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The Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient and antioxidant that is important for tissue repair and enzyme function. It is considered essential because our bodies don’t manufacture it, and it is water soluble, so you need to replenish this vitamin every day. The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for women is 75 mg and 90 mg for men, while some studies showed that more benefits are recognized at higher amounts.

Unfortunately, vitamin C can be destroyed by high temperatures and other forms of food processing. Boiling and steaming food can cause up to a 34% loss of C while pressure cooking creates a loss of around 10%. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best way to take advantage of all nutrients including vitamin C, but if you aren’t able to keep up with the recommended 5 – 9 servings a day, supplementation might be an option.

The functions of vitamin C are extensive, making it a widely researched nutrient with more benefits still being discovered today. It turns out that patients with health issues often have low levels of this nutrient, while those with health concerns have an increased need for antioxidants like ascorbic acid.

Environmental and lifestyle factors like smoking, stress or high amounts of air pollution also increase the need for vitamin C. And because it is an essential nutrient that our bodies rely on, the benefits are numerous including immune support, brain health protection and wrinkle prevention.

Immune Support

Immune support is by far the most common reason why people supplement with vitamin C. That’s because this nutrient is associated with many areas of immunity, helps protect cells and may even shorten wound healing time.

As an antioxidant vitamin C becomes part of the skin’s defense system, which is our outer layer of protection and often our first line of defense. Antioxidants protect us from free radicals that are linked to a host of health issues, and it just so happens that vitamin C is a type of antioxidant called carotenoids. And because it protects the integrity of cells, it is the perfect nutrient to support immune health.

Brain Health

It turns out that vitamin C is an important antioxidant that is vital for healthy brain function. (1) Our brains use a lot of oxygen, which makes them more prone to oxidative stress than other organs; it’s no wonder the brain has higher concentrations of vitamin C. In fact, some studies have found higher levels of C in those with healthy cognitive function but lower levels in those with impaired function. (2) It may be because as an antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect the brain from oxidative stress that can impact cognitive performance.

A Powerful Antioxidant

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects out entire body, inside and out, from free radical damage. It helps the body manufacture collagen, which keeps our skin, eyes, and blood vessels strong. It helps prevent damage that can lead to a host of health conditions associated with oxidative stress and can even help your body regenerate vitamin E supplies. This may be the reason why it has been associated with lower blood pressure and considered a heart healthy nutrient.

Anti-Aging

Some researchers have gone so far as to call C the anti-aging vitamin. That’s because it is involved with collagen synthesis; the protein that keeps our skin from sagging. Collagen is not only necessary for firm skin, but also plays a role in skin repair and helps maintain the integrity of ligaments and tendons. It also gives our blood vessels flexibility which becomes more important as we age.

Signs of aging include wrinkles and deterioration of our eyes and overall health. Many aging experts claim that free radicals accelerate the aging process, while superior nutrition seems to slow it down. Antioxidants like vitamin C help ward off the signs of aging as it combats free radical damage. Consuming a diet high in foods that are abundant with this nutrient can help you fight the signs of aging, while supplementing with vitamin C can fill in any nutritional gaps.

Stress Management

Nutrition plays a role in not only physical health, but our mental health, as well. Our bodies need a supply of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients to function at full capacity. And our brains rely on nutrients and antioxidants like vitamin C to function at its best. But vitamin C is also necessary for the balance of healthy brain chemicals that our bodies naturally produce.

When under stress, our bodies become depleted of nutrients. In fact, stress can impair the digestive system, leading to a lessened ability to break down and extract nutrients from foods we eat. This can create a cycle of stress and malnutrition as each condition worsens the other. To make matters worse, low levels of vitamin C have been linked to negative moods like sadness and anxiety.

This may be why researchers have found that vitamin C should be considered a part of stress management protocols. It seems to suppress stress while some studies showed that those who consume higher amounts of antioxidants like vitamin C report feeling calmer and less anxious.

Conclusion

Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are known to be high in vitamin C, but you can also add strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, and red peppers to the list of foods rich in C. Since most foods contain far less than the RDA of this nutrient, aim for 7 – 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. And if you believe you need more, supplements are well tolerated and found to be useful when it comes to keeping your blood levels of vitamin C in a healthy range. And with all the benefits, you don’t want to miss your daily dose of this important nutrient.

References:

1 Harrison FE, May JM. Vitamin C function in the brain: vital role of the ascorbate transporter SVCT2. Free Radic Biol Med. 2009;46(6):719‐730. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2008.12.018

2 Travica N, Ried K, Sali A, Scholey A, Hudson I, Pipingas A. Vitamin C Status and Cognitive Function: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(9):960. Published 2017 Aug 30. doi:10.3390/nu9090960

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is not a single vitamin, but a group of compounds that are essential for good health. And interestingly, it is not a true vitamin at all, but rather a prohormone that helps the body manufacture this all essential nutrient.

