et al., 2015). The mechanisms that implicate the declining of age-related ascorbate are complex and involve multiple cell signaling pathways such as accelerated turnover, increased usage, reduced cellular uptake, and decreased absorption/reabsorption.
ROS upregulate transcription factor activator protein-1 (AP-1). AP-1 increases matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) production resulting in collagen breakdown. Nuclear transcription factor kappa B (NF-κB) is also induced by oxidative stress and produces a number of inflammatory mediators that contribute to skin aging. Additionally, ROS increase elastin mRNA levels in dermal fibroblasts which may provide an explanation for the elastotic changes found in the photoaged dermis.

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So in conclusion, Oxidation is a process linked to ageing. Excessive & prolonged oxidative stress can contribute to the development of various conditions & diseases including cancer and premature ageing.
There are two ways to mitigate oxidative stress:
  1. Better lifestyle choices - Regular & adequate sleep, regular exercise, stress-free environment, a health & balanced diet, protection from UV, less exposure to pollutants, etc.
  2. Adequate intake of antioxidants, one of which is Vitamin C.

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The skin broadly is made of two layers, the dermis and the epidermis. I discussed the epidermis a little in my post on exfoliation.
The epidermis is the outer layer, its main function is to provide a barrier from environmental factors, pollutants and pathogens, to protect the body structures beneath.
Beneath the epidermis, lies the dermis. The dermis is connected to blood vessels. The dermis supports connective tissues, specifically collagen and elastin, sweat glands, sebaceous glands, hair follicle, lymph vessels and nerve endings. Fat and muscle lie below the dermis. Dermis plays various roles & functions. With age, collagen and elastin fibres start to break and the layers of the skin start to thin out. This cause wrinkles to form.
This graphical representation can help you understand the above information better.
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Nutrition has been known to play a role in skin health. There are various manifestations of scurvy, some of which are skin ailments. This article supports the role of micro & macronutrients in the skin.
Here I have quoted findings of this study
Subjects: Twenty-seven healthy female volunteers were recruited from community bulletin board of Kyung Hee University from March to April, 2014. Inclusion criteria were non-smoker, no vitamin and mineral supplements, non-pregnancy, non-alcoholism, no known medical illness, and women aged 20–49 years.
Experiment: Total of 27 subjects were divided into 3 groups of which were the placebo group (n = 9), supplementation group of 100 mg/day vitamin C (n = 9), and supplementation group of 2,000 mg/day vitamin C (n = 9) and 24 subjects completed all the necessary requirements.
Result: The study showed plasma vitamin C levels were increased after 100 mg and 2,000 mg of vitamin C supplementation, and plasma vitamin C levels were not significantly different between groups after supplementation. These findings are consistent with other interventions in which supplementation of 30 to 2,500 mg increased plasma vitamin C concentration. Though vitamin C supplementation increased plasma vitamin C concentration, intake only within 30 and 100 mg/day may affected vitamin C availability to tissue. Doses above 500 mg/day resulted in little further increase in plasma vitamin C concentration and absorbed doses were almost entirely excreted in the urine.
Here is another study:
Subjects: Seven men ages 20-26 years were selected. Exclusion criteria were cigarette smoking, use of regular medications, history of kidney stones, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, diabetes mellitus, bleeding disorders, or family history of iron overload/hemochromatosis. Patients consumed a vitamin C-restricted diet throughout hospitalization, which contained <5 mg of vitamin C daily and utilized a computerized 14-day-cycle selective menu design. On admission patients began vitamin C depletion to reduce plasma vitamin C concentrations to 5-10 um without scurvy. Plasma vitamin C was measured every 1-4 days.
Experiment: For repletion, daily ascorbate doses were 30, 60, 100, 200, 400, 1000, and 2500 mg given sequentially (see below). Half of the dose was ingested twice daily to simulate vitamin C consumption in foods. Doses were given in the fasting state ( 1.5 h before meals or -2 h after meals and morning vitamin C prior to breakfast). Bioavailability was studied for the ingested dose (single doses of 15, 30, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1250 mg).
Result: This table summarises some findings. The plasma concentration of Vitamin C increased in all subjects with depleted vitamin C concentrations. Neutrophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes saturated at 100 mg daily and contained concentrations at least 14-fold higher than plasma. Bioavailability was complete for 200 mg of vitamin C as a single dose. No vitamin C was excreted in urine of six of seven volunteers until the 100-mg dose. At single doses of 500 mg and higher, bioavailability declined and the absorbed amount was excreted. Complete plasma saturation occurred at 1000 mg at the expense of decreased bioavailability and increased urinary excretion. Based on these data and the Institute of Medicine criteria, the current RDA of 60 mg daily should be increased to 200 mg daily, which can be obtained from fruits and vegetables. Safe doses of vitamin C are less than 1000 mg daily, and vitamin C daily doses above 400 mg have no evident value.
In conclusion: Supplementation of Vitamin C has been known to increase Vitamin C levels in the blood Plasma but not Vitamin C Concentration in humans that did not have a deficiency. While vitamin C concentration depends also depends on absorption and transmission mechanisms, supplementation of up to 200mg in a single dose can help individuals who have a deficiency of Vitamin C.
This simply means if you do not have a deficiency, gulping Celin 500mg will make your urine rich loaded with Vitamin C. Also means, small single dosage of 100-200mg from fruits and vegetables would be better than a single large dosage if you wish to elevate your vitamin c levels.
There is one study however that shows that combined oral intake of Vitamin E with Vitamin C helped to be effective against sunburns.
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Vitamin C based on this study report.
Male Female Pregnancy Lactation Smokers
9-13 years 45 45 - - -
14-19 years 75 65 80 115 +35
19+ 90 75 85 120 +35
Vitamin C content of some common fruits and veggies :
https://preview.redd.it/17czjncj8ar51.png?width=638&format=png&auto=webp&s=b1a136f11f5368d96a45261765bd0202a11490de
Coming back to the skin -
To my surprise, Vitamin C concentration in the skin is higher than the tissues of various other organs. Reference Table
Vitamin C is generally stored in the intracellular fluid (inside the cell) where it brought by the blood vessels. Since the blood vessels are well connected to the dermis, Vitamin c is transported to the dermis by the blood vessels. It is important to note that dermis is where collagen and elastin fibres are present. Also, surprisingly the Vitamin C concentrations are found to be much higher in the epidermis (not connected to the blood vessels but where UV damage first occurs). Thus, researchers believe that the skin stores more Vitamin C to protect itself from the rapid oxidative damage because of UV and other environmental factors in healthy individuals.

