How Vitamin C Can Help Keep You Healthy
Vitamin C for immune support? It’s not exactly breaking news. In fact, ramping up our vitamin C intake is one of the first things that many people do at the first sign of a cough, runny nose or sore throat. However, this only scratches the surface of what this powerful nutrient has to offer. In addition to boosting immunity[i], vitamin C also plays a key role in collagen formation, a substance vital for skin[ii], joint and circulatory health, aiding in the formation, maintenance and repair of tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. It also aids in bone health as well as wound healing[iii].
Ok, so we’ve established that vitamin C is important to help maintain optimal health. But how do we make sure we’re getting enough? It’s always a good idea to start with the diet. Once again, many people are well aware that citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit are some of the best food sources of vitamin C around. But there are also some powerful, food-based vitamin C sources that perhaps don’t get enough love, including berries, tomatoes and kiwi, as well as green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli[iv].
That said, since our bodies aren’t able to synthesize vitamin C, we need a constant supply of it[v]. And since many diets can be hit-or-miss in the fruits and vegetables department, many people choose to add in a supplement. Additionally, the acidic nature of many food sources of vitamin C can often exacerbate digestive issues like heartburn[vi]. Unfortunately, many common vitamin C supplements also use an acidic form, ascorbic acid, leading to similar potential issues. To complicate things further, many supplement brands advertise “whole food” or “food-source” vitamin C products, while these are often just the same old ascorbic acid forms, with some plant-based components added in.
To get a vitamin C boost that’s easy on digestion, consider a form such as Ester-C®, comprised of less-acidic calcium ascorbate[vii]. In addition, when compared to ascorbic acid, the Ester-C® form has also shown greater absorption and retention within the white blood cells of the immune system, for up to 24 hours of immune support[viii]. The reason behind this enhanced absorption appears to be the presence of vitamin C metabolites, threonate and furanone, found only in calcium ascorbate[ix].
While vitamin C has rightfully earned its reputation as a powerful, natural immune booster, its many health benefits go far beyond simply keeping us going during cold and flu season. And whether relying on dietary sources, supplement forms, or a combination of the two, it’s definitely deserving of a place in your daily routine.