Vitamin C – Not just for colds & flus

Vitamin C – Not just for colds & flus

‘Tis the season, with the holidays, family and overindulgence for the majority of us. But with the jolliness of winter comes the dreaded sniffles, coughs, and the never-ending struggle of getting out of bed that is related to feeling unwell. For years, the advice from medical professionals, the internet, neighbours, aunties, mothers-in-law and the like have been to “up your vitamin C intake” or something similar, in the form of fruits, effervescent tablets, hot toddies etc. Much research into this relatively underrated vitamin has shown that it is more versatile than lead to believe. Vitamin C is not just the first “cold & flu” remedy to grab when needed, but rather as the essential everyday weapon in your arsenal of overall health. Here are just a few things what increasing your vitamin C to a daily habit can do for you:

Enhances your immune system.

This we already know but what most of us don’t know is the how. Vitamin C stimulates white blood cell migration to the site of the viral or bacterial infection and enhances consumption of the infected cell and killing of the bug causing the illness . At the same time, it protects our cells from excessive damage by enhancing white blood cell and chemical messenger recycling. Iron absorption. Feeling a bit low on energy? Been told it’s a vitamin deficiency? An easy way to check that it could be a minor iron deficiency is by increasing your vitamin C intake for about a month. It captures a type of iron our bodies need called non-heme iron in a way that makes it easy for your body to absorb.

Helps with chronic pain.

A large study done almost ten years ago showed that increasing your vitamin C over a period of fifty days showed to reduce the symptoms of chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and lower back pain. It helps by recycling the chemical messengers that our bodies interpret as pain signals much quicker.

Makes us stronger and better looking!

Vitamin C is essential for collagen absorption. Collagen is an important peptide our bodies need for making the important building blocks of our bodies such as skin, muscles, bones and cartilage. What most of us don’t realise is that collagen is important for our gut health, eyes, hair and other organs such as our kidneys. It also helps absorb calcium, an important mineral that when combined with collagen, gives us strong bones that we need to rely on more and more as we get older. So how much is necessary? The recommended daily allowance (to prevent diseases such as scurvy) is 500mg daily. We can get these in the form of green leafy vegetables and fruits as well as basic supplements. However the recommended dose during the winter periods is closer to 1500-2000mg daily. Anything higher is usually not recommended by health professionals because it may impact on kidney and gut functions, although doses as high as 3000mg are usually recommended for the health effects – this should done with a gradual increase over several weeks for your body to get used to the adjustment. Of course if you are still having continued issues then by all means stop immediately, if you are going to try this. But as with all things concerning health, consult your health professional first!