SO WHAT DID I LEARN FROM ALL OF THE ABOVE??


  • Vitamin C essential for good health AND GOOD SKIN.
  • Our body cannot produce its own Vitamin C.
  • Meeting daily RDA is sufficient to keep high concentrations of Vitamin C in the skin, for most individuals.
  • Veggies like bell peppers & broccoli and, fruits like papaya have more vitamin C than a lemon/amla.
  • Supplementation of Vitamin C is only beneficial if you have a preexisting deficiency.
  • Supplementation over 1g in a single dosage will only increase plasma levels but be excited in almost all the excess will be excreted in the urine.
  • It's better to get your daily dose from fruits and veggies.
  • Oxidative stress can be reduced by having a good lifestyle. Daily exercise, sound sleep, less stress, sun protection and a balanced diet actually play a MAJOR role in reducing oxidative damage. Thus, the best way to anti-age is to invest in self-care through mindfulness. (This is something we all know, but we do not consider it important enough. I need to work on myself. It's been mindblowing to read all the studies that point out these facts.)

I am breaking this journey in 2-3 parts. There is a lot of information. The next post will cover topical benefits and derivates.
Link to Part 2: All About TOPICAL VITAMIN C ---- L-AA & Derivatives
submitted by Aayu07 to IndianSkincareAddicts

Giants of the frozen wastelands, these vicious raiders rely on their power and might to overwhelm the small folk - Lore & History of the Frost Giant

You can read the post and see the Frost Giant across the editions on Dump Stat

Due to the length of this post, statblocks have been moved into a comment.
Massive, lumbering hulks with lore steeped in Norse mythology, the Frost Giant is a creature that has been around for quite a while. Giants were some of the first creatures in the Norse cosmos and were critical in the creation of the universe. Ymir was the first of the giants in Norse mythology, created from the ice of Niflheim and the fires of Muspelheim. Ymir was responsible for the creation of giants, supposedly they came from his armpits, which is one way of giving birth. Eventually, Ymir would be killed by Odin and his brothers. They then took Ymir's body and used different parts of it to create the Norse cosmos. Ymir's skull became the heavens, his flesh the earth, sweat and blood the oceans, and his eyebrows were forged into what people know as Midgard.
Frost Giants are an original monster in Dungeons & Dragons and can still be found in 5th edition. Let’s explore their past and see how they have been shaped throughout the editions.
 

