Vitamin C: beyond the common cold treatment
With colds currently spreading like wildfires, you may be considering upping your Vitamin C. However, did you know that it does more than just support your immune system and reduce the length and severity of a cold?
What is Vitamin C?
Also known as ascorbic acid, it is an essential water-soluble vitamin that your body needs but can’t make on its own. Therefore, you must get it from the foods you eat or by taking a supplement. More than just a remedy for colds, it’s an important vitamin in many bodily processes.
What is Vitamin C beneficial for?
Healthy Immune function
It supports apoptosis (how the body gets rid of unneeded or abnormal cells) and enhances differentiation and proliferation of B -cells (fight bacteria and viruses) and T-cells (kill infected cells and increase immune response to invaders). Therefore, it helps prevent and treat colds, bacterial and viral infections.
Healthy gut microbiome
High doses may help ensure beneficial bacteria with anti-inflammatory properties.
It helps build collagen therefore useful for healing scar tissue, bones, tendons and ligaments after injury. Blood shot eyes can often be healed by upping your Vitamin C. It is also essential for healthy gums and teeth.
Relieving gout pain
High doses can lower the uric acid concentrations which cause gout pain.
It helps lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides.
Lowering blood pressure
It helps nitric oxide production in endothelium cells of blood vessels, therefore increases vasodilation to reduce blood pressure.
Protecting against free radical damage
Free radicals break down cells over time. This means Vitamin C it is protective towards many chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular issues and age-related conditions.
Absorbing other nutrients
It helps the body better absorb calcium and iron and store iron.
Improving metabolic syndrome
Higher intake can help prevent antioxidant disruption and health-related issues in metabolic syndrome. It can also help reduce appetite and food cravings.
Reducing vaccination side-effects and increasing vaccine effectiveness
As an anti-toxin it can help prevent sides from vaccines and can help enhance the antibody response of the immune system to increase the effectiveness of vaccines.
May help people quit smoking without increasing food intake when cravings strike.
Signs of deficiency
Deficiency may result in bleeding gums, tooth loss, bruising, skin rashes, irritability, muscle weakness, petechiae (small 1-2 mm red or purple spots on the skin due to broken capillary blood vessels) and poor wound healing.
Food high in Vitamin C
Include the following in your diet:
Citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, cherries, blackcurrants, strawberries, peppers, potatoes, spinach, kale, broccoli, thyme and parsley.
Supplement with Vitamin C
There are different forms of Vitamin C supplements:
Found naturally in food. Some people find it too acidic for their digestive system.
Liposomal Vitamin C
Absorbs the best in the body, so beneficial for anyone with chronic deficiency, for those with digestive issues as it doesn’t fully go through the digestive system and for long term use.
Calcium Ascorbate or Ester C
Has a neutral pH so less acidic. Is better absorbed than ascorbic acid but not as well absorbed as liposomal vitamin C. Provides good immune system support and can reduce histamine levels so useful for allergy support.
Vitamin C With Bioflavonoids
Bioflavonoids help the body use vitamin C more effectively. They also help decrease histamine in the body so useful if you have allergies. Best avoided if you have digestive issues though.
For wound healing take Ester C plus liposomal Vitamin C as they work on different tissues.
For Sore Throat / Flu / Colds try combining with zinc to support your immune function.
For a daily dose Dr Weil recommends 200-500mg in two divided doses because it this amount that saturates the body’s tissues. You’ll know you have saturated your tissues when you start to get loose stools.
For a cold / flu he recommends increasing that by an extra 1,000 mg. This amount is also useful if you live with a smoker or work/reside in a polluted area.
Medication affected by Vitamin C
Some birth control pills, aspirin and blood thinning drugs such as warfarin so always check with your doctor before taking supplements.
Always seek qualified practitioners before taking any supplements and check with your doctor for any interactions with current medication.