Well.Actually. Vitamin C

Vitamin C – Key benefits for our health – Guest Blog by Katarina Cepinova from Well.Actually.

Vitamin C is the most researched, proven, well-established and essential nutrient known to humans and has been around for decades. It’s an essential nutrient, which means our body can’t produce it, so we need to get it from food or supplements.

Vitamin C is necessary for growth and repair, including healing cuts and wounds. It also helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, harmful substances in the environment like smoke, pollution and cigarette smoke that cause disease-causing changes in cells throughout the body.

Other benefits include dampening the effects of a cold or flu, boosting immunity, helping prevent chronic diseases, strengthening teeth and gums, lowering blood pressure levels. The amazing benefits of Vitamin C don’t just stop there, though. Its powerful effects make it a unique all-round powerhouse of energy- supporting, anti-oxidant, anti-ageing, hormone, and gene regulation benefits.

Below we have focused on a few of these key benefits:

Immunity Boost

Our immune system is a sophisticated network of specialised organs, tissues and cells, which has evolved to protect us from external bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasite attacks. More than half a century of research has shown Vitamin C to be a crucial player in various aspects of the immune system, particularly in supporting our immune cells functioning.  

Studies have shown that when you take Vitamin C supplements or eat enough citrus fruits or vegetables containing it, your body will produce white blood cells, which help fight off bacteria and viruses that cause illness like the common cold. Furthermore, people with high levels of Vitamin C have been found to have stronger immune systems than those without sufficient amounts in their diets! Another perk: it has been shown to lower stress levels-a major contributor of weakened immunity! 

We now know that Vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections whilst, supplementation with Vitamin C appears to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections (Ref 8). 

Energy Production

In the last fifty years, with surge in modern technology and fast-paced living, many people lead a life that has evolved into a body energy crisis. People are now working longer, irregular hours/shift work, are experiencing more stress, increased demands and commitments. This has, in turn, lead to the weakening of energy metabolism resulting in increased prevalence of fatigue, high-stress levels, weight gain and chronic diseases (Ref 9).  

Energy production is, unsurprisingly, a complex biological matter. It involves countless chemical interactions in the body which requires many nutrients to play their part in its success (Ref 6). From a nutritional perspective, the bulk of our energy comes from the food we eat. When we eat, the body first utilises the digested food energy for an immediate boost and then stores the excess energy for when we later require it. This energy system keeps our systems running throughout the day. (Ref 7) 

Our diet, what we eat – or input into our body, has a significant impact on this metabolic process. There is a more common theme in today’s climate: we may eat too many of the wrong kinds of foods too often. Many foods we now consume have a reduced nutrient (vitamins, minerals) content, contributing to over-fed and under-nourished World Nations.

Once we have digested our food, nutrients enter our blood and are transported around the body, to be delivered into our cells. Within each cell, we have mitochondria organelles. They produce energy for everything we do, and they’re also responsible for some pretty incredible things like cell growth, reproduction, and even cell death. Mitochondria are often referred to as the “power plants” of our body because that’s what they do: create fuel! They also generate heat and produce water to keep us hydrated. If you want a healthy brain, heart and muscles, then you need mitochondria!

For the mitochondria energy production plant to perform at its best, it needs a constant supply of the most optimal vital nutrients, such as Vitamin C, that help in the energy production process. Therefore, it is essential to fuel the body with the ‘right’ type of foods rich in Vitamin C to facilitate the energy process. 

Skin health – Antioxidant Super Power

Vitamin C has long been a primary source of protection for the skin, its anti-oxidant function supporting the skin and body’s defence against UV and harmful free radicals.  

Our skin typically contains a significant concentration of Vitamin C, which amongst its many functions supports collagen production, helps with natural elasticity, and provides anti-oxidant support/ boost to protect the skin from UV damage when exposed to the sun and external environment (Ref 3). 

The level of collagen naturally decreases with ageing resulting in loss of elasticity and suppleness of the skin. Loss of collagen is also considered one of the key factors behind degeneration and ageing of the skin. Wrinkling and pigmentary changes, linked to photo-ageing and chronic sun exposure, are the most contributing factors to premature ageing (Ref 2). 

Furthermore, our skin is constantly exposed to environmental factors (such as pollution and toxins). These result in free radical attacks on our skin, which result in a greater risk of developing visible signs of ageing. Any ongoing or regular exposure to sunlight, pollution, environmental chemicals and photodamage can further deplete nutrients stores and increase demand for Vitamin C as a key restorative and protective nutrient (Ref 1).  

Should we boost our Vitamin C?