OD&D

The Frost Giant can trace its roots back to even before* Dungeons & Dragons* began in 1974. In the game Chainmail (1971), Gary Gygax had created a set of rules to deal with miniatures combat for one-on-one fighting, as well as mass combat. It was incredibly popular and sold quite well for its time, about 100 copies a month, and eventually wound up in the hands of Dave Arneson. Arenson took the rules of Chainmail and then augmented them for his Blackmoor setting by creating character classes, level advancement, and more. Eventually, he would take these rules to Gygax who helped clean it up and then created an entirely new system for it, which is what we know as Dungeons & Dragons.
Now, why do we talk about Chainmail when we typically don’t go any further back than OD&D? Well, the Forst Giant first appears in the White Box - Book 2: Monsters & Treasures (1974), and the first bit of information about giants is that they operate the same as they did in Chainmail. Which is incredibly helpful to all those people who never owned Chainmail.
Without further ado, let’s get into the Frost Giant. These massive creatures, including all other giants, are considered to be light catapults, being able to throw rocks up to 20' ft. What separates a Frost Giant from the rest of giant-kin is that they are not affected by the cold and their attacks deal an additional +1 point of damage compared to lesser giants. When they are not wandering around the arctic tundra with up to 6,000 gold pieces in their pockets, the Frost Giant makes its home in a castle. Whether or not they built the castle or kicked out the previous occupants is not clarified, but finding a big enough castle to take over might be a little tricky in the snowy mountains.
An interesting fact about giants, in general, is that while a giant is in their lair, it comes with special perks. A Frost Giant has a 50% chance of having some rather large pets that also serve as guards in the castle walls. They might have a pet hydra, up to 36 wolves, or up to 18 bears with them. This is in addition to the fact that Frost Giants travel together in groups of up to 8, it can be rather difficult to take them down.
The last bit of information about Forst Giants comes in the last supplement for OD&D and is located in Book 7 - Gods, Demi-gods, & Heroes (1976). This book has a lot of information about the different gods and pantheons of not just fantasy-focused religion, but the pantheons of Chinese, Egyptian, Norse, and other mythologies. In it, there is a section for giants that talks about how they operate in Norse mythology. They are considered to be the most magically gifted beings, can polymorph themselves or objects, control the weather, create illusions, and even more. They are highly intelligent beings and some are said to be as beautiful as the gods themselves.
Lastly, the father of all Frost Giants is Hyrm, the King of the Frost Giants. Hyrm travels with up to 24 white dragons, served by 10 Frost Giants with 150 hit points, and can use up to 3rd-level spells and is focused on raw, physical might. In addition to Hyrm, there is also information about Heimdall and how he wields a blade that can kill a Frost Giant in a single hit, which seems really useful seeing as how Frost Giants aren’t allowed in Asgard and Heimdall protects Asgard from all manner of ill-creatures, including the Frost Giant.
 

Basic D&D

The Frost Giant appears in the Holmes Basic Set (1977), in the Moldvay Cook Expert Set (1981), and the BECMI Expert Set (1983). Yet, for their prominence in the game, there is very little in the way of information on these creatures. Described as gigantic pale-skinned humanoids, they have light yellow or light blue hair with long bushy beards. By gigantic, Frost Giants can stand as tall as 18 feet, which, if you are a 3-foot gnome, is quite intimidating. A giant's armor is not a natural one but comes via the massive iron armor they wear, covered by the fur of the arctic animals they hunt.
Offensively, Frost Giants can be quite powerful and can deal 4d6 points of damage, but they also have another devastating attack in their arsenal. Think you can stand back and fire your ranged weapons and spells? Think again. All a Frost Giant needs is a rock, and they can then chuck it at your head from up to 200 feet away. These rocks are quite dangerous for the party’s wizard, and in the Holmes Basic Set, a bit strange in how they function. A giant chucks their rock and then you roll two different d6s to determine how close the rock is to hitting their target. One d6 determines how far they overshot, the other determines how far they undershot the target. You then take whichever one rolled has the higher value, if they equal the same amount, the rock lands true. If they roll and the highest value on either of them is 1 or 2, the rock still hits the target. It’s a strange and kind of interesting way of doing it, and these rules are from the Chainmail game system. In the other editions, that is completely stripped away and the rock just goes where you tell it to go.
If you think getting a massive rock chucked at you is the worst part of your day, avoid entering a Frost Giant’s castle. They love their pets and may have either up to 18 polar bears or up to 36 wolves just hanging out and waiting to rip you limb from limb. Of course, the Frost Giant could always command their polar bears to charge you while the giant hangs out in the back chucking boulders with glee.
The Bestiary of Dragons and Giants (1977) has a short 3-page adventure called The Tip of the Iceberg. This adventure is not for the faint of heart, and it is recommended that you and your cohorts be at least 8th level before embarking on it. The Frost Giant Jarth was a big deal back in the day, and once ruled an entire glacier on a seaside cliff. Well, climate change is real, and when a massive snowstorm swept through, the glacier decided it wanted to see the world and took a plunge. While Jarth's mighty castle was not destroyed in the glacier to iceberg transformation, it did eventually melt, leaving poor Jarth and his Frost Giant brothers stranded on the drifting iceberg. Unfortunately for you and your party, you happened to be traveling by in a ship, which Jarth and his brothers would greatly appreciate if you gave to them… in exchange for their lovely iceberg, can’t beat that deal!
 

