Ascorbic Acid

The Best way to get Vitamin C

What is the best way to get vitamin C?

In the previous posts, the importance of daily vitamin C was presented.  So the next question is – what is the best way to get vitamin C every day?  

Vitamin C tablets would be the easiest way to get your daily needs met, but not the best way.  Having some vitamin C tablets on hand is helpful to “fill in the gaps” when the quality of your diet is decreased.  When you shop for vitamin C look at the nutrition label on the bottle to identify the source of the vitamin C.  If the label list includes acerola cherries, rose hips, or some other plant source with high vitamin C content then you have a quality vitamin C tablet.  These tablets include additional parts from the plant that give you a bonus of nutrients.  These additional parts are called bioflavonoids or phytonutrients.  So when you purchase a vitamin C tablet that advertises bioflavonoids, you are purchasing a higher quality vitamin C.  Vitamin C remains one of the least expensive vitamins on the market.

Your food choices will provide the best way to get vitamin C.  So a quick quiz – name the plant food that has the highest vitamin C content per serving at your local grocery store.   Let’s see how close you came –     these sources are ranked by the quantity of vitamin C provided per gram of sugar.   In other words, the more vitamin C you can get with the least amount of sugar content is best.  With that idea in mind, here is

The Top 10 food sources of Vitamin C in your local grocery store

                                              Per g sugar          Per half cup       Daily Recommendation Vit. C

1.    Yellow Bell Pepper, raw         29 mg                    183.5 mg            215%

2.    Red Bell Pepper, cooked      25 mg                    171.0 mg             200%

3.    Broccoli, raw                         18 mg                      93.2 mg             110%

4.    Kiwifruit, raw                         6 mg                      92.7 mg              109%

5.    Lemons, raw                          6 mg                      53.0 mg               63%

6.    Oranges, raw                         5 mg                      53.2 mg               63%

7.    Strawberries, frozen, whole    5 mg                      41.2 mg                48%

8.    Tomatoes, sun dried              4 mg                   101.8 mg               119%

9.    Pineapple, raw                      4 mg                      47.8 mg                56%

10.  Grapefruit, raw                      3 mg                      31.2 mg                 36%

The best way to meet your Vitamin C needs is to be mindful to add these foods to your daily meal plan.  Plan a half cup of one source for breakfast, and a half cup of another source for lunch, and a third source for the evening.  A little consumed with each meal will be more effectively absorbed than consuming a large quantity all at once.

Meet your body's daily need for Vitamin C through your regular intake of these quality foods and your immune system will be strong, your skin will be healthy, and your energy will be improved. This evidence of health points to a wonderful truth of engineering and design.

Next week we will discuss "Vitamin C, evidence of God's Design."

Your Medication and Vitamin C

What effect do medications have on Vitamin C?

Last week, we looked at the key roles Vitamin C fulfills in your body.  This week we look at some specific medications and their interaction with Vitamin C.   About 70% of Americans have used at least one prescription drug this year.   For the average drug, there are numerous potential reactions, which is why you need to tell your doctor every drug or supplement that you are taking.   Drugs can produce side effects that reduce the effectiveness of vitamins and minerals in your body.  This action creates hidden deficiencies that can decrease your health.  Other medications may become more effective, or extra strong when taken with vitamins.  Be sure to ask your doctor if there is any interactions with your supplements.   

Do you use any of these medications?

Aspirin can decrease vitamin C concentration in the blood and tissues, and will increase vitamin C in the urine.  Vitamin C helps keep the connective tissue of the intestines strong, and aspirin will deplete the vitamin C in these tissues.  Additional vitamin C should be consumed when taking aspirin on a regular basis.  Additional Vitamin C will strengthen the tissue of the gut that is most effected by aspirin.

Birth Control with estrogen can decrease concentrations of vitamin C in healthy young women who have used contraceptives consistently, according to some studies.   Use of birth control pills has also been associated lower concentrations of other vitamins, such as B12.    A key factor is the quality of the diet the young women have.   The better the diet, the better the vitamin levels while taking birth control.

