Protect your health with vitamin C!

Learn how to identify proper food sources of Vitamin C and how to use it for its many health benefits while avoiding Fake or synthetic forms.In this article I will cover the many health benefits of Vitamin C along with its side effects and other contraindications of use.

You will also learn how to identify proper food sources of Vitamin C and how to avoid Fake, unhealthy or synthetic sources of Vitamin C.

CAUTION: Medical Disclaimer

My experience with Vitamin C

Just like most people, I would use vitamin C when I had a cold as a child. But its health benefits lie far beyond strengthening your immune system.

There is a school of thought that believes in using high amounts of vitamin C for therapeutic purposes. However their theory has never been fully proven so these practices should be performed under medical supervision.

I recommend using Vitamin C for its many health benefits especially for a stronger immune system.

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and is found in fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as in other food sources such as milk.

Unlike animals that can produce Vitamin C in their bodies, humans need to get it from their food.

Vitamin C is necessary for growth and repair of tissues in your entire body. It is the building material of collagen, which in turn, is used to make blood vessels, skin, cartilage, tendons and ligaments. It is also important for bone health, oral health and also for healing wounds.

Vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy which was very common in people who spent long periods of time in the sea and away from land. This is because back in the old days, people would have to travel by sea for months without any supplies of fresh fruit (refrigerating systems were not around until the early 1900s). Nowadays scurvy is very rare.

Vitamin C deficiencies can also lead to high blood pressure, gallbladder, stroke, atherosclerosis and cancer simply because low levels of Vitamin C are linked to levels of high inflammation in the body.

Last but not least, Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant which can stop the free radical damage in the body (free radicals are responsible for the damaging of our DNA and are produced under stressful conditions).

People with low levels of Vitamin C often have problems with their gums (gingivitis or bleeding gums), skin problems, bruise easily or get sick easily and can have hormonal problems that include depression, thyroid or testosterone problems.

Beware of Fake Vitamin C!

Another thing you might want to remember is that most vitamin C supplements in the market are synthetic and therefore not always fit for human consumption. Citric Acid (E330) and Ascorbic Acid (E300) are usually the ingredients found in those.

Citric acid is used more as a food additive giving them a sour taste (taste of lemons). However, citric acid is NOT a healthy product and it DOES NOT contain any vitamin C!

Another horrible fact that you must know is that citric acid is produced by harvesting the mold (Aspergillus niger) which grows on cheap corn syrup. That cheap corn syrup is also GMO.

Ascorbic Acid on the other hand, does contain vitamin C albeit synthetic. Ascorbic acid is the ingredient that actually prevents fruit from turning brown. This is why it is used so often in foods as an antioxidant.

There is a concern that Ascorbic acid is also produced from GMO corn (just like citric acid) so think twice before using this form.

At this point you need to understand when you are in need of extra Vitamin C. If your diet contains 2-3 doses of fruit and veggies per day then getting additional Vitamin C as a supplement is not required.

However, if you are under a lot of stress (physical and mental) or find yourself in situations where your immune system might be under attack (such as flying/traveling too often etc.) then you should consider some extra Vitamin C.

Vitamin C benefits

Vitamin C has the following benefits:

  • Offers protection against free radical damage as it is a potent antioxidant and it also has neuroprotective properties.
  • Optimizes hormonal health as it can help with production of L-carnitine (which later gets converted to neurotransmitters and adrenaline). Hormonal health also means better mood, less depression in women and higher testosterone levels in men.
  • Protects the testicles against the effects of oxidative stress by preserving zinc levels (due to its strong antioxidant qualities). This in turn can preserve or improve testosterone levels. However superloading does not increase its effectiveness on testosterone.
  • It also has antidepressant properties even though the mechanism is currently not known.
  • Because of its inflammation lowering effects it can potentially protect against cancer and strengthen the immune system (including treating the common cold).
  • It can help with adrenal fatigue, since Vitamin C is a precursor to the neurotransmitters dopamine and adrenaline (see second benefits above).
  • It can help with skin health, bone health, dental hygiene (for bleeding gum and gingivitis) and faster wound healing.
  • It can partially help with high blood pressure by decreasing systolic blood pressure although it does not decrease diastolic blood pressure. (Systolic B.P is the high number and diastolic B.P is the lower number)
  • It can help with arterial health and also protect against atherosclerosis by preventing a decline in nitric oxide.
  • It can help with detoxification of metals by reducing their accumulation and helping with their removal, partially due to Vitamin C’s strong antioxidant powers. It can help with the removal of lead, mercury and also help the body absorb iron better.
  • It can lower inflammation. 1gr of Vitamin C can lower C-reactive protein levels by 50%. It can therefore protect against inflammation related infections.
  • Improving sports performance by controlling the increase in cortisol. More research might be required since there is a lot of contradicting evidence on this.

When and how to take it

Ideally you should be getting your vitamin C from fresh fruits and veggies. Do not be concerned if the dose of real fruits is not large in numbers since whole food vitamin C is often more potent than the synthetic stuff.

Unlike what you might have been told all those years, oranges are not the best source of vitamin C. Great sources of vitamin C are strawberries, acai berries, goji berries, guavas, peppers (bell and Chili), tomatoes, kale, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and especially acerola.