AD&D - Frost Giant

The Frost Giant is first introduced in the Monster Manual (1977) and there is a glaring and overwhelming nerf to it so complete that we can’t understand why the team at TSR would ever make it. The Frost Giant is listed at 15’ tall when we all know that they are 18’ tall, we can only imagine that this is a typo, but it stings. We can only assume that since every other giant, but the fire giant, gets shorter, that this is the work of the fire giant lobby trying to compensate for their short twelve-foot height.
Before we get too deep on the Frost Giant, let’s first look at giants in general. Not a huge amount of lore changes for the giants, they all carry up to 6,000 gold coins on them, they are extremely powerful, they speak their own language that everyone else thinks is unintelligible, and… they are insulted. The book explains that while giants are often stupid, they can also be cunning… which is a weird way of saying that they are tricky. You think you could have left out the bit about how stupid they are and simply state that they are clever.
Moving on to Frost Giants, their artwork for this edition is pretty good, especially compared to some of the other giants. You get a very strong nordic feel from the Forst Giant and they look quite imposing… unlike the cloud giant who appears to be trying to figure out what ‘acting casual’ means and ends up just looking creepy. Frost Giants have almost dead white skin with blue-white or yellow hair and similar-colored eyes. They appear as huge barbarians in Viking garb with furs, braided beards, and similar weapons to such warriors.
Once again, giants are called catapults as they can hurl rocks up to 200’ feet away, well most of them anyway. The Frost Giant can get up to 200’ feet, much like the hill or fire giant, while other giants like stone, cloud, or storm giants can get chuck rocks almost 300’ away. Giants can also catch similar missiles if they are thrown at the poor giants, though not all of them are great at it. Luckily for the Frost Giant, they can catch it 40% of the time… which pales in comparison to the stone giant’s 90% of the time.
You might be thinking that the Frost Giant isn’t that great compared to the others, but you’d be wrong. Frost Giants are immune to the cold, which includes the horrible hoarfrost of a white dragon’s breath weapon! Take that fire giant with your 50% likelihood to catch rocks and your… immunity to fire and a red dragon’s breath weapon. Like we said before, this is all part of the fire giant lobby to bring down the Frost Giant!
The rest of the information is pretty much the same as before, they like to live in castles, but now if the real estate market dries up, they can also be found in massive ice caves. They travel in groups of up to 8, if you encounter so many of them, up to 2 of them will be female Frost Giants, who are given some of the same statistics as a stone giant, and up to 2 children. This means you still have to face 4 male Frost Giants at full strength, which is probably a challenge to deal with, but something you are more than likely going to attempt. Why? Because they can each carry up to 6,000 gold pieces! That’s a lot of gold to go around and besides, the Frost Giants are probably going to attack you first so you are just defending yourself.
Not much happens for the Frost Giant until 1978 and the G series of adventures collectively known as Against the Giants. In the 2nd module, G2 - Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl the party must fight against the evil Jarl of the Frost Giants. The group must make their way through a series of ice-caverns and fight off yetis, ogres, winter wolves, and even a remorhaz! Once they fight their way through the top layer, they descend into the caverns that house the Frost Giants, including Jarl Grugnor, and face off against even ogre-magi emissaries who have gifts for the Jarl.
Throughout the adventure, the party will have to defeat Frost Giants, pet polar bears, and face off against the Jarl himself. They can also uncover secrets that a force is gathering up the armies of giants to take on the world, which is eventually revealed to be the work of the drow and the adventure continues into the D series adventure modules in the Descent into the Depths of the Earth (1978). One weird thing worth mentioning about G2 is that if the party explores the ice caverns, they can stumble across a prison where a female storm giant is being held. The Jarl is hoping to make her his lover, though she doesn’t seem to be swayed by his attempts… like chaining her up, having lots of food in front of her as he starves her, or just generally being an asshole.
Now, beyond the fact that a Frost Giant wants a storm giant lover as being weird, the main weird thing is that she is never given a name in the module. This isn’t the only time a woman has been captured, in chains, in a prison, as it happens again in G3 - Hall of the Fire Giant King where a nameless woman-thief is currently imprisoned. Now, it’s not weird to have unnamed NPCs in an adventure, but these individuals are expected to fight along with the party and can play important roles in the adventure, which makes it weird as they aren’t given names. Besides, a lot of minor male NPCs are given a name, like Boldo, the fire giant king's chief lieutenant who is imprisoned for failing at his tasks.
 

