The best vitamin C supplements should come from as close to nature as possible, not only for higher absorbability in the body, but also you really don’t want any nasty chemicals and additives in any of your supplements. After all, they are supposed to be something you do to boost your health NOT make it worse!
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, helping 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 we don’t get enough of them we simply won’t be firing on all cylinders, and our immune system will suffer. All this makes us 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 in 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, due to its role in collagen synthesis, thus 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 are a smoker you should take extra care to get enough of this vitamin, and 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 may be 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 you may need to be careful with it 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 and easily destroyed by the heat of the cooking process, and also the storage time from picking to plate. All this can make it harder to get an adequate supply into our cells even if we are eating fruits and vegetables on a regular basis.
This is why 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 you need have a little knowledge about this supplement and take some care with what you choose to buy. Below is a list of the different types of vitamin C on the market, what they contain, and what it all means.
- ASCORBIC ACID
The most common and synthetic form is ascorbic acid – this is its chemical name and it comes in the form of the actual stripped down and isolated molecule.
- SODIUM ASCORBATE
This is sodium bonded with ascorbic acid. Sodium dependent transporters in the body are used to absorb vitamin C, which is why they are paired together in some supplements – but the downside is they are usually synthetic.
- CALCIUM ASCORBATE
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.
- 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 because 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 (which 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, where high doses are needed, then you should probably take it just ‘short term‘ constantly and take some time off every few weeks for a few weeks 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, and these all 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 ‘The Healthiest Diet’.
What 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 your already overburdened toxic load.
It stands to reason that the closer to nature we can get with our supplements, the better they will be received by our bodies, 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, so you can be pretty sure it grows wild and hasn’t been tampered with by man.
If you have anything to add OR you know of any other great natural supplements then I would love to hear your thoughts. Please post in the comments section below. Thank you.