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What You Should Know About Vitamin C
We all know that vitamin C does a body good. It’s long been touted as an immune remedy, a skin enhancer, and an A-list antioxidant. But what are the true, documented health benefits of vitamin C? And what are the best sources? Is there a difference between chemically produced vitamin C and natural vitamin C from food? In this article, we’ll dig deeper to shed some new light on one of the oldest, but mightiest of vitamins.
TOP 10 HEALTH BENEFITS OF VITAMIN C
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is probably best known for its popularity during cold and flu season. But there’s so much more to this well-loved vitamin. Here’s 10 remarkable ways vitamin C can support you and why daily supplementation is so valuable for your health and well-being.
Collagen. Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen, which is not only great for healthy skin but is an important structural component of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone.
Mood. Vitamin C supports the natural and healthy production of feel-good chemicals to support healthy mood levels.
Energy. Vitamin C is necessary for healthy energy production. It does this on a cellular level by supporting the beneficial process of turning fat into energy.
Brain Health. The brain requires a regular supply of vitamin C to stay healthy. It will literally steal vitamin C from other parts of your body—that’s how important it is for supporting healthy neuron development and neurotransmitter production.
Memory & Cognition. As you get older, higher vitamin C levels in your body may support healthy memory and cognitive function.
Blood Flow. As an antioxidant, vitamin C supports healthy blood vessel integrity for your heart and whole body.
Histamine. Histamine is a reactive compound produced by your body in response to an irritant or allergen and is involved in allergies. Vitamin C can offer support to help stabilize healthy histamine levels.
Exercise Recovery. As an antioxidant, vitamin C can mitigate free radicals caused by exercise, thereby supporting a healthier recovery.
Enzyme Cofactor: Vitamin C contributes to many important and healthy enzyme reactions. These reactions lead to your body’s unique natural manufacturing of many beneficial compounds, such as norepinephrine, carnitine, amino acids, and several important hormones.
Immune Health: Last but not least, research supports the use of vitamin C to support a healthy immune response during cold & flu season, especially when the body is under extra stress.
DIET & SUPPLEMENTS: WHERE TO GET VITAMIN C
As you can see, vitamin C is clearly essential to life. And here’s a little known fact: humans are one of the very few mammals (along with guinea pigs and monkeys) that cannot manufacture vitamin C on our own. As such, we must get all of our vitamin C in ample quantities from our food and supplements. Common foods rich in vitamin C include strawberries, broccoli, papaya, citrus fruits, red and green peppers, kale, brussels sprouts, along with most fruits. Then there’s the highly concentrated superfruits like camu camu, acerola cherries, and amla berries. Supplement wise, vitamin C is available in many forms nowadays. In the 1930’s, Nobel Prize winning biochemist Dr. Szent-Gyorgyi discovered ascorbic acid and figured out how to synthetically replicate the naturally occurring molecule. Today, the majority of all vitamin C is chemically produced ascorbic acid (often derived from genetically modified corn sugar). It can also be further chemically modified with minerals like calcium and magnesium to dampen its acidity and reduce digestive side effects. Then there’s fat-soluble vitamin C, which is yet another form of synthetic and chemically produced ascorbic acid.
THE MISSING LINK WITH MOST VITAMIN C SUPPLEMENTS
However, while there might be a time and place for these types of synthetic vitamin C products, there’s a caveat. Vitamin C in these forms is an “isolate” and produced in a laboratory. This means that, unlike in food, vitamin C is hanging out all by its lonesome. In nature, vitamins never exist as single components that act in isolation. Instead, they work together in synergy with other important plant compounds to nourish and protect the body and produce the desired health benefits. The nourishing fruit and plant-based compounds that accompany natural vitamin C play a very important role. There’s the flavonoids called quercetin, rutin and hesperidin—the trio often found in tangy citrus fruits. There’s anthocyanins and proanthocyanins—the darlings of darkly pigmented berries. And this is just the tip of the iceberg; there are dozens and dozens of these remarkable compounds that support the body. Although isolated and chemically produced vitamin C has value as an antioxidant, research clearly shows there’s an amplified effect of the whole and a rightful place for the natural, whole-food forms of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a powerful compound and essential for life. It helps protect our cells, skin, hearts, immune cells and more. Load up on natural vitamin C rich foods, which contain a cornucopia of flavonoids and other nutrients for optimal health. When it comes to supplementation for everyday wellness support, we recommend a formula derived from whole-food sources like camu camu and acerola. Research clearly shows there’s a powerful synergy in the real thing. Nature knows best.
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