2e

The Frost Giant can be found in the 2nd edition Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989) and later reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993). While little changes for the Frost Giant, we are given a much greater expansion on their lore and habits. The first sentence talks about how stupid and crude they are… which, while we didn’t expect much, we are still disappointed. At least the next sentence talks about how crafty they are but still, can we stop with the name-calling?
They are very social creatures, residing in small to large groups throughout the tundra. They hunt the land for food, love to raid humanoid towns and villages for food and treasure, and they have a strict hierarchy. Each group has a chief, or jarl, with their lieutenants and underlings, followed up by a bunch of groupies. Castles are the preferred base of operations, but they will make do with a cave. Most Frost Giant lairs have up to 16 Frost Giants hanging out with about half of them their children. Also, lots of pets. Yetis, wolves, winter wolves, prisoners, and more can be encountered in a Frost Giant’s home.
Chiefs are far stronger than the Frost Giants, often wielding magic weapons or enhanced armor, but if they can gain command over 20 others, they earn the title of Jarl. For some comparison, a regular giant’s natural Armor Class is 5, an elite guard will wear chain mail and metal helmets with horns and feathers, even though horns on helmets are a horrible idea, and have an AC of 0. The jarl has an AC of -3 as they wear magical plate mail along with fancy animal pelts and lots of jewelry.
But that’s not all! Jarls are more than just beefed up Frost Giants, they are also beefed up pet owners. While they may have boring old winter wolves with them, there is a 20% chance they will have up to 2 white dragons as their pets. Remember, when you think things are bad, they can always get worse.
Speaking of getting worse, a band of Frost Giants this large has an 80% chance of having a shaman or witch doctor in their merry group of huge men and women. Frost Giant shamans act as priests and can get to such astounding power of 7th level, meaning 4th level spells to level at their enemies. Witch doctors are also priests of 7th level but also are wizards of up to 3rd level, so 2nd level spells. Most of these giants love taking spells that screw with other giants like mirror image, invisibility, and other trickery spells.
Many of the traits associated with Frost Giants in the previous editions remain the same. One major change is that the Frost Giants had a growth spurt and are huge! Towering at 21’ tall, the fire giant lobby has nothing on them, even if the fires had gotten to 18’ tall. Maybe one day the fires will learn their place. Frost Giants are still barbarian and Viking themed with snow-white skin with blue-white or yellow hair and eyes.
This is also the edition where giants start carrying their giant bags with all sorts of weird treasures in there. What would you think a Frost Giant would carry in their bag? If your answer is a bunch of dirty and smelly items, you’d win! Their bags carry a bunch of throwing rocks, up to 6,000 coins, up to 12 mundane items that are so gross and dirty, that it is difficult to tell what they are. Which, great? We guess the Frost Giants just don’t care enough about their stuff to take care of it.
The Forgotten Realms book Giantcraft (1995) gives us more general information on giants, their culture, ecology, and society. It also contains a section aptly named The Ice Spires and Their Environs. Frost Giants live as nomadic herders, society is founded on tapperhot, which means they live their lives based on their courage, mettle, or grit. Adventure is the only thing that matters to a Frost Giant, and they are always searching out new thrills and more significant challenges. Upon a victorious battle or adventure, boasting of their abilities is equally essential, and it is a necessary and detailed set of rules a Frost Giant must follow when singing their praises.
Frost Giants have different members of their society with warriors being the most common and are responsible for the safety of the tribe. Skalds are essentially bards, and they hold a special place among the Frost Giant tribes as they tell the stories of the most incredible giants and their exploits. Shamans assist the others in claiming their place in the heavens and do this by holding regular prayer sessions and convincing the warriors to take perilous quests to prove themselves. The Weirdner (literally weird workers) is the wizard of the tribe and finally, we have slaves, and as one might suspect, are the absolute dregs of the frost giant society.
Our last bit of Frost Giant lore comes to us in two different Dragon Magazines. In Dragon #254 (December 1998), there are two articles about giants and battlefield tactics. The article The Bigger They Are… details a variety of giant NPCs that can be hired by parties to help like a hill giant rogue, the other article …The Harder They Fall contains the battlefield tactics and how players can more easily destroy giants. It details some information about the Frost Giant, like how they use bolas made of massive ice blocks, but the bulk of the information is about the other giant-kin. This magazine also introduces the Frostmourn, a horrifying undead Frost Giant whose leathery undead skin can be turned into magical armor.
In Dragon #266 (December 1999), we get a fascinating look at lycanthrope within the Frost Giant society, specifically from were-bears and were-seawolf. A Frost Giant were-bear becomes a massive polar bear while Frost Giant seawolves swim through the frigid cold waters, hunting for ships to destroy. Especially smart ship captains will not sail through the frozen waters when they know a full moon will be out, instead choosing to take long circuitous routes to avoid those feral were-giants.
 

