Our immune systems love Vitamin C – that’s no secret! But did you know not all Vitamin C supplements are created equal, and recommended intake guidelines have changed? More importantly, did you know that Vitamin C has uses well beyond boosting immunity? Here are just five of the many reasons to love this versatile vitamin.
Studies show that Vitamin C is a powerful supporter of the immune system in fighting viruses and infections. It’s also an impressive antioxidant, helping to protect against free radicals and the oxidative damage they can cause.
Smoking and stress can also cause Vitamin C deficiency – and while course quitting smoking and reducing stress are important, building yourself up with Vitamin C supplements is a good start.
This is due to Vitamin C’s antihistamine properties. Research is starting to show it can support the immune response (which is to produce too much histamine when it encounters an allergen) in people allergic to pollen. Good news for hayfever sufferers at this time of year!
Low iron is the top nutrient deficiency in the world, with women particularly susceptible. Iron supplements are usually used to re-build stores, and experts recommend ingesting a source of Vitamin C when taking them.
A depletion of this vitamin can cause scurvy, which occurs when a lack of collagen weakens your strong connective tissue. Vitamin C also helps to strengthen capillary and cell walls.
The benefits of Vitamin C’s efficacy at greater strengths are emerging. The NZ Nutrition Foundation’s recommended daily intakes for Vitamin C vary from 35mg per day for infants to 40mg per day for adults. Many nutrition experts say a diet full of fresh food is the best way to get the Vitamin C you need, with good sources in most fruit and vegetables, including capsicum, citrus, kiwifruit, berries, tomatoes and silver beet.
Some Vitamin c supplements are better than others
Lypo-spheric Vitamin C has been called the ‘rock star’ of Vitamin C, with recognised advantages over traditional supplements. New encapsulation technology helps protect the Vitamin C, increasing its bioavailability and transporting it directly into the bloodstream and cells. Clinical trials have shown lypo-spheric Vitamin C can be twice as effective as some other supplements.
Pharmacist Sammy Leung advises that the way that Vitamin C is processed definitely makes a difference to how it’s absorbed in your body. You may need to take a lower strength Vitamin C than higher strength types, because your body won’t utilise all of it.
For example, a standard dose of a lower strength Vitamin C would be about 500mg daily, but you could take more – 1000g to 3000mg – over the course of a day if you have acute symptoms.
Esterified or lypo-spheric Vitamin C is more bioavailable and stays in your system longer, so doses can be 500-1000mg per day.
Talk to your Unichem Pharmacist to find out which dosage level and supplement type is right for you, and take advantage of the many benefits of Vitamin C!