By Samuel Muigai, Nutritionist & Branch Manager, Healthy U Yaya
Vitamin C has become one of the best-selling supplements in the last 2 or so years. Why is this so? It has been known to show immune boosting properties during an infection, and especially the most recent rise of respiratory diseases. Some studies have shown that taking more than 200mg of vitamin C per day helps reduce severity and duration of upper respiratory tract infection symptoms, and taking more than 500mg per day helps to reduce the frequency of the infections.
Vitamin C also has many other benefits in the body like enhancing iron absorption, reducing tiredness and fatigue and supporting lots of metabolic functions in the body. It also said to possess anti-oxidative effects in the body, protecting the cells from harmful effects of pollution and it combines toxic substances such as heavy metals, rendering them harmless so that they can be safely eliminated from the body. It supports collagen production, which is a key component for skin, hair, nails and joint health.
Talking of beauty, it is also used in skin care products in that it helps to even out skin tone (hyperpigmentation, blemishes and skin discoloration), as an anti-aging, helping in skin formation, improving skin texture and also in skin hydration. It also helps prevent skin damage caused by sun exposure and harmful skin radicals.
The body does not make or store its own vitamin C, so it must be obtained from the diet or in form of supplementation. Foods that are high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, berries, green vegetables, asparagus, avocados, beet greens, black currants, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cantaloupe, grape fruits, papaya, green peas, tomatoes and rosehips. Some herbs that are high in vitamin C include alfalfa, burdock root, cayenne, fennel, fenugreek, peppermint, nettle, raspberry leaf, yarrow and paprika.
Vitamin C takes a number of forms in supplements; ascorbic acid, buffered vitamin C, ester C and liposomal vitamin C. Liposomal vitamin C is the best form in the market at the moment. It has a scientifically proven transportation method that encapsulates the nutrient in a phospholipid bubble, transporting it directly to the cells within minutes protecting it from the destructive elements of the digestive system. The upper limit of vitamin C is 2000mg per day. Taking more than this can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heart burn, stomach cramps and headache.
Some factors hinder its absorption. Such factors include alcoholism, using analgesics, anti-depressants, anti-coagulants, oral contraceptives, steroids and smoking. Some diabetes medication such as chlorpropamide and sulfa drugs may not be as effective if taken with vitamin C.