3e

In the Monster Manual (2000/2003), the Frost Giant remains very much the same with several pieces of lore lifted out from the past Monster Manuals. White-skinned, hair and eyes of yellow or blue, dressed in armor, pelts, and jewelry, and more. Did we mention that they are evil, mean, and stupid? Yup, that’s all been checked. Shockingly, Frost Giants still live in the arctic tundra and glaciers. Home is always a castle if they can find one, but caverns if they can't.
The biggest change is about 6-feet as the Frost Giants drop from 21-feet to a measly 15-feet, luckily the fire giant lobby wanes and their direct competitors also shrink back to the proper size of 12-feet. While most of the other giants also shrink, it has to be a cruel fate as the Frost Giants are still carrying around their ridiculous sacks of junk, rocks, and lots of coins. Combat strategies remain the same as they throw rocks from up to 120 feet away, and when they run out of rocks, you're dodging a stupidly big battleaxe. Don't worry, though; these giants like to take captives when they can and ransom them back to whoever will pay… or eat you if no one wants you back.
In the 3.5 edition of the Monster Manual, we are given the Jarl Frost Giant, which is a typical Frost Giant but has levels in a character class known as Blackguard. Blackguards are evil creatures who can smite good creatures, gain sneak attack, and can cast many Paladin spells focused on necromancy and harming other creatures. Most Jarls will be a Blackguard, but not all of them as they can also be a Barbarian, Cleric, Fighter, or Sorcerer. If you are lucky enough to kill the Jarl, your bounty can include a +2 frost great axe, +2 full plate armor, cloak of Charisma +2, and ring of minor energy resistance - of course, you also have to deal with the fact that all of your items are giant-sized, but maybe you can find someone to cast enlarge on you.
Our next book for the Frost Giants contains a glut of information and lore on them as well as a huge amount of information on running a game inside of a cold world. This book, Frostburn (2004), is something we recommend everyone to find a copy of, even if the mechanics don’t align with their system of choice, especially if you plan on taking your games into the wintery-cold lands of… anywhere with snow! This book features three more types of Frost Giants, as well as different prestige classes that a character, or a Frost Giant, could benefit from and become a fearsome opponent.
The first type we will go over are the Frost Giant Maulers, horrifyingly strong warriors who forgo using weapons to simply smash their opponents with their bare fists. They prefer to grab their opponents and wrestle them into the ground, grinding their bones into dust as they pulverize their enemies. If you think that’s painful, just wait for the Frost Giant Spiritwalker to show up and begin buffing their allies. These shamans can invoke the spirits and the magic of ice to tear apart their foes and bolster their tribe. The last of the new Frost Giants, are the Tundra Scouts who are fast and stealthy. They prefer attacking from range and will set traps, scout ahead, and move quickly to warn their tribe of any oncoming dangers.
As for prestige classes, there are three that are specific towards Frost Giants and their cold climates. The first is the Disciple of Thrym, with the Thrym being the Lord of the Frost Giants and ruling from his colossal ice citadel in Jotunheim. Those who take on this role are his servants, regardless of their race, and can envoke the power of cold and ice, heralding the end of the world. After that are the Frost Mages who hide away in caverns or towers of ice where they study their magic and become so one with ice that they are immune to its chill touch. The last prestige class that Frost Giants might take is the Frostrager who are believed to have been touched by Thrym and given power over ice. They are thought to be barbaric fighters who go into an icy rage of destruction and chaos, creating an armor of ice around themselves and striking out with the cold.

4e

The Frost Giant is treated poorly in 4e as they are almost first introduced in an adventure instead of a Monster Manual! In 2009, they first appear in the Monster Manual 2 and four months later they appear in the adventure Revenge of the Giants (2009). Do you know who didn’t have to wait until the 2nd Monster Manual? You guessed it, our hated rivals, the fire giant. Luckily, based on some of the art, it looks like Frost Giants are still a few feet taller than them, but there are no hard numbers on it that we could find.
Getting into the mechanics of it all, the Frost Giant no longer hurls rocks at their enemies, and in fact, they have no rocks! Instead, they charge in with their great axe, full of rage, and murder in their eyes… of course, you might be wondering what they do if someone is up a cliff. Well, they still have a ranged option, they can throw a handaxe up to 50 feet away. That’s all.
Little changes lore-wise, though this edition turns these giants into elementals and gives them strong connections to the Elemental Chaos as we will see later on. This goes so far as to change what type of pets that a Frost Giant will have with them, and it is now we bid ado to our beloved wolves and polar bears. They can now be found with ice elementals, mammoths, remorhazes, white dragons, and other massive and powerful creatures. They are creatures of ice and thus only hang out with similar creatures.
Monster Manual 2 also introduces us to two more types of Frost Giants that operate slightly different than the standard giant. The Ice Shaper is a powerful controller who can twist and change the battlefield, and even help protect their allies with armor made out of ice. The Frost Giant Titan is a behemoth and is one of the most powerful of the Frost Giants, they can blast their opponents with ice, unleash devastating attacks with an axe, and shoot out bolts of ice… sadly, not a single rock to be thrown by any of them!
Our next look at the Frost Giants comes in the adventure Revenge of the Giants, which is inspired by the G-series of adventures Against the Giants, which you might remember from back in AD&D. This adventure pits the party against hill giants, Frost Giants, and fire giants, as they desperately try to stop the giants from releasing an ancient primordial to destroy the world. This adventure is largely a hack-and-slash, much like what it draws inspiration from, but does provide some information about the Frost Giants!
Four more Frost Giants emerge, the Hunter, Raider, Marauder, and Windkeeper - each with their roles to take in combat. Hunters stick to the outskirts of the battlefield and pick off spellcasters and weakened targets. Raiders are simple minions that rush into battle with battleaxe in hand and bolster the Frost Giant numbers, throwing themselves into the fray to protect their leaders. Marauders are big hunks of muscle who throw themselves into a bloodlust and cut down their foes with their powerful icy battleaxes, and our last giants are the Windkeepers. These giants control the winds and ice, creating blistering conditions for their foes and cutting down enemies with the power of the wind.
The giants appear next in Monster Manual 3 (2010) and bring with them a little bit of lore and three more types. They are creatures who are striving to bring back their long lost primordials and journey through the Material Plane and the Elemental Chaos on longships made of ice. Rumors are that they are working on a secret mandate to destroy the worlds and release their primordial masters from their prisons. To accomplish those goals, we have the mighty warriors known as the Berserkers. These Frost Giants are fast and move across the battlefield as a blue blur as they strike out at their enemies. They are protected by the Shield Bearers who carry heavy shields to protect their allies and when they strike, can heal their allies. They are commanded by the Chieftan who leads and commands their troops, shouting out orders and creating dangerous zones of deadly frost and ice.
The next book, Monster Vault (2010), holds a lot more lore about the giants and their origins. During the early days of the creation of the multiverse, the primordials wanted to explore the entire land they helped create and so created the titans and giants to act as their scouts. The Frost Giants traveled through the frozen wastes and ice-regions of the Elemental Chaos, scouting out the land and bringing back what they found to their primordials, during all this, they enslaved other races they stumbled across though they preferred dwarves as they are the most hearty. Eventually, the Dawn War would begin between the gods and primordials with the giants choosing to side with their creators. At first, it looked like the primordials, with the help of the giants, would win against the celestial forces of the gods, but that quickly changed when the dwarves they had enslaved rose up in a massive and bloody rebellion, killing thousands and thousands of giants. Which brings us to the current period, the Frost Giants, and others, are slowly regrowing their strength and holdings in the Material Plane and the Elemental Chaos, regaining their long lost power and slowly trying to release their imprisoned primordial masters that the gods crafted at the end of the Dawn War.
Our last bit of information on the Frost Giants comes in the Player Options - Heroes of the Elemental Chaos (2012) and describes the greatest kingdom of the Frost Giants located in the Elemental Chaos. Kaltenheim is ruled over by the Thrym, a powerful Frost Titan of unbelievable power and might. Kaltenheim stretches across vast expanses in the Elemental Chaos with snow-covered tundras, icy mountains, and frozen seas. While there are non-giants in these lands, they are all slaves to the Frost Giants and are forced to labor away in the frozen wastes like creating fine or delicate craftwork, building their feast halls and castles, or tending to the herds of cattle. The only way for slaves to gain any type of prestige is to have the gift of magic over ice, those that can control the element are treated with respect and given greater tasks set by the Jarls.
 

