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Essential facts about vitamin C

Essential facts about vitamin C
By Roma Bansil 6 months ago 15581 Views

Vitamin C has multiple benefits for our body, from supporting healthy skin to promoting a strong immune system. Whilst many foods contain vitamin C, it is increasingly evident given the trials and tribulations of modern day living, that we are not getting nearly enough to meet individual needs. Stress is around every corner and we are subjected to many environmental toxins in the home and outdoors. The food we eat is far removed from what food should be and the state of our health is declining constantly with chronic disease. Therefore our nutrient demands are ever increasing, and this includes the need for vitamin C.

What is vitamin C and what does it do?

Vitamin C; naturally found in foods as ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient that is required in our diets as our body cannot manufacture it. It is a water-soluble nutrient and is therefore not stored in the body so the body needs a constant supply.

There are many foods that contain vitamin C in varying degrees. Foods measured to be highest in vitamin C include papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, pineapple, oranges, kiwi, cantaloupe melon and cauliflower.[i]

Why does the body need vitamin C?

  • Antioxidant Role: Vitamin C is known broadly as an antioxidant, which means it has the ability to mop up free radicals before they cause damage to tissues in the body via inflammation. It is also able to support another well-known antioxidant - vitamin E. This helps our cells to stay protected from the process of oxidative stress, which is a natural part of our metabolism, detoxification, or energy production, but when in excess, can be very damaging.
  • Immunity: Vitamin C also plays an important role in immunity by supporting numerous cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune systems. This helps keep chronic disease at bay and it helps us respond quickly to acute illnesses and infections. Extra vitamin C may be particularly useful if you exercise a lot. This is because after intense physical exercise the immune system works to raise inflammation to aid the repair and building of muscles.
  • Collagen formation: Vitamin C is required for the formation of collagen in the body. This contributes to the maintenance of healthy blood vessels, bones, cartilage, skin, gums and teeth of which collagen is a vital structural component.
  • Aids iron absorption: A recent HFMA (Health Food Manufacturers' Association) Health of the Nation Survey showed that 49% of individuals didn’t know that a lack of iron can lead to anaemia despite the rise in vegetarians and vegans around the country. Therefore, it is important to note that the uptake of iron can be increased by the presence of vitamin C in the diet.
  • Energy production: Vitamin C is involved in energy metabolism and helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue. It is a vital nutrient for our adrenal glands, which regulate a balanced stress response in the body. In chronic stress, the balance of our adrenal hormones can be affected, leading to fatigue. Additionally, through its role in reducing oxidative stress caused by excess stress and toxic exposure, vitamin C helps to decrease overall burden and energy demands on the body.
  • Nervous and cognitive: Vitamin C supports the normal functioning of the nervous system and hence psychological function. It has been suggested that vitamin C deficiency may be involved in neurological and mental health conditions.[ii]

So why supplement? Are we not getting enough?

With the growing demands of the modern world we are much more prone to having a lower vitamin C status and there are many reasons for this:

  • Latent, active or frequent infections[iii]
  • Toxins: environmental pollutants, cosmetics, domestic products, smoking[iv]
  • Medications: aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Stress: remember we all perceive this in different ways but it will still have an effect
  • Poor diet: refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine, trans fats, processed foods[v]
  • Chronic disease: lowering body’s defenses, more susceptible
  • Nutrient decline in foods due to soil depletion, intensive farming and long food storage.

Given the above, one thing is clear; we need to put back what is missing to make up for the deficit.

Signs and symptoms of low vitamin C can include weakness and fatigue, low immunity and recurrent infections, chronic inflammation and weak blood vessels (due to decreased collagen production[vi]). Weak blood vessels can lead to easy bruising, excessive bleeding, bleeding gums, and broken facial capillaries (spider veins).

To help you choose which vitamin C is most suited to you, please see our products below:

Given the differing functions of vitamin C, delivering these in different forms and at different doses can help with your individual specific needs.

  • We have capsules, tablets and powder forms of vitamin C to enable flexibility of dosing
  • We tend to use magnesium ascorbate since this is a low acidity, buffered form and therefore gentle on the stomach and well tolerated
  • We often include bioflavonoids such as bilberry which work synergistically to facilitate better absorption and utilisation of vitamin C - almost like putting vitamin C back in its natural environment

Vitamin C Rosehip Complex

The Vitamin C Rosehip Complex is a great tasting and high potency powdered supplement that is suitable for daily use. What makes this supplement different is its addition of minerals, flavonoids from rosehip and concentrated berry extracts, providing a range of naturally-occurring micronutrients and phytochemicals, on top of 1000mg of vitamin C. The additional zinc and manganese help support the immune system and protect from harmful free radicals. It is also a perfect vegan/vegetarian version of our collagen complex; if you are looking to support normal collagen formation as described earlier. Readily absorbable, citrus free and boasting all of the benefits of a powder, as described above, it makes this formulation titratable to your specific vitamin C needs. Children can also enjoy this product from 4 years old at a dosage of ¼ scoop.

