Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that the human body requires for numerous different functions. Unlike most other mammals, humans lack an enzyme called L-gulonolactone oxidase, or GLO, that renders us unable to produce this vitamin on our own. Additionally, vitamin C is water-soluble, which means that we quickly excrete any excess. Thus, our bodies depend upon regular food and/or supplementation sources in order to maintain adequate levels.
Why is Vitamin C so Important?
It is reasonable for you to wonder why your chiropractor is concerned about your vitamin C intake. Ascorbic acid plays an important role in the way our bodies function, feel, heal, and even think. Keep reading to learn some of my favourite jobs of vitamin C.
It helps support immune function
I have a separate post on how you can build a strong immune system. With ‘flu season’ upon us, it is worth checking that out here.
When you are fighting infection, your body pumps vitamin C out of your blood and into your immune system cells. So, when your body is fighting infection or inflammation, your immune system cells can have up to 100-times the vitamin C levels compared to your plasma. With your immune system requiring this vitamin to optimize function, and depleting your body’s supply, supplementation at these times can be very helpful in fighting infection.
It is an antioxidant
You have likely heard of the term antioxidant in relation to your health. But what exactly does that mean, you may ask?
In the human body, the metabolism of oxygen produces free radicals, which cause damage by stealing electrons from other molecules in the body. Antioxidants help to protect your body by neutralizing these free radicals before they cause harm. A diet high in antioxidants may help reduce your risk of many diseases such as heart disease and some cancers. In addition to being an antioxidant itself, ascorbic acid can also regenerate vitamin E – another antioxidant!
It helps develop collagen
Collagen is the main structural protein found in our connective tissue. Connective tissue is found nearly everywhere in our body – it helps to give our body shape and provides support for our organs. Since vitamin C is involved in the formation of collagen, it helps our body form strong connective tissue, heal wounds, have healthy gums, bones, teeth, and can help reduce bruising.
…and that’s not all…
In addition to supporting our immune system, serving as an antioxidant, and developing collagen, vitamin C:
- Helps to improve our ability to absorb iron from foods. This, in turn, reduces the risk of iron deficiency anemia.
- Facilitates the conversion of cholesterol into bile acids, which aids in lowering blood cholesterol levels.
- Helps in carnitine synthesis. We use carnitine in when we metaboilse fatty acids for energy.
- It is required to convert dopamine to norepinephrine, which is a part of our natural stress response. Thus, we quickly deplete it when we are under stress.
During times of stress, both emotional and environmental, it becomes even more important to ensure that we are consuming adequate levels of vitamin C.
Where can I get Vitamin C?
You can find vitamin C in many different foods such as acerola cherries, oranges, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and strawberries, to name a few. However, the vitamin C content in food begins to decline very quickly after we pick or slice it. Therefore, the richest sources from foods are those we eat immediately after harvest.
My favourite vitamin C supplement is InnoTech’s Ascorbic Acid Fine Powder. It is made up of pure ascorbic acid, and you can easily scoop it into your water or smoothies.