We all know Vitamin C is important for the body. It has to come from our diet as it is not a nutriet we can make and it has so many functions its difficult to know where to start! It is used to treat so many conditions and the research and anecdotal evidence behind it as a nutrient is vast. As a Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist I look at all of my clients individual needs before prescribing any supplement or food changes. It is recommended that you consult a professional Naturopath or Nutritional therapist before making any changes yourself.
What Does it Do?
The C stands for many things
Citrus (from where it is known mostly to be found),
Coughs, Colds and Cancer (it is central to stimulating the immune system and production of immune cells. Along with its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties it may help to prevent and heal many illnesses)
Collagen (of which it is a main co-factor in producing),
Controversy (over which form to take, how much to take and whether it works against cancer etc),
Contained in most fresh foods (it is water-soluble so is sometimes lost when the food is cooked),
Co-factor (from collagen, connective tissue, red blood cell, bone, teeth and gums, immune cell to energy production vitamin C is found in most chemical reactions withing the body),
Cholesterol (it regulates cholesterol breakdown ),
Cell (maintains health of cell membranes so reduces tumour spreading, is a powerful anti-oxidant and helps in wound healing)
Calm (supports the adrenal’s and ovaries)
Clear (may detox many toxic metabolites and helps to excrete heavy metals. It may also protects against nitrate digestion)
Cognitive (Helps regulate brain function and messages to and from the central nervous system)
Where is it Found?
Mainly found from plant sources. Generally in fruits and vegetables that are vividly coloured. Especially orange and yellow, green (leafy veg) and blues (blueberries and blackcurrants). Most plants will contain vitamin C to protect their cell membranes and produce energy. It is very susceptible to heat, light and movement. The vitamin C content is diminished by these factors. So the fresher the produce the better. The fruit with the highest levels is the Kakadu plum from Australia closely followed by Camu Camu a plant with berries a little like cherry’s that contain high levels (normally found dried or in powdered form (Vitamin C is water soluble) then Sea Buckthorn (a berry) and Arcola cherry. Then the fruit and vegetables are all much lower. Interestingly until fairly recently we were consuming enough Vitamin C through diet alone. Consuming less fresh and more industrialised and processed food has great increased our need and decreased our intake of Vitamin C.
Factors that deplete it (increasing demand)
Smoking (it is a cell membrane protector and anti-oxidant), stress, acute and chronic inflammatory conditions, allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, heavy metal toxicity, exercise, diabetes, wounds, burns (including sun burn) and high blood sugar.
Ascorbic acid is the most widely available form of vitamin C- it is very acidic on the body. Better to supplement with the buffered Sodium ascorbate which is easier for the body to absorb and use. Beware however most vitamin c is derived from corn and mostly GMO corn. Try to source non- GMO corn sources for supplementation. Contact your practitioner (Nutritionist or Naturopath) for dosage advice.