One of the reasons people have suboptimal vitamin C levels is because our bodies don’t produce it, and we are not getting enough through the food we eat. Animals like dogs can create their own Vitamin C, but unfortunately, humans cannot. Whilst we should obtain enough Vitamin C from our diets, we must be consciously aware of what we eat to ensure we get enough.

It is recommended that we intake 65-90mg a day with a target daily allowance of 80 milligrams for adults. On the other end of the scale, chronically ill patients have taken mega doses of up to 50,0000 milligrams via intravenous. More evidence and research now suggest that taking a higher dose, i.e. 1000 to 2000 mg a day, of Vitamin C, could be advantageous to certain requirements and is not harmful. When you exercise, are ill, stressed, have skin health issues, suffer from fatigue, not sleeping well, etc. This higher level intake would be virtually impossible to obtain from food alone; supplementation would therefore be a recommendation.

The difficulty in orally taking higher doses of Vitamin C supplementation is that the body regulates how much Vitamin C can enter the body at any one time. Therefore taking a 1000mg tablet, capsule or powder form is likely to result in large part of it being flushed out in your urine. Only between 14-30% of the vitamin C consumed in supplement form is actually absorbed by the body (Ref 5).

There are three ways to overcome this by taking:

  1. Smaller doses of Vitamin C taken more regularly throughout the day i.e. every 4 hours, will increase your Vitamin C levels
  2. Slow Time Release Vitamin C tablets release Vitamin C over several hours, enabling more Vitamin C to enter the body over a more extended period. Check out our Well.Actually. Time Release Super Vitamin C +
  3. Liquid Liposomal Vitamin C – protect nutrients against the gut’s harsh digestive processes. The outer liposome micro-bubble membrane, which encapsulates Vitamin C, is made of the same material surrounding our own cell’s. The body recognises and rapidly absorbs Liposomes without appearing to be affected by normal absorption controls. The liposomes are then transported around the body, target delivering the nutrients into our cells for optimal absorption. Check our Well.Actually. Liposomal Vitamin C 1000mg

Image of a Liposome

Final Note

We all know what it’s like to be sick. The feeling of utter exhaustion, the aches and pains, general unease, skin issues and sweating; But the point is that we need vitamins! They keep us healthy and happy.

Many of us simply don’t get enough vitamin C in our diet or through supplements because we are not aware of the issues with absorption or the need for regular intake. The fact is that Vitamin C deficiency isn’t something to take lightly because without Vitamin C we wouldn’t survive long at all! Therefore next time you do a food shop, reach for a few more citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, broccoli, and other Vitamin C rich foods.

Plus, if you are looking for a highly bio-available Vitamin C supplement, check out the formula for faster delivery and optimal absorption. Don’t forget to shop ethically and ensure the packaging is not adding to our landfills


Written by Katarina Cepinova – Nutritionist & Well.Actually. product specialist and educator. (CNM Diploma in Nutritional Therapy, The College of Naturopathic Medicine)

References:

Ref 1: J. Pullar, et al. (2017) ‘Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health.’ Available at: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/. Accessed: August 2021. 

Ref 2: L.Baumann, J. Pathol (2007) Jan; 211(2):241-51. ‘Ageing and its treatment.’ Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17200942/. Accessed: August 2021.

Ref 3: Quick silver Scientific (2018). Vitamin C: Skincares Best Kept Secret.’ Available at: https://www.quicksilverscientific.com/blog/vitamin-c-skincares-best-kept-secret/. Accessed: August 2021.

Ref 4: National Institute of Health (2021): ‘Vitamin C’.Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/#h7. Accessed: August 2021.

Ref 5: S YungM MayersohnJ B Robinson. ‘Ascorbic acid absorption in humans: a comparison among several dosage forms.’ Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7069582/. Accessed: August 2021.

Ref 6: ‘Is Vitamin C good for energy?’ Available at: https://www.avogel.co.uk/boost-your-energy/is-vitamin-c-good-for-energy/. Accessed: August 2021.

Ref 7: T. El Bacha et al. (2010) ’Dynamic adaptation of nutrient utilisation in humans.’ Nature Education.’ Available at: https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/dynamic-adaptation-of-nutrient-utilization-in-humans-14232807/ Accessed: August 2021.

Ref 8: A. Carr & S. Maggini (2017). ‘Vitamin C and Immune Function.’ Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707683/ Accessed: August 2021.

Ref 9: – H. Willacy (2019). ‘Fatigue and TATT’. Patient UK Report. Available at: http://patient.info/doctor/fatigue-and-tatt Accessed: August 2021.

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