About Vitamin C
Let’s do a quick overview of the importance of Vitamin C.
Well firstly, Vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) is a water soluble vitamin that humans must obtain through our diet. It is required for the synthesis of collagen which forms the structural component of bone, blood vessels, tendons, and ligaments.
Vitamin C also plays a critical role in our brain in the synthesis of neurotransmitters which directly affects our mood. Furthermore, Vitamin C has two other important functions. It helps transport fat to cells for conversion to energy (i.e. fat burning), and is a highly effective antioxidant.
Benefits of Vitamin C
As an antioxidant, Vitamin C is important because it protects our tissues from harmful toxins, pollutants and even our bodies own free radicals which are by-products of normal metabolism. As such it is believed by the scientific community that people with diets high in Vitamin C will be less susceptible to many kinds of cancer.
There have been many scientific studies with Vitamin C and its effects on the common cold. Most have found Vitamin C supplementation to improve the prevention of colds but not necessarily reduce the duration of a cold. Therefore, it’s important to always be aware of your Vitamin C intake.
Natural Sources vs Supplementation
Natural sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits (such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons), broccoli, sweet red pepper, tomatoes and strawberries. Surprisingly, there is little scientific evidence to show natural sources of being more effective then Vitamin C supplements. So if you find you can’t get enough fruits/vegetables on a daily basis then Vitamin C supplementation is not such a bad idea.
Side Effects of Too Much Vitamin C
Because Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, any excess is eliminated through our urine. There isn’t much conclusive evidence therefore that too much Vitamin C is a bad thing, but some studies have shown that if you are regularly taking more than 1000mg of Vitamin C every day then you have a greater likelihood of getting kidney stones.
The only other negative effect of Vitamin C could be drug interactions such as with some birth control pills. So always consult with a physician if you are taking medication and any kind of supplementation.
Try and get at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily to get your Vitamin C. However, you may want to supplement your diet with Vitamin C especially during the cold season.
Here are some Vitamin C supplements which I recommend: