The Truth about Vitamin C

So after writing lifestyle blogs for the last two weeks, I thought it was time for another one about a specific Vitamin. And I went for the one that is best known. It actually is the most searched vitamin on the internet! I used to buy it as an effervescent tablet from Sainsbury’s but since digging deeper into supplements and synthetic v. naturally derived I won’t be buying those again. But that’s not the topic of this blog. If you want to find out more about this kind of thing come to one of my Nutrition and Supplement Information Evenings!

So Vitamin C. it’s probably the most famous of all vitamins! And it is an important one for sure! Let’s start off with a myth though. Blasting your body with Vitamin C when you’ve got a cold is not going to make a difference as to how long you have your cold! While some research shows that people who regularly take vitamin C supplements may have slightly shorter colds or somewhat milder symptoms, for most people, boosting vitamin C doesn’t reduce the risk of catching the common cold. I say “most people” because there are studies that show that vitamin C cut cold risk by 50% in male athletes, but not in females.

It is true that vitamin C is critical for immune function, and that it plays a key role in wound healing. But the best way to keep your immune system strong is to eat healthfully, including vitamin C rich produce, all the time. Keep your immune system well supported every day so you won’t need to play catch up.

But Vitamin C does a lot more than just support our immune system. It contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of skin, teeth, cartilage, bones and gums for example! It contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, the normal functioning of the nervous system, a normal energy-yielding metabolism and increases our iron absorption.

Vitamin C also protects our cells from oxidative stress. Something we are all exposed to these days – may it be through smoking, air pollution, processed food or even intense physical exercise. To protect our cells we need Vitamin E and Vitamin C helps restore depleted Vitamin E so it can carry out that function. It’s therefore especially important for smokers to make sure they have plenty of vitamin C.

We cannot make Vitamin C in our bodies (unlike other animals) so it’s essential to get a supply from food every single day. We all know where to find it – well oranges right? But did you know that Morello cherries have thirty times ore vitamin C than an orange? And there is a significant amount of Vitamin C in sweet potatoes? They contain 2.4mg per 100g. Other fantastic sources include broccoli, leafy green vegetables like spinach, chard and kale, red bell peppers and brussels sprouts. And of course kiwi fruit, and citrus fruit like oranges, limes and lemons.

But unfortunately Vitamin C decomposes quickly. Therefore when you make freshly squeezed orange juice, it is best to drink it soon after squeezing the fruit. If you put it in the fridge first, you’ll end up drinking orange juice – but without the Vitamin C you were after…

We need 40mg a day and should be having less than 1000mg per day. But don’t worry if you have too much for a day or too… It’s a water soluble vitamin so they body just flushes out what it doesn’t need. If you take megadoses of vitamin C supplements over a longer period of time though it has been shown to trigger bloating and digestive upset, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, headaches, insomnia, and kidney stones.

Vitamin C deficiency symptoms on the other hand include dry hair, skin that’s dry, slow to heal and bruises easily, gum problems, nose bleeds, and susceptibility to infections.

So to round up – we definitely need it and need to make sure we have enough Vitamin C every single day. Either through food or supplements or both. And here a fun fact to send you off with  – Most animals can make their own Vitamin C, except for guinea pigs, humans and primates.

If you enjoyed this blog and would like to find out more, contact me. I have regular Supplement and Nutrition Information Evenings at my house where I go through loads of vitamins and minerals, why you need them and where to find them.

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