Vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid) benefits go beyond fighting occasional fatigue as it helps your body absorb the nutrients it requires, supports collagen, carnitine and catecholamine biosynthesis, while fighting bacteria and oxidation.
Many types and brands of vitamin C are available on the market; however, it is important to check the composition as some of them are not efficient. Understanding the difference between Artificial, natural or natural synthetic but also between fruit content and actual vitamin C content.
It is probably not necessary to explain why natural is best; however, it is important to highlight the necessity to read the labels. Regulations often allow writing “Natural” on the label as long as there is at least 10% of natural extracts in a product, which as some studies show, is too little to be optimal
1- Vitamin C is essential for life
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant to fight against free radicals and aging otherwise called Oxidative Stress. It is an essential element for body functions. While cell, also called leukocytes, contains a lot of Vitamin C. In case of disease, infection, or trauma, vitamin C reserves are easily depleted.
Vitamin C works at many levels:
- Support natural defenses and boost the immune system
- Fights free-radicals
- Stimulates physical and intellectual well being
- Supports the healing process and prevents infections
- The repair and growth of healthy tissues
- Aid in collagen formation as well as healthy bones & gums, skin, hair, joints & blood vessels.
- Help to increase iron absorption
- Stimulating and tranquilizing properties, it helps to fight stress and insomnia.
Vitamin C helps in the mobilization of white cells and neurofil, making them more prone to fight bacteria. It is also essential to the synthesis of antibodies. At high doses, it has an antiviral effect. Vitamin C has also been shown to have other benefits including chronic diseases, depression, allergies, arthritis, and hypertension.
2- The human body is unable to produce and store Vitamin C
Vitamin C has a very similar structure to glucose. Most plants and animals produce their own Vitamin C through biosynthesis, however, the human body (and a few other mammals) are not able to go through this process due to the lack of one enzyme called Gulanalactone-oxidase).
After intestinal absorption, vitamin C is allocated in the tissues, but as it can’t be stored, it is important to renew intake.
With lifestyle changes, stress and environmental pollution, our needs in vitamin C, essential to body functions, have increased. In today’s modern world, it is impossible to guarantee the quality and freshness of the food we buy in stores. Transformation, sometimes as simple as storage destroys Vitamin C content, which explains why most people have a vitamin C deficiency. It is then very important to find new sources of Vitamin C.
Without vitamin C, the body is unable to produce collagen.
3- Vitamin C is one of the most unstable and sensitive vitamins
Vitamin C is heat, air, and water sensitive and these can affect its potency and effectiveness.
Fruits and Vegetable going through a transformation process (canned, frozen or dehydrated) are blanched first which destroys 95% of their vitamin C content. Fresh spinach left at room temperature after being harvested loose up to 30% of their Vitamin C content in one day!
During food preparation, the simple action of peeling and cutting fruits and vegetables engages an oxidation process that destroys a large part of the vitamin C content. During the cooking process, about 50% of the vitamin C content is lost.
4- Acerola is the fruit with the highest sources of vitamin C
Acerola (also called Barbados cherry), is the fruit of a small tree from tropical Americas. It looks exactly like a cherry.
It is the richest natural source of Vitamin C, with the highest known concentration. The pulp of the fruit is 20 to 30 times more concentrated in vitamin C than an orange or a lemon. It is also rich in vitamin B6, B1, A but also in flavonoids and minerals (iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium).
Its vitamin C is bioassimilable, which guarantees its efficiency and assimilation by the organism (in the contrary to artificial vitamin C).
The acerola tree is known as a “safe” medicinal plant with rare side effects (occasional diarrhea with overdosage due to its “detox” property). It has no counter-indications.
Consuming fresh Acerola cherries is not easy and will not be efficient because of the sensitivity and instability of Vitamin C (as mentioned earlier). It is best to consume it in the form of a complement when Vitamin C has been carefully extracted and preserved.
The quantity of acerola is not equal to the quantity of vitamin C it contains (i.e. for 1000 mg of Acerola will only give your 250 mg of vitamin C extracted). It is thus important to read labels very carefully as the content of Vitamin C is not equal to the value of natural fruit that is used. I.e. 500 mg of Acerola cherry doesn’t mean you will get 500 mg of Vitamin C. You should always look at the content level of Vitamin C and not of the fruit used.
