What you need to know about vitamin C
Vitamin C is probably the best known of the vitamins. It is crucial in protecting cells and keeps them healthy. It also helps maintain healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage material.
It’s also important in ensuring wounds heal well and quickly.
Vitamin C can’t be produced by our bodies and we have to absorb it through the food we eat or supplements we take. Good sources of vitamin C? The well known sources are typically oranges, strawberries, blackcurrants and most other berries.
Surprisingly vitamin C can also be found in broccoli, brussels sprouts and potatoes. It’s important to know though, that steaming veg rather than cooking can help to preserve the nutritional benefit of vitamin C.
So, what can prevent us from absorbing the recommended amounts of vitamin C each day? Well, it’s fair to say our diet is not great in providing the right levels of nutrients and vitamins our bodies need to work well.
And even if we have a more responsible diet, it doesn’t mean we’re taking in the right amounts of vitamin C or any other micronutrient. These days, crops tend to be grown to maximise their size or colour, so they are attractive to eat. However, this also goes hand in hand with them often grown in nutrient deficient or synthetic soils, which means the nutritional value of what we end up eating is much reduced.
What you need to know about vitamin C deficiency is it can lead to symptoms of weakness, poor wound healing, aching joints and muscles and bleeding gums.
Of course, if we find we’re deficient in vitamin C, it’s a problem which is one of the easiest to solve – simply eat more fruit and veg. Preferably organic. However, for those who can’t or don’t wish to change their diet, there’s always a high quality supplement to help us.
Most vitamin C supplements are made from a synthetic substance called ascorbic acid, whereas whole food or naturally occurring vitamin C is called ascorbate. There has been much debate over whether the synthetic version is as readily absorbed in the body as the naturally derived vitamin C.
Here’s a link to the current research
It’s believed that there is a slight advantage to using the whole food version. It appears to have better absorption and of course a naturally occurring product is often preferable.
Make sure, in other words, your vitamin C supplement, such as the version in our shop, is made from natural whole food sources! You can find the item here:
How much vitamin C do we need?
In the UK, the recommended levels for both men and women under the age of 64 is 40mg per day. The USA advises 90 – 100mg per day. We should be able to obtain this from our daily diet.
What if you take too much vitamin C? Amounts larger than 1000mg per day can lead to stomach cramps, diarrhoea and flatulence, but should disappear when once vitamin C levels return to normal.
More serious conditions from long term excessive usage of vitamin C are kidney stones and severe diarrhoea.
So, what can taking the right amount of vitamin C actually do for us? What you need to know about vitamin C are some proven benefits of taking it.
Vitamin C is a great antioxidant
Firstly, it’s a powerful antioxidant. It strengthens the body’s natural defences and plays a vital role in boosting our immune system. Antioxidants do this by protecting our cells from harmful substances known as free radicals.
What happens if we have too many free radicals in our system? We can end up with something called oxidative stress, which has been linked to many chronic diseases.
Studies have shown that consuming more vitamin C can increase the amount of antioxidants in your blood by up to 30%, providing support to your body’s natural defences against inflammation.
Could it help reduce blood pressure?
Vitamin C has been associated with blood pressure. A small scale study revealed that taking a vitamin C supplement could lower blood pressure in healthy adults.
It’s important to stress though that whether this is a long term effect or not hasn’t been worked out, so it’s important that vitamin C is not used on its own as a way to manage high blood pressure.
Think of vitamin C as another tool, but not the main tool, to help regulate blood pressure.
Vitamin C may also reduce the risk of heart disease
An analysis of nine previous studies concluded that people who took at least 700mg of vitamin C daily had a 25% lower risk of heart disease than those who didn’t take a supplement.
However, other studies suggest that this benefit was mainly gained by those who obtained their vitamin C from food sources and not supplements, although it was also suggested that those who ate significant quantities of vitamin C rich food were probably more health conscious and led a healthier lifestyle anyway.
Another analysis of a number of other studies suggested that taking vitamin C supplements can also reduce the markers of heart disease. Here, the researchers identified a reduction in levels of bad cholesterol.
Worried about gout? Vitamin C could help
Gout is a form of arthritis, where joints swell and become hot, painful and red. It’s infamously known to specifically affect toe joints, often leaving red swollen skin as well.
It happens when the body has too much uric acid in it. This is a waste product of the body, but when there are sufficiently high levels which the body cannot remove the excess, it crystallises and forms deposits in joints.
One study of 1,387 men found that those who took the most vitamin C had significantly lower levels of the main marker for gout – uric acid – in their blood.
Another study followed 47,000 men over 20 years to see if vitamin C levels were associated with gout. The study concluded that those who took a vitamin C supplement had a 44% lower risk of developing this painful condition.
You really do need to absorb iron – vitamin C is your friend
Iron really is an important mineral in your body – it is vital to helping your body create red blood cells. And why are they important? They transport oxygen throughout your body.
Iron is, however, poorly absorbed. Vitamin C has been shown to improve the body’s ability to absorb the iron we take in from our diet. In fact, taking just 100mg of vitamin C per day can help iron absorption by 67%.
Vitamin C would be extremely useful for those who are at risk of anaemia, where the body finds it particularly difficult to absorb iron.
Where vitamin C might not work for you
Using vitamin C to fight the common cold has been a popular old wives tale for many years. However, there is evidence that taking high doses can help to reduce the severity and length of a cold, but analysis of all the clinical trials which have been carried out to answer this question are not conclusive.
There is, though, little evidence that regular and continuing supplementation with vitamin C can reduce the chances of catching a cold.
About our vitamin C capsules
Our vitamin C capsules, manufactured by our specially chosen partner Troo Healthcare, are made from 100% whole food vitamin C.
The food state vitamin C we use is derived from Acerola cherries, reship, blackcurrant, parsley leaf and elderberry. This form of vitamin C is retained in the body far longer than the synthetic or man made version, known as ascorbic acid.
Our vitamin C capsules are made from naturally occurring ingredients that the body recognises and requires for maximum digestion, absorption and utilisation.