Proton Pump inhibitors (PPIs) reduce the amount of digestive fluids in the stomach and have been associated with decreased vitamin C, iron, and magnesium.   There is more concern for elderly or malnourished who may be taking PPIs and do not realize the decreasing nutrient levels in their body.   Additional Vitamin C should be consumed daily for those using PPIs.

Levodopa for Parkinson’s Disease Levodopa (L-dopa) is a common therapy for patients with Parkinson’s Disease.  L-dopa generates reactive oxygen species as a side effect, which can increase inflammation and damage cells.   Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant, removing the reactive oxygen species generated by L-dopa.  Patients who take Vitamin C along with L-dopa found the progression of the disease decreased significantly.

Can I overdose?   The Recommended Dietary Allowance of Vitamin C is about 80 mg for an adult and the Tolerable Limit is 2000 mg per day.  A dose up to 500 mg at one time allows your body to absorb more effectively than when a greater amount is taken.  The key symptoms to observe are any intestinal cramps or pain, or increased bowel movements.  Your body will excrete whatever it does not absorb, which will increase your bowel movements.

In the next post, we will look at “What is the best way to get Vitamin C?”

Why Do I Need Vitamin C?

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) may be the most well-known nutrient to the general public, perhaps because it is associated with chewable vitamins and orange flavor.  Your parent may have given you a chewable Vitamin C, or perhaps you requested it as a child because you thought it was a treat.  The importance of Vitamin C and what it does in your body was discovered just over 100 years ago and the research continues to unlock more understanding of the essential activity of Ascorbic Acid in your body.

What does it do?

Vitamin C is often identified as an “anti-oxidant” – its main action in the body.  A simple way to describe this is that vitamin C is able to transfer energy and help the reaction in your cells to continue on as normal.  Like a new battery put into your electronic device to make it work, vitamin C is the “battery” for numerous enzymes in the body to keep going and not develop a “short circuit.”  The vitamin C replaces the lost energy packet, which helps the enzyme to continue its job.

Scurvy Hand

Scurvy Hand

Collagen is connective tissue that holds you together, so without it you begin to fall apart.  It is a protein your body constructs to produce bone, make skin, and generate connective tissues with the aid of vitamin C.  Sailors who were isolated from fresh foods containing vitamin C could begin to develop sores in their mouth and skin when they became deficient in Vitamin C.  If the ship did not get to a port with fresh food, many sailors would die at sea from scurvy, a disease of vitamin C deficiency.  Vitamin C assists the enzyme that builds collagen from proteins in the body by supplying an additional energy packet to the enzyme.   No vitamin C, then no collagen, and the body begins to fall apart.

Neurotransmitters, like Seratonin, are not produced in the body to appropriate concentrations without vitamin C as the required activator to keep the enzymes going.  Seratonin is an important signaling molecule between nerves that is related to general well-being and happiness.  Individuals who are prescribed medication to assist their response to serotonin may be helped by increasing their vitamin C intake.  Vitamin C helps the body convert amino acids into the active serotonin molecule that is associated with positive moods.

Immune strength is related to the health of your white blood cells, which have the highest concentration of vitamin C in the body.  Perhaps your parent gave you vitamin C when symptoms of a cold were developing.  The white blood cells that fight the cold virus or related germs is dependent on vitamin C to be able to activate the defense systems of the body.   Taking vitamin C on a regular basis has been shown to reduce the duration of colds in about 10% of adults.  Regular intake of vitamin C has also been associated with decreased risk of cancer of the digestive tract, lung, and breast.  A measure of the vitamin C concentration within a white blood cell is a good standard for measuring adequate vitamin C intake.

All ages benefit from daily intake of vitamin C.   The growing child with an immune system that is learning how to defend the body should have at least 15 mg / day.  The athlete developing muscle tissue and repairing connective tissue would benefit from 300 – 500 mg /day.   The senior citizen will benefit from 500 mg / day as well to keep the immune system strong and help strengthen the collagen of the bone.

In the next post,  "Your Prescription Medications and Vitamin C"  will be reviewed.