The best vitamin C supplements should come from as close to the natural source as possible, not only for the highest absorption in the body, but also to be sure they are free of added chemicals, additives, and fillers.
After all, supplementation is supposed to be something you do to boost your health, not compromise it even more, and with so many synthetic supplements out there it really is worth doing your homework before you purchase 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; it is a vital nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant, helping to 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, meaning your immune system will suffer and you will become much more susceptible 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 kiwis, 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 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. Take vitamin C alongside other natural anti aging supplements for extra anti aging protection.
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 your body does 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, or best of all GIVE UP. Also if you have recently had an operation you will need more vitamin C than usual for healing, and this is where it may be wise to take your vitamin C at very high doses temporarily.
HOW MUCH DO I NEED?
Between 200-1000mg per day is optimal dosage depending on your needs, and preferably at intervals throughout the day – due to it being a water soluble vitamin too much in one go will just end up being excreted through the urine.
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, therefore you need to find a level that suits you and your own gut tolerance.
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 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! Having a little knowledge (especially when it comes to vitamin C) and taking some care with what you choose to buy when it comes to supplements can pay dividends, and will also ensure that you don’t end up wasting your money.
Below is a list of the different types of vitamin C available, what they contain, which are the best for health, and very importantly their bio-availability 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 conducted on ascorbic acid that have linked high doses (1000mg+ per day) to genotoxins that can lead to cancer and reduced endurance due to its interference with antioxidant enzymes. Another study found that doses of just 500g a day of this particular kind of C to lead to a higher chance of artery thickening. So probably wise to stay away from this one, especially if you need high doses.
This is sodium bonded with ascorbic acid. Sodium dependent transporters in the body are used to absorb vitamin C, and this is 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, therefore it may be better for those who have sensitive tummies. It certainly seems like a better option, but it’s still synthetic and so not natural to the body.
LIPOSMAL VITAMIN C
This one mixes lecithin with vitamin C, therefore making it fat soluble which helps increase the C’s absorption. However, usually it is soy lecithin bonded with ascorbic acid so it is yet another synthetic vitamin C.
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 and totally unnatural 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 as taking too much this is only possible with synthetic versions such as all of the above it is yet another reason to stay away).
If you are going to take synthetic C for reasons such as wound healing or illness; or where high doses are needed then you may very well only get the high amounts needed for this from synthetic C, but this should then only be used short term. Be sure to take some time off every few weeks for a few weeks, OR at least every couple of months or so as this should help negate any side effects.
What are the best vitamin C supplements?
Fortunately there are vitamin C supplements available 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, all of which actually ups the absorption of the vitamin C.
Mother nature knows what’s best… of course!
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 plant based diet with plenty of foods as close to nature as possible will help ensure you get a good array of phytochemicals, nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, AND vitamin C!
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 such synthetic sweeteners, fillers, colours, flavours, or preservatives that will just add to your 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 their absorption rate.
If you feel you could do with some Vitamin C in your life, and most of us could – especially during the winter months, then be sure you buy 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 rain forests 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.
And this is the type of vitamin C can also be used long term without risk of serious side effects.