Vitamin C has been hailed as one of the most underrated vitamins in existence. it is a water soluble
vitamin, meaning it is stored in water. one of the most interesting facts about this vitamin is that almost all animals can create this vitamin within their bodies, except humans, primates, and guinea pigs. we humans have gene missing that cuts the process of creating vitamin C.
so we cannot create it, we need to supplement it from food and natural food supplements. this vitamin is wildly known, however the true power is yet to be publicly shared for some reason.
Vitamin c is the fuel of our immune systems. the white blood cells which control our immunity and destroy pathogens, contain within them vitamin c, which allow them to perform. by deduction we can conclude that vitamin c levels are directly proportional to our immunity.
vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants known to man. antioxidant means that it stops oxidation, many degenerative diseases involve oxidation. and vitamin c can stop
Linus Pauling has won two Nobel prizes. he was a very strong advocate for Vitamin C; he used to suggest Taking more than 1,000 mg daily, when the RDA (recommended daily allowance) was 40 – 60 mg. Pauling himself is said to have taken 12,000 mg per day, thats a lot of vitamin C!
he wrote several books on this topic, starting with Vitamin C and the Common Cold in 1970, followed by Vitamin C, the Common Cold and the Flu (1976), Vitamin C and Cancer (1979), and How to Feel Better and Live Longer (1986).
Top 10 benefits of Vitamin C
- Boosts your immune system
- Helps Skin Heal
- improves skin texture (by building collagen)
- helps prevent constipation
- Helps Manage Stress Levels
- Helps in Preventing Kidney Stones & Gallstones
- supports brain health; needed to build certain neurotransmitters
- improves blood flow
- could help prevent neurological conditions like dementia and alzheimer’s disease.
- helps preventing cataracts, and improve vision
Foods Containing Vitamin C
in descending order of vitamin c content:
- Papaya 1 medium: 168
- Guava 1 fruit: 125 mg
- Red Peppers ½ cup chopped, raw: 95 mg
- Oranges 1 large: 82 mg
- Kale 1 cup: 80 mg
- Kiwi 1 piece: 64 mg
- Green Peppers ½ c chopped, raw: 60 mg
- Broccoli ½ cup cooked: 51 mg
- Cabbage 1 cup: 51 mg
- Brussels Sprouts ½ cup cooked: 48 mg
- Grapefruit ½ cup: 43 mg
- Strawberries ½ cup: 42 mg
- tomatoes 1 cup: 24 mg
its worth mentioning that you have alot of modern products that are “fortified” with vitamin c, however this would be synthetic vitamin c (ascorbic acid only) which i do not recommend consuming alot of. for more information on this you can check out my article on synthetic VS whole food supplements./.
Best cooking methods to preserve vitamin C
as previously mentioned, vitamin c is a water soluble vitamin, these type of vitamins are very sensitive to heat. to get the most vitamin c, its ideal to eat vitamin c containing foods raw, or use the least amount of water and heat to keep the most amount of the vitamin.
the best method that retains the most vitamin c is steaming, then comes microwaving and using pan or wok, the idea is no matter what you use, cook the vegetables for the least amount of time to preserve the most amount of vitamin C. boiling removes alot of the vitamin c. so as a summary when cooking, cook for a small amount of time and using a small amount of water.
How to best absorb vitamin C and increase its bioavailability
Aloe vera has been studied and proven to increase biavalability of both vitamin C and Vitamin B12. the study can be found here. not only that, but aloe vera also enhanced the antioxidant potential of the vitamins.
in a different study, an aloe vera juice (polysaccharide-enhanced) participants showed a 20 fold increase in the absorption of the vitamin C supplements. The research was conduct by Lily of the Desert.
what inhibits or decreases vitamin C absorption & bioavailability
Sugar! i cannot stress this enough, sugar stops white blood cells from absorbing vitamin c (which it needs to function) basically the sugar molecule is very similar to vitamin c and it has a stronger affinity to bind to the white blood cells, more than vitamin c. some might even go as far as to say sugar shuts down the immune system, its like preventing a car from refueling, at some point it will shut down.
so when you eat sugar, the vitamin c molecule gets blocked and cannot enter the white blood cells, so as a result, your immune system is compromised for up to 4 hours. imagine the implications this will have on your whole body, it is absolutely destructive.
what depletes vitamin c from our bodies?
- Pregnant women need to take a lot of Vitamin C as it protects Folic Acid which is important for cell growth.
- caffeine can inhibit vitamin c absorption, also as vitamin c is water soluble, consuming alot of caffeine can cause increased uriniation, which in turn will deplete vitamin c, as it is removed through urination.
- certain medications and antibiotics can deplete the body of vitamin c
- Smoking depletes body reserves of vitamin c, if you smoke you will have to up your intake of vitamin c to balance the effect.
- Stress depletes vitamin c, also vitamin c help us handle stress better both mentally and physically. so if you encounter alot of stress make sure to take extra vitamin c to stop the harmful effects of stress on your body
Vitamin C Supplements
there are so many vitamin C supplements in the market, afforvesents, pills, in multivitamins, its everywhere. however most of them only include something called ascorbic acid. ascorbic acid is only one part of what vitamin C actually is. which is why you should take whole food vitamin C supplements, which contain all of the parts which make up vitamin C; the way nature intended it. by the way taking synthetic vitamin c like over the shelf ascorbic acid, can actually cause a deficiency, as you’re taking alot from one part of the whole, you’re bound to create an imbalance in the system.
I personally use this product
check out this article on Whole food supplements Vs synthetic vitamins.
Recommended Daily Allowance
The RDA for Vitamin C is 90 mg/day for men and 75 mg/day for women. The Daily Value is 60 mg. many people argue as mentioned earlier that this is very low and we need much more vitamin c daily. please see the section on what depletes vitamin c stores in our bodies, to see if you might need to up your intake.
for a full list of RDA according to the 2000, the National Academy of Sciences released a set of Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI). please check the following link
Deficiency signs and symptoms
The first symptoms of vitamin C deficiency tend to be:
- Tiredness and weakness.
- Muscle and joint pains.
- Easy bruising.
- Spots that look like tiny, red-blue bruises on your skin.
- Skin Problems
Other symptoms can include:
- Dry skin.
- Splitting hair.
- Swelling and discoloration of your gums.
- Sudden and unexpected bleeding from your gums.
- Poor healing of wounds.
- Problems fighting infections.
- Bleeding into joints, causing severe joint pains.
- Changes in your bones.
- Tooth loss.
- Weight loss.
Toxicity Signs and symptoms
Vitamin c toxicity is very uncommon, however megadosing vitamin c can cause the following symptoms according to mayoclinic.org :
- Abdominal bloating and cramps
- Kidney stone
Diseases prevented or alleviated by vitamin C
its well worth mentioning that vitamin c will help with any ailment or disease you might have, as it boosts the immune system, and lower oxidative stress. no matter what you are suffering from, supplementing with vitamin c will be a sure fire way to help your body fight any disease.
with that being said the following are common diseases vitamin c can help prevent or heal:
- common cold
- heart disease
- gum disease
Recommended / Related Articles:
10 ways to boost your immune system
synthetic VS whole food supplements