More Than Oranges, The Superpowers of Vitamin C
If Vitamin C were a person, she would be the antithesis of cool, the bookish sensible type, with a cheery attitude, who enjoys helping people. She wouldn't be the first person you'd invite to a party or even want to hang out with. And yet, when times are tough, and you need a friend you can count on, she’d be there with a sunny smile and basket of tangerines. C isn't the least bit trendy. Yet, it's one of the most widely known and researched supplements. Because it's so ubiquitous, it's easy to ignore, leaving its magnificent benefits hiding in plain sight.
When it comes to supporting overall immunity, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid and ascorbate) is a must-have. According to Dr. Inna Lukyanovsky, bestselling author of "Crohn's and Colitis Fix" and “Digestive Reset,” there's a potpourri of reasons that natural practitioners recommend taking C, such as “brain health, including depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and attention deficit disorders,” also the doctor says C is beneficial for cardiovascular health because it's “a great antioxidant to help support vessels and improve blood flow.” Additional benefits include helping to heal certain infections and allergies.
“It's not surprising that “now during Covid-19 times, we find vitamin C coming to the rescue once again. Even some hospitals incorporated vitamin C into their protocols,” says Dr. Lukyanovsky. So it's important to maintain healthy C levels. According to the Mayo Clinic the recommended daily dose of C for adults is 65-90 milligrams, and the high limit is 2000 milligrams. Generally C is considered safe but be mindful not to take mega doses as they may still be harmful. *Check with your doctor for appropriate dosing.
Since the body doesn't create C itself, you can find it in specific foods. Acidic citrus fruits like lemons, grapefruits, and tangerines are known for their abundance of C. You can also find C in a rainbow of other fruits and vegetables; check out the list on My Food Data, of Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin C. Surprisingly, it includes: guava, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes and kale. Usually, consuming vitamins from food sources rather than in supplement form is considered more effective for absorption; however, a New Zealand research study investigated the bioavailability of synthetic versus natural C, and found it made no difference if C was a supplement or from a food source. The body absorbed it equally.
If you're looking to supplement C, the options can be dizzying. To take some of the mystery out of the process, read on...
These are plant compounds with antioxidant activity that when taken with C have a synergistic effect and help with absorption. Find them in black currants, green peppers, cherries, as well as other fruits and vegetables. In supplement form, “Citrus bioflavonoids in combination with vitamin C enhance their work against free radicals and are great for cardiovascular and immune system health,” Says Dr. Lukyanovsky.
If you have a sensitive stomach you may want to consider Ester C, since Dr. Lukyanovsky says, “Ester C can utilize calcium ascorbate and/or sodium ascorbate into a product that will ease up stomach irritation.” Note: this is a patented form of C, not found in foods.
One of Dr. Lukyanovsky's favorite forms of C works in a unique way, “The delivery form in liposomes are spheres made of phospholipids, the primary building blocks of cell membranes,” so “they easily bond with cell membranes to deliver a way of great absorption,” says the doctor.
Rose hips can be taken on their own, or combined with other forms of C in supplements. What's the advantage? “Rose hips are very rich in vitamin C and absorbed well. Rose hip tea is so beneficial and delightful,” according to Dr. Lukyanovsky.
Note: whichever kind you choose, keep in mind, Dr. Lukyanovsky likes, “buffered vitamin C forms to take personally and always recommend to my clients to take it after meals to avoid gastric irritation.”
You might think of C as a whole body nutrient that renews the mind and body, even beautifies. In skincare, C has powerful antioxidant benefits, protecting delicate skin from free radicals; it's also said to boost collagen, lessen fine lines and wrinkles. However, as a cosmetic, C is extremely volatile. Sometimes it can expire before reaching your store shelves. So choose high quality, small batch products, preferably packaged in dark glass. For C that doesn’t spoil fast, consider powder form. Just a tiny bit added to a product of your choosing, goes a long way boosting your C. It’s a great alternative to keep your C fresh, and allows you to keep a long lasting supply on hand. Also note: that while rose hips are rich in C, rosehip seed oil does not contain C. Although, it does have beta carotene, and naturally quenches dry skin.