Look for labels with titrated dry extracts that guarantee the consistency of the Vitamin C content from one production batch to the other.
5- They are many different forms of Vitamin C – Natural, artificial or synthetic? what is the difference?
There are 5 different types of vitamin C:
- Artificial – A molecule created to be similar in shape and structure to natural Vitamin C. its only benefit is that it is cheap. Though of different structure as natural Vitamin C, it has very different biological properties and they can’t substitute one another. Artificial vitamin C remains as waste in the body and contains adjuvants and excipients that may have negative effects on the organism.
- Synthetic – (mix of artificial and natural) – often called “delayed effect” vitamin C. Body assimilation is not optimum because of the artificial vitamin C content.
- Natural – It is the best form of Vitamin C you can consume. Perfectly assimilated & absorbed by the body. It doesn’t create any waste in the body and doesn’t have any hyperactive effect. It is however very important to read labels very carefully as the content of Vitamin C is not equal to the content of natural fruit that is used.
- Natural Synthetic – Rather than creating a Vat C molecule, this form is extracted from the glucose of natural components (mostly cereals). is often called Sodium Ascorbate or Calcium Ascorbate etc.…
- Mixed synthetic A mix of Natural and Natural Synthetic. The main advantage is the compromise in terms of Price/ Quality as it is a mix of natural vitamin C and Synthetic Natural, both being of natural source, thus natural.
6- Vitamin C has no hyperactive and excitability effect
Do you believe that Vitamin C will prevent you from sleeping if you take it after 4 pm?
Well, many people think so. Where does the misconception come from?
Vitamin C supports the synthesis process of noradrenaline and dopamine, neurotransmitters of the brain involved with the state of vigilance, attention, concentration, and awakening. So it seemed right at the time of printing instructions of use to indicate hyper-excitability as a possible side effect. However, this is not fully proven.
Clinical trials analyzing brain activities of subjects given 4 mg of vitamin C before bedtime doesn’t show any “change” or functional disturbance of their sleep pattern. Other studies concluded on students in medicine, comparing the effects of Vitamin C, secobartial (a sleeping pill) and placebo have shown the same results.
On the contrary, it has been proven that vitamin C has a positive impact on stress and cortisol levels promoting relaxation for falling asleep.
It is preferable to use natural Vit C as some artificial ones contain caffeine, which could induce disturbance of sleep.
7- Fruit content doesn’t mean vitamin content
RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for Vitamin C is 105 mg/ day (adults).
Always make the difference between fruit content and vitamin C content. Most supplements indicate 500 mg of vitamin C; however, it is often the weight of the tablet in which the vitamin C (often synthetic) is about 120 mg. This may be an explanation for attractive prices of some products.
Always look for a formula that contains at least 300 mg, preferably with active ingredients having a synergistic action and check the composition and origin of the product.
In conclusion, there is a difference to take Vitamin C as a nutrient, preferably from a natural source to obtain the best benefits (best assimilation, no wastes in the body).
Vitamin C alone does not cure everything, however, it supports cellular functions and will help potentiate any treatment or therapy you are using.
We have the ideal Vitamin C formula:
- Guarantee of 500 mg of natural vitamin C content – 230 mg from Acerola fruit.
- Supports natural defenses,
- Prevention and fighting infections
- Strong antioxidant and anti-aging properties
- Stimulate body functions including metabolism and cognition
- Support brain balance, combat stress and sleep issues (insomnia)
- No excitability
- Bioavailability and biocompatibility
- Suitable for all ages with no side effects
Each individual needs to assess his or her own daily requirements. Ask your pharmacist or consult your medical doctor for advice.
The content of this article is given as an educational purpose and is not intended to diagnose or cure.
Image Source: Pixabay
Vitamin C – Micronutrients Information Center – Linus Pauling Institute
“source translated from VitaminC: essential to life”
Vitamin C – Micronutriments Information center – Linus Pauling Institute (consulté le 22 avril 2015)
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