Vitamin D plays a role in keeping teeth and bones strong, helps your body absorb other important nutrients like calcium, and supports immune strength. Ensuring your body has plenty of this vitamin along with other essential nutrients and a wholesome diet will support your health any time of the year.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is from 200 – 600 IU (International Units) per day in the United States, but 400 to 800 IU per day in Europe. The more scientists learn about this vitamin, the more they realize the RDA numbers may be much higher than they are currently. In fact, some experts recommend dosages of  800 to 1,000 per day with others recommending a whopping 50,000 IU per week. (1)

Do I Need to Supplement Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is essential for digestive health and used by the intestines to absorb calcium that helps keep bones and teeth strong. It helps prevent loss of calcium through the urine, and can even support heart health, brain health and muscle function. (2) Because it is important for bacterial balance in the intestinal tract, vitamin D is also known to support a healthy immune system which relies on intestinal health.

It may be tricky for certain individuals to get the required amount of this nutrient every day. Vitamin D2 is naturally found in some mushrooms while D3 is found in oily fish (like salmon, herring and tuna), cod liver oil, liver and egg yolks. It is supplemented in milk as most people are not likely to get enough in their daily diets.

But if you avoid milk products, limit fish due to mercury and other toxins (or you just don’t like it), then supplementing your diet may be helpful. Also, those with darker skin or over 50 years of age may not be able to convert sunlight into vitamin D as efficiently as younger people and those with fairer skin.

Even though vitamin D is added to milk and dairy products, one would typically have to drink at least four, 8-ounce glasses of milk each day. Unfortunately, many people are not able to consume dairy products due to being lactose intolerant or don’t want to drink that much milk. And if you do enjoy fish, you would have to consume fatty fish every day to keep optimum levels of this nutrient. That adds up to quite a few calories, leaving little room for other types of protein. Because of these dietary limitations, many people choose to support their health with a vitamin D supplement.

Your Immune System

The immune system plays many roles in our health including protection from viruses and other pathogens that can harm, as well as chronic diseases. Taking care of your body with a diet centered around healthy, whole foods can help your body function at its best. Here are some practices that you can do to keep your immune system strong:

  • Exercise at least 30 minutes, five times each week
  • Drink plenty of fresh, spring water
  • Consume lots of fruits and vegetables; be sure to include citrus a few times each week
  • Get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, depending on how much you exercise
  • Supplement your diet if you need extra support

Nutrition plays a vital role in our health and how well our immune systems work. Poor nutrition often leads to malnutrition as we lack the vitamins and minerals essential for healthy living. But consuming a healthy diet along with nutritional support when needed will have a positive effect on your health and your life.

Vitamin D Deficiency Risk Factors

Many people consume plenty of calories yet lack the required daily nutrients to stay healthy and well. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that is important for overall health, but few foods provide it or the precursors necessary for our bodies to produce it. And while some experts warn that up to 50% of Americans are deficient in this vitamin, some people are more prone than others. Some risk factors include:

  • Dark skin
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Older adults of 65 years and over
  • Lack of sun exposure due to environment or limiting sun for other health reasons
  • Vegans
  • Lack of fatty fish or egg yolks in the diet
  • Obesity
  • Medications like anticonvulsants ad glucocorticoids

Vitamin D Foods and Supplements

Consuming foods like salmon, herring, cod liver oil, liver and canned tuna will supply some vitamin D through your diet. Daily exposure to sunshine without overdoing it will also help your body manufacture some. But if you don’t get enough of either or you have one or more of the above risk factors, you may benefit from a Vitamin D supplement.

There is quite a bit of research that shows the benefits of consuming healthy amounts of this nutrient and plenty of evidence that deficiencies can lead to health problems. Because of its effects on gut health, vitamin D supplementation can help support a strong immune system.

The best practice may be to do your best to consume foods that contain vitamin D and try to get at least 15 minutes of sunshine each day. Most experts agree it is unlikely most people will be able to get enough in their diet, and supplementing can help fill in the gaps. For the best health and to boost your immune function, consume a moderate amount of daily vitamin D and a little sunshine; it may go a long way in supporting your health.

References:

1 Bordelon, P., Ghetu, M. V., & Langan, R. C. (2009, October 15). Recognition and Management of Vitamin D Deficiency. Retrieved March 30, 2020, from https://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/1015/p841.html

2 Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin D. (2020, March 24). Retrieved March 30, 2020, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/#h3

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/