Also raw milk has a good dose of Vitamin C but you might have trouble finding that in a supermarket.

When it comes to supplements, there are a lot of Vitamin C forms out there. Be careful with Vitamin C tablets as most of them tend to have toxic ingredients and even artificial sweeteners. The same stands for these cheap vitamins that come in powder form and dissolve in water.

You need to avoid citric acid and ascorbic acid at all costs for the reasons I explained in the previous section (plus these ingredients have low bioavailability and absorption).

A good source of Vitamin C is acerola berry. So look for a supplement that comes from acerola like Truly Vitamin C from Acerola or Pure Radiance C from the Synergy Company. It is a bit expensive but definitely worth it.

Because it is a potent antioxidant, people who want to gain muscle should be careful with taking vitamin C before and after their workout. Free radical damage is in a way responsible for muscle growth and by completely removing free radicals you will be hindering your muscle building progress. (add study)

Safety and side effects

Vitamin C is considered to be LIKELY SAFE for most healthy adults when taken orally in recommended doses (or applied to the skin).

Reported side effects include:

  • Nausea,
  • Vomiting,
  • Heartburn,
  • Stomach cramps,
  • Headache and more.

Higher doses (over 2000mg per day) are UNSAFE especially for people with kidney problems and kidney stones. These people should not take more than 1gr of Vitamin C per day.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

According to WebMD, Vitamin C has been deemed as LIKELY SAFE for pregnant women or breastfeeding women when taken orally in the recommended doses. (120 mg per day).

Higher doses during pregnancy can cause potential problems in the health of the newborn.

Also be careful when giving Vitamin C supplements to children. Check with your doctor first and always make sure they come from natural sources and not from ascorbic acid.

Contraindications or interactions with other medication/substances:

Consult with your doctor before using this supplement especially if you have any of the following conditions or take the following medication/substances:

  • Cancer: Because Vitamin C can possibly interfere with the progression of cancer (cancerous cells seem to collect vitamin C) and with certain cancer medication, avoid supplementation with Vitamin C without the advice of a healthcare professional or your oncologist.
  • Kidney problems or kidney stones: High amounts of Vitamin C can increase the chance of kidney stones or even impair kidney health. Vitamin C also has a diuretic effect, which means it can put stress on your kidneys and dehydrate you.
  • Diabetes: Vitamin C could potentially raise blood sugar in people with diabetes so avoid taking more than 300mg daily. Especially in older women with diabetes, higher doses can be deadly.
  • Heart surgery or angioplasty: Avoid supplements with Vitamin C or any antioxidants post-surgery as they can interfere with proper healing.
  • Corn allergies: The synthetic forms of Vitamin C are derived from corn so people with corn allergies should be careful.
  • Hemochromatosis and Thalassemia: People who have high levels of iron in the body should not take Vitamin C supplements as it can increase the amount of iron absorbed by foods.
  • Sickle cell disease and a metabolic deficiency called G6PDD (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency): People with these conditions should avoid high amounts of Vitamin C as it can worsen their symptoms.
  • Acetaminophen medication such as Tylenol as high doses of vitamin C can increase the levels of acetaminophen in your body (acetaminophen is usually removed from the body via urine and since Vitamin C can cause kidney problems therefore blocking the extraction).
  • Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as high doses of vitamin C can cause the levels of drugs to rise in your body and also lower Vitamin C levels in the body by extracting it via urine.
  • Barbiturates as they decrease the effects of Vitamin C.
  • Aluminum-containing antacids since Vitamin C can increase the levels of aluminum absorbed by your body.
  • Chemotherapy drugs as Vitamin C can interfere with their effects and therefore with the treatment.
  • Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as Vitamin C can raise estrogen levels in that case.
  • HIV and AIDS medication (Protease inhibitors) as Vitamin C appears to interfere with their effectiveness.
  • Antibiotics such as Tetracycline since Vitamin C may intensify the effects of the antibiotics and also decrease the levels of vitamin C in the body.
  • Blood thinners since Vitamin C may interfere with their effectiveness.

Do I need to cycle off?

Some cycling may be required so if you find yourself taking Vitamin C for over a month, I would recommend taking week off before starting again.

Alternatively you could take Vitamin C 5 days a week and 2 days off to keep it from accumulating in your body in an unhealthy manner.

Dosage

Over the past 20 years I have experimented with literally hundreds of herbs, supplements (and other natural products) and was finally able to discover the right doses for amazing results.

If you wish to learn more about the dosages that I use with my clients for different purposes (better health, hormonal balance, stress management, testosterone boost and more) or how I combine this herb/supp with others, leave a comment below or reach out to me for a consultation through the “Hire me” link.

Closing notes

Overall, Vitamin C is a fantastic ingredient that can do wonders for your health, provided that you avoid citric acid and other synthetic forms. Also, there are many great food sources that can support your nutritional goals before you start taking  supplements. Make sure you add it to your nutrition and you will be able to harvest its benefits.

I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I did writing it. Putting together this article took a bit of time but it will only take you a second to click on the Share buttons below and show your support to this blog.

Also if you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!

by Nick Sigma
CWC, EH, E-YRT200

Vitamin C Studies:

Other Sources:

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