Vitamin C is the best-known vitamin. It supports your immune system but is also indispensable for your energy level, radiant skin and so much more. How much does your body need from this multi-tasker, when is extra vitamin C intake necessary and what happens in case of a deficiency? Read below everything you need to know about this essential ingredient.
What is vitamin C?
This water-soluble vitamin is also known by the name of its natural form: L-ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is good for a lot of different things in your body. It will surprise you how diverse this nutrient is.
Did you know that the name ascorbic acid is derived from a (not) and scorbutus (scurvy)? In the eighteenth century it was discovered that a long-term deficiency of this vitamin was the cause of scurvy and citrus fruits and sauerkraut were taken on long sea voyages to prevent this.
What is vitamin C good for?
It is a real multi-tasker and is used in various parts of the body as a necessary nutrient.
Vitamin C is good for:
- The immune system
- Production of collagen (e.g. bones, blood vessels, skin, etc.).
- Reduction of fatigue
- Protection against oxidative stress
- Absorption of iron
This vitamin contributes to the immune system in everyday life, but especially after intensive physical efforts. After heavy physical exertion, a reduced resistance is not abnormal. The body then has to endure a lot of stress, consume a lot more nutrients at a fast pace and have to recover from this depletion. Extra vitamin C then helps maintain your resistance during and after intense physical exertion.
It is also responsible for the production of collagen, which is important for the blood vessels, bones, cartilage, gum and teeth. And last but not least, in this way it is also very important for the elasticity of the skin.
In addition, L-ascorbic acid helps reduce fatigue and the energy-yielding metabolism. It supports normal psychological function and the nervous system.
Perhaps the best known characteristic is that this essential nutrient is a very powerful antioxidant. This means that it protects body cells against oxidative stress and damage. In the same way, it is also able to convert reduced vitamin E back into its antioxidative form.
The vitamin also helps to increase the absorption of iron. This is an important mineral that many people are lacking. Iron is often present in food, but the absorption in the body is not always as good, vitamin C can help with that.
Vitamin C and nutrition. What is it in?
We cannot produce vitamin C ourselves, unlike some animals, and are therefore completely dependent on our dietary intake. Fortunately, you can find it in many foods. The best-known sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits such as oranges, but it is also abundant in other fruits, vegetables (cabbage, peppers…) and potatoes.
However, it is necessary to be careful with different preparation processes to prevent the loss of this vitamin. Because this vitamin is water-soluble, vegetables lose a lot of vitamin C during cooking in water. When heated, this substance can also be lost. Don’t leave sliced pieces of fruit or vegetables standing too long, because airborne boiling can oxidize vitamin C on the surface.
How much vitamin C does your body need and what if there is a shortage?
For healthy adults, the reference intake (or recommended daily allowance) is 80 mg per day. Under normal circumstances, this is enough, but one often benefits from an extra supplement. Vitamin C is in fact a gift for your natural resistance. When you make intense physical efforts or are under a lot of stress, you consume a lot more vitamin C. Smokers also consume more of this substance.
You may find this nutrient in many foods, but it is important that you have a healthy and varied diet, such as different fruit and vegetables every day, if you want to absorb enough of this substance. In reality, this is not achievable for everyone.
A shortage can lead to reduced resistance, fatigue, joint complaints or a reduced skin condition such as poor wound healing, bruising…
What about vitamin C in food supplements?
When you are not getting enough vitamin C in your diet, a food supplement can be a good addition. But which form of vitamin C should you choose? There are different forms of vitamin C, and which one is suitable for your depends in part on the application and on the duration of use.
- L’ascorbic acid
L-ascorbic acid is the acidic form of vitamin C found naturally in fruits and vegetables, making this form easily absorbable. However, an important difference is that vitamin C in fruits and vegetables is surrounded by several additional nutrients and phytonutrients that can provide extra synergy. For this reason, it is also important to use natural vitamin C and possibly combine it with citrus bioflavonoids for optimal absorption in the body. Extracts of acerola (Malpighia glabra L.) and camu camu (Myrciaria dubia), among others, are good natural sources of vitamin C.
- Ascorbates or buffered vitamin C
Ascorbates are compounds derived from ascorbic acid in that they are a combination of ascorbic acid and minerals. The combination with minerals makes it less acidic and milder on the stomach and intestines. This makes the use of ascorbates advisable when taking higher doses of vitamin C, starting at 1,000 mg per day. Common ascorbates include sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium ascorbate.
- Liposomal vitamin C
Another form is liposomal vitamin C. Here, vitamin C is encapsulated in a tiny fat-like sphere, which protects the vitamin C and allows the sphere to be recognized as the body’s own cells. This also provides better stability and more targeted and better absorption.
Can you take in too much?
Since it is water-soluble, you cannot store L-ascorbic acid in your body and if you have too much of it, you simply excrete it out. The fact that your body cannot store this substance makes a daily intake of this vitamin important.
Nevertheless, symptoms can arise when you take in an overdose of vitamin C. This can lead to digestive problems, usually this only occurs with very high doses for example more than 2000 mg in one intake. Kidney patients should also watch out for high intakes of vitamin C. It is important to always take the correct dosage as recommended on the package or by the treating health professional.
NutriVit C Forte
- One capsule contains as much as 500 mg of vitamin C.
- 100% natural and highly absorbable vitamin C.
- Extra synergy with the whole fruit of Camu Camu and Acerola 100% organic whole food vitamin C with natural co-factors, enzymes and phytonutrients.
- Scientifically proven quality.
NutriVit C Liposomal
- One stick contains 200 mg of vitamin C.
- Liposomal vitamin C in a convenient instant stick with a delicious elderberry lime flavor.
- Increased bioavailability and stability of vitamin C due to its liposomal form.
- An easy-to-take solution for your daily dose of vitamin C.