Why Vitamin C
One of the most vital nutrients for the health and survival of humans is Vitamin C. Unlike the other nutrients that are needed for survival; Vitamin C is one that our bodies isn’t capable of producing on its own, meaning that it needs to be obtained from other sources such as food and other dietary supplements. As a result of not being naturally made by the human body, Vitamin C has been shown to be the fourth leading nutrient deficiency in the United States.
Vitamin C is known to have immune-modulating properties, which has given it a high level of importance in the world throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While Vitamin C has not been approved as a treatment for COVID-19, it has caught doctors’ and researchers’ attention throughout the pandemic. Most interestingly, Vitamin C given intravenously was one of the first options that showed success during the height of the Pandemic in many hotspots including New York, China, Italy, and others. After the success of Vitamin C was noted, 18 clinical studies were reviewed. Evidence showed that in 6 of the clinical trials, intensive care unit stays were reduced by 8.6 percent when 1 to 3 grams of Vitamin C were administered daily. The results were the same even when the Vitamin C was administered orally and not intravenously.
How does Vitamin C Affect the Immune System
When the human body is fighting an infection, it undergoes a period of oxidative stress. Vitamin C contains antioxidant properties that are critical during this time. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, this has proven to be incredibly essential to patients in the stages of multi-organ failure and sepsis. Vitamin C is an effective immune booster because it encourages the mobility and efficacy of neutrophils, or white blood cells, while also promoting the destruction of bacteria and viruses. Vitamin C also leads to an increase in the amounts of antibodies that are produced in the body. To aid in fighting off viruses and bacteria, Vitamin C also supports the growth of collagen connective tissue and the extracellular matrix, which lends to keeping the body’s cells bonded together. When an infection does enter the body, vitamin C aids in preventing the destruction of tissues and promoting faster wound healing.
Additionally, Vitamin C is essential for many other enzymatic reactions in the body. Vitamin C contributes to the body’s use of Vitamin E, and, Glutathione, and increases calcium absorption when taken together. Vitamin C also protects the body’s cells against harmful substances such as drug side effects by neutralizing toxins.
Foods as our Source of Vitamin C
There are foods that are high in Vitamin C. Among those that are highest on Vitamin C are: acerola cherries, rose hips, bell peppers, blackcurrants, parcley and kiwis. The best time to eat these foods is when they are in season and fresh. However, since they may not be available year-round, there are alternatives you can rely on to ensure that you are getting the amount of Vitamin C that your body needs.
One option is to get your fruits and vegetables through frozen alternatives. While this can allow you to get your Vitamin C, it also depends on you being able to do something with the frozen fruits and vegetables before consuming them. For some people, relying on frozen food is not a viable option as they don’t have the time to devote to thawing, blending, and cooking the ingredients.
Vitamin C Supplements
Another option is Vitamin C supplements. The advantage of taking vitamin C supplements is that they can become a convenient way of getting your vitamins without stressing over what you are eating. Moreover, many Vitamin C supplements also contain other essential vitamins and nutrients.
The most common Vitamin C supplements available on the market come in ascorbic acid, though you can get them in other forms, including magnesium ascorbate and calcium ascorbate. Ascorbic acid is the most popularly used as it is water-soluble, and any extra vitamin C that your body doesn’t need is excreted with the urine. The issue with ascorbic acid is that it must be replenished frequently, or else the benefits of the Vitamin C aren’t going to be obtained.
Mineral ascorbates, such as calcium ascorbate and magnesium ascorbate, are mineral salts of the ascorbic acid. When Vitamin C is combined with calcium and magnesium in this way, it makes the ascorbic acid gentler on the lining of the stomach by neutralizing its acidic effect. It is also essential to know that mineral ascorbates are both readily absorbed and well metabolized by the body’s cells.
Many people believe that calcium ascorbate will increase their chances of developing kidney stones. However, this is a misconception. The primary cause of kidney stones is calcium oxalate, most commonly found in beets, coffee, chocolate, and soda. Another major factor in the formation of kidney stones is an inadequate amount of water being taken in by the body. Of the several clinical studies that have been performed, there has been no correlation between an increase in kidney stones and supplemental Vitamin C intake.
In addition to the forms of vitamin C that we have already looked at, there is ascorbyl palmitate. Ascorbyl palmitate is a fat-soluble form of vitamin C that is more effectively absorbed by the body’s cells than the water-soluble alternatives. When enriched with ascorbyl palmitate, the cell membranes are better protected against aging and diseases as they are better able to resist oxidative damage.
What to Consider when Taking Vitamin C Supplements
When you take a vitamin supplement containing ascorbyl palmitate over a water-soluble option, such as ascorbic acid, it can reach more places in the body, and the effects will last longer. When choosing a multi-nutrient or Vitamin C supplement, try and find one with a minimum of 25 percent of the Vitamin C in its fat-soluble or ascorbyl palmitate form. Finding a form of vitamin C that meets this requirement is challenging, as a vast majority of the supplements on the market contain little to no Ascorbyl palmitate.
When it comes to protecting your health, ensuring that you are getting a synergistically formulated Vitamin C supplement will make all the difference.
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