The best vitamin C supplements should come from as close to the natural source as possible for higher absorption in the body, and also to be sure they are of chemicals and additives.
After all, supplementation is supposed to be something you do to boost your health NOT make it worse, and with so many synthetic supplements out there it really is worth doing your homework before you purchase.
Therefore a bit of research before you buy any supplements is absolutely essential, and will ensure you are giving your body the top quality nutrition it deserves.
We all need a daily supply of vitamin C
Vitamin C is something that we all need, and acts as a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body from the free radical damage that causes diseases and accelerates the aging process.
Antioxidants are a vital part of the body’s defense system, and if you don’t get enough of them you simply won’t be firing on all cylinders and your immune system will suffer, making you much more receptive to illness and disease in the long run.
WHAT IS VITAMIN C?
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is found in abundance in fruits and vegetables. Some of the highest vitamin C foods are kiwi, citrus fruits, strawberries, papaya, bell peppers, leafy green veg, broccoli and mange tout.
A powerful antioxidant, and a water soluble vitamin, C helps the body with many of its processes, including wound healing, and the function and maintenance of blood vessels, skin, connective tissues and bone.
Vitamin C plays a blinder of a role when it comes to having youthful glowing skin, this is due to its role in collagen synthesis, making it a POWERFUL anti aging tool. Some studies also suggest it may play a role in the prevention and treatment of UV induced damage.
If you feel your skin could really use a boost, please check out my post ‘The Top 10 Anti Aging Supplements’.
Visible signs you may be lacking vitamin C
Not enough vitamin C in your diet can cause lethargy, bleeding gums, joint and bone pain, and slow wound healing. As vitamin C is water soluble our bodies do not store it, so therefore a constant supply is needed.
Smoking further depletes vitamin C stores, so if you’re a smoker you should take extra care to get enough of this vitamin, also, if you have recently had an operation you will need more vitamin C than usual for healing.
HOW MUCH DO I NEED?
Between 200-1000mg per day is optimal depending on your needs, and preferably at intervals throughout the day as too much in one go will just end up being excreted.
Vitamin C is not harmful to the body, and any excess will be secreted in the urine; however more than 500-1000mg per day could lead to gut problems such as diarrhea and belly ache, so be careful at first to find a level that suits you.
THE DIFFERENT FORMS OF VITAMIN C
Although vitamin C is in most fruits and vegetables it is often destroyed by the heat of the cooking process; and also in the storage time from picking to plate. All this can make it harder to get an adequate supply into the cells – even with eating fruits and vegetables on a regular basis.
This is where a good quality supplement can be useful – but be aware that not all vitamin C supplements are created equal – not by a long shot!
This is why having a little knowledge, and taking some care with what you choose to buy when it comes to supplements can pay dividends.
Below is a list of the different types of vitamin C on the market; what they contain; and which are the best for health, and very importantly, their bioavailability in the body.
The most common and synthetic form of vitamin C is ascorbic acid – this is its chemical name, and it comes in the form of the actual stripped down and isolated molecule.
This kind of vitamin C us usually derived from GMO corn and can cause problems when taken in high doses.
There have been certain studies done on ascorbic acid that have linked high doses (1000mg+ per day) to genotoxins that can lead to cancer; reduced endurance due to its interference with antioxidant enzymes; and another study found that doses of just 500g a day to lead to a higher chance of artery thickening.
This is sodium bonded with ascorbic acid. Sodium dependent transporters in the body are used to absorb vitamin C, and the reason why they are paired together in some supplements – but the downside is they are usually, yet again, synthetic.
Calcium ascorbate or Ester C as it is commonly referred to is supposed to be more gentler on the stomach than the others and may be better for those who are sensitive, and so seems a better option, BUT still synthetic.
LIPOSMAL VITAMIN C
This one mixes lecithin with vitamin C and therefore making it fat soluble, which helps increase the C’s absorption. However, usually it is soy lecithin bonded with ascorbic acid so therefore yet again, synthetic.
Cons of consuming synthetic vitamin C:
The problem with consuming these synthetic versions of vitamin C is it is very easy to go overboard as they often come in such high doses. A Swedish study has some evidence there may be a link of men being at higher risk of kidney stones if taking too much vitamin C (and this is usually only possible with synthetic versions such as all of the above).
If you are going to take synthetic C for reasons such as wound healing or illness, and where high doses are needed, then you should probably take it just ‘short term‘. Be sure to take some time off every few weeks for a few weeks OR after every couple of months or so. This should help negate any possible side effects.
BEST VITAMIN C SUPPLEMENTS:
There are types of vitamin C supplements that are derived directly from food sources, such as berries, rosehips, camu camu, and acerola berries.
All these have the added advantage of containing LOTS of other naturally occurring nutrients from the fruit itself, which actually ups the absorption of the vitamin C.
Mother nature knows what’s best!
This has a lot to do with the fact that good old mother nature usually puts together everything needed in a whole food for the highest bio availability and absorption. This is why eating a whole food diet that is as close to nature as possible will help ensure you get a good array of phytochemicals, nutrients, antioxidants and fiber.
For more on how to obtain this and exactly the types of food combinations you should be eating for health, vitality, and longevity please visit my page ‘Eating a Healthy Diet’.
What exactly are naturally derived vitamin C supplements?
With naturally derived, straight from the source products, you can be sure there are no chemical processes, AND no added nasties like synthetic sweeteners, fillers, colours, flavours, or preservatives that will just add to an already overburdened toxic load.
It stands to reason that the closer to nature you can get with your supplements, the better they will be received by your body and the higher the absorption rate.
If you feel you could do with some Vitamin C in your life, and most of us could, then make sure you but organically derived products STRAIGHT from the plant source.
I use camu camu because I find it absorbs well, is relatively cheap compared to some other organic products, and has absolutely NO side effects. Camu camu interestingly, is a berry that grows on a bush in and around the Amazon rainforest’s of Peru and Brazil. This is great news because it means you can be pretty sure it grows wild and hasn’t been tampered with by man.
This is the type of vitamin C you can use long term without risk of serious side effects.