Why Vitamin C Still Matters
Human beings, unlike most animals, are unable to make any new Vitamin C.
While Vitamin C is stored in cells and tissues, particularly white blood cells, eyes, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, and brain, it needs constant replenishment, so it is an essential part of our daily diet.
It is surprisingly easy to run low on vitamin C: all you need is a source of stress, and the vitamin C – as measured in your white blood cells – plummets. Naturally a good habit of eating high vitamin C foods helps a lot.
High or low dose?
The history of vitamin C has been one of controversy between different groups of scientists, and even the officially recommended daily amounts have risen dramatically over time, giving some credibility to those such as Szent-Gyorgyi (who discovered the vitamin) and Linus Pauling, who advocated higher-dose supplementation from the start. The original RDA was for 30mg, raised to 60mg in 1991 and now to 110mg for men, 80 mg for women (EU, 2013). Irish people today consume about 80mg vitamin C from food, and on average, a further 45mg or so from supplements. Many Irish people in the nineteenth century however consumed about 400 mg vitamin C a day: for half the population, the daily diet consisted of about seven pounds of vitamin C-rich potatoes for each adult. Estimates of the vitamin C content of real “Paleo” diets, such as out hunter-gatherer ancestors probably ate, are in the 200-300 mg daily range.
Colds and stress
Vitamin C supports the immune system, the white blood cells particularly, that play a key role in controlling inflammation. Stressful conditions quickly deplete the Vitamin C in these cells, and this also happens in the early stages of a cold or infection. Several recent studies indicate that supplementary vitamin C at the level of about 1000mg (one gram) daily for an adult prevents this depletion. This may not be a cure for a cold, but is likely to help prevent complications such as pneumonia.
Suppresses excess cortisol
Furthermore, a recent German study subjected 120 people to a classic but harmless stressor-a public speaking project and maths test. Half the group were given 1,000 mg of vitamin C. They tested for the stress hormone cortisol, and high blood pressure. Without the vitamin C, the measures of stress were significantly higher. The vitamin C group stated that they felt less stressed, too. There is also good evidence that vitamin C even at 200mg daily helps prevent the typical cortisol-based stress response to intensive exercise. This is especially good news, as excess cortisol not only makes you feel tired and stressed, it also tends to make your tummy fat!
Skin, outside and inside because vitamin C has a critical role to play in collagen formation, it can be especially beneficial to the skin, and here its antioxidant powers also come into play. Loss of collagen is a major reason for wrinkle formation. But much more than the beauty aspect, proper collagen formation is essential for the health of the blood vessels both small and large. When the small blood vessels are weak, it may show up as easy bruising or thread veins, while for larger arteries, any roughness or irregularity may set off clot or plaque formation, the root cause of heart attacks and strokes.
Good sources of vitamin C
Fruits and leafy vegetables, potatoes, citrus juices, liver, kidney and fresh milk are all sources of vitamin C but the problem arises when you buy an apple that has been in storage for two years! Heating, delay after cooking, processing and storage all deplete the food vitamin C available to us, even if our diets are correct all the time. Alcohol seems to reduce vitamin C absorption considerably. So there is a good case for supplementation. The best immune-supporting C supplements also contain other vitamins and flavonoids such as quercetin to help vitamin C in its action. See below for practical steps that could make the vital difference.
- The new sachet forms of vitamin C called Energy C offer the opportunity for a refreshing summer drink that may be combined with Zinc for immune support.
- It’s OK to combine a vitamin C sachet with a multivitamin or detox
product like Cell Rejuvenation Mix.
- Fat-soluble vitamin C capsules such as Radiance C. This form of Vitamin C is fat soluble and readily protects the skin and its collagen support. Unlike regular Vitamin C that passes easily out of the body. Radiance C is retained and works longer to keep your skin smooth and wrinkle free.