Today’s popularity with vitamin C has never been so intense since 1747 with the emergence of Scurvy. The popularization of vitamin C is due to its positive effects on the immune system. Thus, choosing the most efficient vitamin C sources is imperative to prevent any deficiency.
Tracing the history of vitamin C, a Scottish physician James Lind conducted six treatments for 12 sailors with Scurvy. Historical data reports feeding the sailors oranges and lemons provided an effective cure. Scurvy was one of the many diseases at that time due to malnutrition. Currently, as it was then, our very existence as it relates to health is dependent upon food. In 1930, a chemical ascorbic acid, now known as vitamin C was discovered and recognized as an essential water-soluble vitamin for human existence. The sailors then did not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C, which led to the discovery of the body’s inability to make ascorbic acid. In 1930, science had not discovered the vitamin pill form as food selections were mandatory. The only treatment that worked for the sailors was whole oranges and lemons.
This treatment modality still holds today due to the synergic effects of food. For example, a fresh medium orange provides 83mg of vitamin C in addition to 60 different flavonoids, fiber, and a host of other nutrients. The synchronized action of these additional ingredients facilitates the efficient absorption of vitamin C into the body. In contrast, isolating vitamin C and the conversion into pill form negatively impacts absorption levels. Thus, the best source of vitamin C is whole natural food sources such as oranges, strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and spinach. The recommended daily intake for vitamin C is 75mg/day for women and 90 mg/day for men.
Here are a few evidence-based vitamin C health benefits:
- Helps prevent iron deficiency: Many young women, vegetarians, and others, due to medical conditions, have the propensity of developing iron deficiency anemia. Vitamin C will help improve the absorption of Data support that to increase the absorption of heme-iron from iron-rich foods such as red meats, consume a rich food source of vitamin C along with it. This interaction demonstrates another example of the Synergic effect of food.
- Helps boost the immune system. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants are molecules that increase the immune system by preventing the development of “free radicals.” Free radicals are molecules produced within the body as it metabolizes various foods and exposure to cigarette smoke and other air pollutants. A high accumulation of free radicals within the body creates oxidative stress, the leading cause of chronic diseases. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant by protecting the body from oxidative stress. Thus, antioxidants strengthen the immune system by helping the body fight harmful invaders like free radicals.
- Help Prevent Gout Attacks: Gout affects over 6 million American and is now the most common inflammatory form of arthritis in the United States. Gout results from excessive uric acid in the bloodstream, known as hyperuricemia. Vitamin C reduces the amount of uric acid within the bloodstream. A study examining serum uric acid concentrations of 1387 men and Vitamin C’s effects indicates that intakes of vitamin C significantly lowers serum uric acid concentrations.
- Additional evidence-based research shows that vitamin C intake effectively prevents heart disease and improves blood pressure and age-old memory loss.
A tribute to the common Cold: For more than 70 years, the claim of vitamin C actions in preventing Colds is not valid. Evidence-based research only supports that vitamin C may reduce the severity of colds and the recovery time by 8% in adults and 14% in children.
As we are experiencing respiratory stressors, RSV, Flu, and COVID, our immune system must be at its peak performance; do not negate the synergetic absorptive effects of vitamin C through whole food sources. Choose your source of Vitamin C wisely. It is a Vibrant vitamin, as we all can C.