Should I be taking vitamin C supplements?
- Vitamin C's popularity has exploded as people search for new ways to boost immunity
- It is a proven antioxidant and supports the immune system, but only slightly shortens the duration of a cold
- A more well rounded holistic approach may better help you stimulate and support all aspects of your immune system
- If you're looking to incorporate vitamin C, the best way is through food- and it's easy to get enough in your diet!
From empty aisles of frozen concentrate orange juice to Google search spikes, American sales of vitamin C recently increased by 146%. We’re all in search of an immunity boost right now, but is vitamin C the right source?
What does vitamin C do?
Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient found in food. It has four main functions:
- To protect our cells from damage (this is called an antioxidant)
- To help our body make collagen
- Improve the absorption of iron
- Support various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system
Its main purpose is to support normal growth and development by repairing our tissues and promoting wound healing.
Vitamin C benefits
From protecting against oxidative stress to decreasing inflammation, reducing anxiety, and balancing progesterone, there are many reasons to incorporate vitamin C into your regimen.
One of the most common reasons is to aid immunity – but does it actually work?
Our culture has created a link between vitamin C and immunity that’s only furthered by Emergen-C ads and memories of morning OJ. But, when you dig into evidence connecting immunity and vitamin C, there are many ways it can aid and support the immune system, but results are inconclusive.
Take, for example, the common cold. With a standard dosage, studies show that regularly taking vitamin C may reduce the length of colds (by 8% in adults), but, unless you’re a marathon runner, it doesn’t make you any less likely to get a cold. This is likely because the immune system is incredibly complex and needs to be supported by more than just one supplement.
Vitamin C and COVID-19
Beyond the common cold, there are rumblings about vitamin C’s efficacy to fight COVID-19.
Some evidence from animal research and human case studies suggest vitamin C (administered from an IV) can reduce lung inflammation in respiratory illnesses that are a result of H1N1 or other viruses. Though it’s important to note that those dosages were high above the suggested daily value and the support of this evidence isn’t there quite yet.
Because the evidence is still inconclusive, vitamin C has not yet become a standard part of the COVID-19 treatment plan.
Also, according to the CDC and the World Health Organization, taking preventative measures (like hand-washing and social distancing) against infection is the only way to lower your chances of getting COVID-19 and other viruses.
Vitamin C supplements: it’s easy to take too much
While there are certain benefits to consuming vitamin C in all forms, it’s important only to take as much as you need - especially through supplements.
High doses are only effective when administered from an IV. When it comes to consumption through supplements, the more you consume doesn’t mean the more you absorb. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning it dissolved in water and excess amounts are eliminated through your urine.
Consuming too many vitamin C supplements may lead to side effects like:
- Abdominal cramps
How to support your health with natural vitamin C
Vitamin C deficiency, although rare, has been associated with a higher susceptibility to infection. The safest and most effective way to reap the benefits of vitamin C is through the foods we eat and to take supplements that aren’t readily available in our daily diet.
When you start incorporating these foods into your diet, you’ll find it’s easy to get the suggested 90 mg per day of vitamin C directly through food. You can get just enough in ¾ a cup of fresh OJ -- it’s that easy!
Some of the best food sources of vitamin C are:
- A single medium orange provides 77% of the daily value (DV) of vitamin C
- Sweet red peppers (106% DV)
- Grapefruit juice (78% DV)
- Kiwi (71% DV)
- Broccoli (43% DV)
- Tomato juice (37% DV)
What to look for in a vitamin C supplement
If you struggle to get enough vitamin C through your food, supplementing can help. Although, it’s important to note that not all vitamin C supplements are created equal.
Studies suggest that, for high doses, one should look for a liposomal vitamin C. This helps to absorb more efficiently, making the bioavailability much higher than standard vitamin C supplements.
Try Elix Immune Duo for holistic support
While vitamin C may not be the only answer to immunity, our herbs are also here to help. Their active ingredients are shown to be beneficial in supporting immune function and aren’t readily available in diet - but we took care in distilling them into a concentrated bioavailable liquid form.
Introducing Stay Well and Get Well: two synergistic herbal blends designed to support, protect, and strengthen your immune response.
Stay Well supports your everyday immune health. Using a unique blend of anti-inflammatory herbs, it can help you build long-lasting resilience. Some key ingredients in the Stay Well blend include:
- Ginseng to fight fatigue and chronic illnesses
- Reishi mushrooms to enhance your immune response
- Chaga mushrooms to reduce the severity of illnesses
On the other hand, when you’re feeling the onset of symptoms, Get Well can rapidly strengthen immune response. With a potent formula of anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial herbs, it can help promote a smoother recovery. The blend is made with:
- Astragalus, which can increase the number of active immune cells
- Skullcap for antiviral and anti-inflammatory protection
- Andrographis, an anti-inflammatory used to treat colds and fevers
- Bupleurum to help with immunoregulatory actions