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Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that is not stored in the body, this means that you need to consume it on a daily basis whether through food or supplementation.  Vit C plays a vital role in the overall health and strength of the body. It promotes a strong immune system and helps maintain healthy/strong connective tissue. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, and protects your beautiful cells from damage caused by nasty free radicals. A severe deficiency results scurvy, a condition not seen too often now a days, as thankfully it only takes a small amount of Vit C to prevent it.

To appreciate Vit C fully, it’s important to know all the amazing work it does in the body.

Role of Vit C in the body

  • Strengthens the immune system, helping us fight colds and viruses.
  • Helps to keep us looking and feeling younger as it promotes healthy skin and collagen formation. Collagen is vital for healthy connective tissue such as muscles, joints, bones, blood vessels, skin and tendons.
  • Reduces inflammation in the body, which in turn reduces the development of disease.
  • Protects your cells against damage from free radicals, toxic chemicals and other pollutants.
  • It is believed to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn reduces overall stress levels.
  • It may even help to prevent cancer and heart disease.

 

Ok, so you may not have scurvy but you can still be lacking in this powerful vitamin? Yes absolutely, and over time it can play havoc with your health. Your body will give you indicators that you need to up your Vit C intake, all you have to do is listen.

Signs of Vit C deficiency

  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Lack of energy
  • Bleeding, tender and/or swollen gums
  • Easy bruising
  • Nose bleeds
  • Slow wound healing
  • Dry, rough and scaly skin
  • Muscle and joint pain

 

It’s always best to get your nutrients from food first whenever possible, and supplements second. There are so many delicious fruits and vegetables bursting with Vit C to choose from. It’s best to eat the following fruit and veg in their raw state to get the maximum levels of nutrients from them. And if you must cook them, lightly steam instead of boiling to retain more nutrients. Eat 2 to 3 portions a day of the following.

Plant sources of Vit C

  • Black currents
  • Black Berries
  • Peppers
  • Watercress
  • Kiwi
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Parsley
  • Pineapple
  • Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower

 

So just say you eat some Vit C rich foods every day, are you good to go? In theory yes, but you also have to take into account that the body can be robbed of Vit C.

Vit C Robbers

  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Pollution
  • Fried food

 

I’ve seen it time and time again, clients spending a fortune on expensive supplements only to cancel out their good efforts by eating too much acidic food, drinking too much alcohol or being super stressed. Supplements are not a replacement for wholefood, they are there to enhance your already healthy diet and lifestyle. They are fantastic for filling in any gaps you may have in your diet, because as we all know it not always possible to get it right every single day. Think of supplements are your safety net.

Taking all of this into consideration, if you feel you’d like to take a supplement just to be sure you’re getting enough Vit C on a daily basis then I would recommend the following. Ascorbic acid is a great form to take, it is slightly acidic in the gut and in large doses (5g plus) may not suit everyone. The ascorbate form (for example, calcium ascorbate or magnesium ascorbate) are also a good option, they are mildly alkaline and easier for the body to tolerate.

Dosage

The RDA (recommended daily allowance) is 60mg.

ODA (optimum daily allowance, recommended by Patrick Holdford) is 2,000mg.

There is a big difference here, always bear in mind that the RDA is how much you need to keep you alive, and the ODA is how much you need to thrive.