5e

The Frost Giants are redeemed and appear in the Monster Manual (2014), not even having to wait until an adventure! In fact, their lore is expanded, though it isn’t very setting-neutral and is instead focused on the Forgotten Realms and their place in that world. At least we get their throwing rocks back and they are back to standing at 21-feet tall, 3 feet above the fire giant shorties!
The first bit of information about them has to do with all of the giants and that they all belong to a hierarchy known as the Ordning. Every type of giant has a ranking with storm giants at the top followed by cloud giants, fire giants, Frost Giants, stone giants, hill giants, followed by all other giants at the bottom like formians, ogres, and trolls. This is a severe disservice to the poor Frost Giants as we all know that Frost Giants are better than fire giants and they are 3 feet taller! They deserve to be above the fire giants!
Beyond the Ordning, we also get more information about their favorite pastimes like… raiding and pillaging settlements, taking supplies they need and can’t produce in their icy wastes, and ignoring everything else like coins or fancy baubles. They are especially fond of ale, so taverns and inns are targeted by them specifically for their alcohol while expensive mansions are largely ignored unless they know it has large jewels and gems. They love those stones and adorn it on their clothes or will use it to trade with other giants for goods and services.
Frost Giants care little for other creatures and are known as reavers of ice and snow. They have little interest in crafting goods, herding animals, or even building their own homes and thus rely on slaves to do all that work for them. They are brutal and cruel, relying on their strength and power to beat their slaves into submission and have little care for who or what they hurt. Looking at their mechanics, they get their rocks back, and they can chuck them up to 240 feet away! They are still immensely powerful, though a team of veteran adventurers could easily put one down… that is until the tribe of Frost Giants descend upon them.
It’s not long before giants get another adventure and appear in Storm King’s Thunder (2016). While they don’t take a central role in the story and are merely one of the four dungeons that a party could visit but don’t have to, they do have a lair that a party can storm through and try to find a magical McGuffin. This lair is located on a large ice floe and is the home to Jarl Storvald, one of the greatest leaders of the Frost Giants who have brought them to great power and prosperity. He is obsessively searching for the ring of winter, and magical artifact that is said to turn the world to ice. He is constantly raiding the Sword Coast with longships he found frozen in ice and is carrying on the traditions of survival through raiding like his ancestors.
This adventure also brings back random items that can be found in a giant’s bag, like a cooking pot, a comb, a cask of ale, humanoid skulls, chickens, and throwing rocks.
Volo’s Guide to Monsters (2016) gives the giant race their due, providing background, lore, and other exciting details. Much of the information applies to the giants in general though all of it has to do with giants in the Forgotten Realms setting so it might be more or less useful depending on what world you find yourself in. We typically try to give information that is settings-neutral, but this edition doesn’t provide much in that way, instead, leaning extra hard into the Ordning and the gods found in Toril.
Giants were created by Annam the All-Father to be the rulers of the world. After they made the great empire Ostoria, Frost Giants were tasked with defending it. It turns out that dragons are the giant's arch-nemesis, and when a great war between the two erupted, Frost Giants were on the front lines fighting. With the fall of Ostoria, Annam refused to hear the prayer of the giants and will only listen to them again once Ostoria is returned to its former greatness. In the meantime, the giants have taken to worshiping a wide variety of gods under that same pantheon and many of the Frost Giants now worship Thyrm, one of the six sons of Annam.
Frost Giant society is based on one's physical strength and might. Being well skilled in the art of battle, Frost Giants know that brute force won't always prevail and will use whatever method available, fair or not, to defeat their opponent. As with the earlier editions, Frost Giants survive primarily by raiding nearby settlements and villages. It would be hard work to raise livestock or grow crops in the frozen dirt, so pillaging from others is the easiest way to get by. Using a blizzard or powerful storm as cover, Frost Giants will attack a village, laying waste to it and taking anything of use or value except for coin. Coins no longer have any worth to them, which saves room in their sack for that owlbear skull or live pig they may carry around in it.
Giants, including the Frost Giant, get their huge bag of goodies back, and while it no longer is full of gold, it will hold the rocks that they love to throw. They still aren't called catapults anymore, but now gain the title of Champions of Rock Throwing! Frost Giants still have ‘pets’, but they show them no love or affection. Instead, these poor creatures are beaten into submission, following a Frost Giants' commands based solely on fear. Such creatures include polar bears, winter wolves, mammoths, and even remorhazes which are prized above all other creatures. For the most powerful of the Forst Giants, they may even have a white dragon under their thumb.
Volo’s Guide to Monsters also introduces a new Frost Giant that has been twisted and corrupted by trolls. When a runt Frost Giant realizes that no matter what they do, they’ll always be weak compared to their kin, they may turn and worship Vaprak who promises to give them power. Vaprak is the deity over trolls and ogres, so it has one way of gifting this power. It sends a troll on a holy quest to the Frost Giant and then the Frost Giant must devour every morsel of the troll. If they can do so, they gain immense power and the troll’s ability to regenerate. Of course, other Frost Giants found these Everlasting Ones quite horrifying and will exile them if they are ever found out. Everlasting Ones thus must keep up their worship to Vaprak or face disfigurations and mutations that will reveal their true nature to their tribe.
Our next book is Tales from the Yawning Portal (2017) which takes old adventures and updates them for use in 5th edition. One of those adventures is the G-series Against the Giants from back in 1st edition where the party must fight against a rising tide of giants and find out why so many of them are beginning to work together. We won’t go too deep into it as it is basically a reprint of the old adventure, including the storm giant female who is chained up in the Frost Giant prison with no name, as well as a lady thief chained up in the Fire Giant lair who is still not given a name.
And finally, the Frost Giants make an appearance in the Tomb of Annihilation (2017) adventure. Now you might be wondering what a bunch of Frost Giants are doing in a tropical jungle, but if you recall Storm King’s Thunder, Jarl Storvald is still hunting for the ring of winter and there are reports that the bearer of the ring, Artus Cimbar, is somewhere in Chult with the ring!
The Frost Giant has changed quite a bit throughout the editions, though it's mostly focused on how far it can throw a rock or their height! Cold, mean, and thoroughly evil, it’s best to give them a wide berth if you ever see them off in the distance, or if you think you have what it takes, you might even join their tribe if you can overpower them in a bare-knuckle fight to the death.

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