Vitamin C Benefits - More Than a Cold Remedy
While there may be some truth to the claim that vitamin C can help us ward off and recover from wintertime maladies, many studies do not support the claim. In fact, vitamin C can also help our bodies in many areas which may be far more important.
Vitamin C--also known of as ascorbic acid--can play a role in everything from tissue repair, to maintaining healthy bones and teeth, to cardiovascular health--making it one of the most important vitamins there are.
It may be true that adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients were once available through diet alone. However, modern farming techniques, hybridization, and long-term storage of fruits and vegetables during shipping mean that modern food supplies fall short in most key nutritional areas. Unfortunately, as with so many other essential vitamins and nutrients, our modern diet may be sorely lacking in supplying us with adequate amounts of this nutrient, which is why a natural vitamin C supplement is often the best way to go.
It is for this reason that a natural, food-based, vitamin C supplement should be taken daily, along with a diet which includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin C: What is it Good For?
To start, vitamin C has a wide variety of functions which we typically do not associate with it. While it is true that this key vitamin does play a role in keeping our immune system healthy and strong, its benefits hardly stop there.
In fact, vitamin C can also help in many key areas:
Where Does Your Vitamin C Come From?
While vitamin C is available in nearly all fruits and vegetables, it is particularly high in a few of them. These include, but are not limited to:
However, vitamin C can also be synthesized in laboratories, which is where it commonly comes from in most supplements. This is known of as the D form of ascorbic acid, while the L form signifies natural vitamin C.
While some scientific consensus claims there is not enough of a difference between the two forms to warrant concern, this is not a unanimous conclusion. Since ascorbic acid is what is known of as a chiral compound--meaning the two molecules mirror each other and there is no other discernible difference--many assume that they are essentially the same two compounds.
However, just as it is hard for a left-handed person to write using their right hand, by mirroring each other, the D and L may not work in the same manner. In fact, studies have shown the L form to be the most active of the two forms, and with the D form showing little to no activity in some of vitamin C’s effects.
The conclusion? Be safe and go natural.
Where Does our Vitamin C Go?
We live in a world with many pollutants and other toxins, as well as a fewer nutritious, whole foods in our daily regimens. What this leads to is a need for supplemental nutrition, particularly for those in urban environments.
We should also note that ascorbic acid is a water soluble—as opposed to oil soluble—vitamin, which means that the human body does not store it. This is because unlike fat soluble vitamins which can only pass through the body at the same rate as fat, water soluble vitamins pass through at the same rate as water, which the body passes daily. This is both good and bad news, since, while being passed daily minimizes the danger of vitamin overdose, they also need to be replaced daily.
This rate also increases with:
Vitamin C - The Source Matters
While it is true that the human body can only absorb so much vitamin C daily due to vitamin C being a water-soluble vitamin, merely taking the recommended amount in a single-source vitamin may not be providing adequate supplies either.
Since the body does not always absorb all available nutrients with perfect efficiency, taking a singular source vitamin may be sending at least part of the vitamin off as waste. For this reason, it is recommended that multiple sources of vitamin C be looked for when choosing the best vitamin C supplement for daily use. By doing so, even if one source becomes discarded by the body, other sources are still available for absorption. This ensures that the maximum amount possible is absorbed each day.
Also, by providing these sources through a food based vitamin, other phytonutrients and vitamin cofactors can benefit both vitamin absorbency, as well as overall health.
Too Much Vitamin C?
While it is true that vitamin C is water-soluble, and is thereby nearly impossible to overuse, it should nonetheless be noted that there are limits.
For one, ultra-high doses of vitamin C can lead to gastrointestinal distress, including diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and nausea.
It has also been noted that since vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron in the body, there are some concerns over high doses of ascorbic acid leading to excessive iron in the body. For most healthy individuals, this is of little concern, although for those with hereditary hemochromatosis, chronically high amounts of vitamin C can lead to tissue damage.
Finally, some may have stomach sensitivity to vitamin C, although this is alleviated by using either a buffered, or preferably, food-based vitamin--both of which are easy on the stomach.
Why You Need a Vitamin C Supplement
Although commonly thought of as a cure for or preventative measure against the common cold, vitamin C has far greater depth than that when it comes to our overall health.
In fact—and ironically enough--only limited data support the claim that ascorbic acid aids in fending off wintertime sniffling and sneezing, and of that, it is mainly highly active athletes and soldiers who saw the most benefit.
However, the many other verified health benefits of taking a quality, food-based vitamin C supplement every day far exceed the importance of avoiding a simple head cold.
By ensuring that our wounds heal, that our bones are strong, and that our bodies are rid of the ill-effects of free radicals, vitamin C becomes one of the most important vitamins we can add to our daily regimen.
Add to this that many today live in urban environments, smoke, are exposed to secondhand smoke, or do not get proper nutrition through their diet, and the need to enhance our daily intake of this highly important vitamin greatly increases.