Vitamin C Powder

Our Vitamin C powder is a BioCare classic all-rounder; its simple formulation has no other ingredients making it hypoallergenic. It’s perfect for those who have difficulty swallowing capsules or tablets and it’s easy to take since it can be mixed into water, a smoothie, or mixed into semi-solid foods e.g. yoghurt. It is readily absorbable, citrus free and buffered, making it a low acidity form. It delivers 1606mg of vitamin C in just 1/3 of a teaspoon, which can be used as a therapeutic daily dose or with the guidance of a healthcare professional. Being a powder it also allows for the dose to be split effortlessly throughout the day depending on your needs. Likewise, the dose can be titrated right down for those of you that are more sensitive or for children, teens or the elderly. The powder can be used in a low and slow fashion to enhance vitamin C status in the body in a more controlled manner or for children from 3 years old who only need a pinch.

Vitamin C 1000

The Vitamin C 1000 is a great daily high potency supplement delivering the basics in a tablet form. With 803mg of vitamin C this is great for those of you that need a potent daily dose of vitamin C in a quick and easy to take form. The dose can be increased depending on needs e.g. more can be used for immune support at different times of the year. These are citrus free, buffered and also include bioflavonoids from bilberry which can help blood vessel health, and grapeseed extract.

Vitamin C 500

Our Vitamin C 500 capsules are in an easy to take form with 400mg of Vitamin C per capsule which is combined with magnesium, together with bilberry extract. This product is perfect for those of you constantly on the go, living or working in the city and therefore exposed to the elements. The bilberry contains anthocyanidins that can support blood vessel health against harmful effects of free radicals. These are a lower dose and therefore make them the perfect kitchen cupboard staple. They can be taken for daily support or at higher doses when increased support is in order and the capsules can be spread throughout the day too. They are perfect for older children who can swallow a capsule (1 capsule from 9). Alternatively, the capsule can be opened and added to food or drink. Doses include ½ a capsule daily from 3 years old.

Nutrisorb Liquid Zinc Plus Ascorbate

Additionally, we have our Nutrisorb Liquid Zinc Plus Ascorbate which contains 100mg of vitamin C and 7.5mg of zinc. This is ideal for those looking for a gentle lower potency Vitamin C in a liquid form which can be taken directly under the tongue for absorption directly into the blood stream. This can also be used in children at 5 drops from 1 month and 10 drops from 1 year old.

We also have vitamin C in many of our complexes which provide support for other areas of your health:

Multi NutriPowder

The Multi NutriPowder is a great tasting all-in-one powdered multinutrient and antioxidant blend with high dose vitamin C. It is an ideal product for those who would like comprehensive overall health support but with an additional whooping 1000mg of vitamin C!

Immune Intensive

Immune Intensive - this high potency immune boosting supplement boasts a complex of nutrients such vitamins A, C, D, zinc and beta glucans, sage and elderberry, geared around enhancing immune function at time of active infection, but can be used preventatively too. As a powder, when used in smaller quantities, this product can be used in children too. Doses include; 1-3 years: ¼ sachet; 3-6 age: ½ sachet and ¾ sachet from 7.

Collagen Complex

Our Collagen Complex is a fully comprehensive go to for all your collagen needs. With all the necessary nutrients to support collagen production including vitamin C, marine collagen, antioxidants and nucleotides in an easy to take capsule form this supplement is perfect for concerns regarding hair, skin, nails, joints, ligaments and tendons.

Children's Elderberry Complex

Children’s Elderberry Complex is a perfect immune solution for children, even the fussy ones. The vitamin C, and zinc perfectly compliment the elderberry for a stronger and more synergistic combination. It is designed to be taken as and when needed, rather than every day, so it makes for a great kitchen cupboard essential.

If you have a specific condition or any questions, talk to your nutritional therapist or get in touch with our clinical nutrition team!

Got a question?

The brand you can talk to:

We have a team of friendly Nutritionists at the end of our advice line, open to you, for free expert health and product advice (5 days a week). 0121 433 8702 or clinicalnutrition@biocare.co.uk.

Or head to our advice page where you can find Healthnotes.

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[i] Whfoods.com. (2020). Vitamin C. [online] Available at: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&... [Accessed 7 Feb. 2020].

[ii] Han QQ, Shen TT, Wang F, Wu PF, Chen JG. Preventive and Therapeutic Potential of Vitamin C in Mental Disorders. Curr Med Sci. 2018 ;38(1):1-10.

[iii] Hemilä, H. (2017). Vitamin C and Infections. Nutrients, 9(4), p.339.

[iv] Langlois K, Cooper M, Colapinto CK. Vitamin C status of Canadian adults: Findings from the 2012/2013 Canadian Health Measures Survey. Health Rep. 201618;27(5):3-10

[v]Velandia B, Centor RM, McConnell V, Shah M. Scurvy Is Still Present in Developed Countries. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2008;23(8):1281-1284.

[vi] May JM, Harrison FE. Role of Vitamin C in the Function of the Vascular Endothelium. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 2013;19(17):2068-2083.