We all know about taking vitamin C in the hopes of warding off a bad cold during the winter, but what some people may not realise is that this well-known vitamin has a range of other health-boosting benefits as well.
Vitamin C is an essential part of collagen production and also protein metabolism, so it's important to ensure that our bodies have enough of this superstar vitamin.
What is vitamin C?
As a water-soluble antioxidant, vitamin C is necessary for the growth and repair of tissues in many parts of the body.
Collagen production requires vitamin C, so it is critical for helping to form strong bones, cartilage, muscle and even blood vessels. It can also play a part in helping your body absorb iron more effectively.
Health benefits of vitamin C
Because vitamin C helps the body produce collagen, it’s essential for the protein metabolism process which is used to make healthy and strong skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels.
Vitamin C can also aid in the repair and maintenance process for wounds, as well as in maintaining strong bones and teeth.
As an antioxidant, it can also help to block some of the damage our bodies face from free radicals, which can cause more harm as we age.
Since vitamin C is water-soluble, humans aren’t able to produce or store it within our own bodies, so it’s vital that we get enough of this antioxidant through other means.
Vitamin C is present in many foods such as citrus fruits, broccoli and tomatoes, but this is not a particularly effective way for our bodies to absorb the vitamin, particularly as many food sources containing natural vitamin C are over-processed or refined.
To increase the bioavailability of this vitamin in our bodies, other forms of vitamin C can be taken.
When we think of taking a Vitamin C supplement, most people picture a typical tablet or pill that can be chewed or taken with water.
However, there are actually different types and forms available.
Ascorbic acid is an organic compound form of vitamin C which occurs naturally, and is found in plants and animals that produce it from glucose.
Unfortunately, humans aren’t able to make ascorbic acid within our own bodies, which is why synthetic ascorbic acid (in the form of tablets and powders) can bring significant health benefits.
Mineral ascorbates are forms of vitamin C where the vitamin is also bonded to one or more minerals – typically calcium, magnesium, potassium or sodium, all of which have been proven to benefit the body in numerous ways.
By combining mineral salts with ascorbic acid, the ability to absorb ascorbic acid may also be improved, and the body also benefits from the nutritional advantages of these added minerals.
Vitamin C & Bioflavonoids
Vitamin C also comes in forms with added bioflavonoids, which are water-soluble plant pigments that work to help the body absorb more of the vitamin.
On the other hand, Ester-C® is a specific type of formula containing mostly calcium ascorbate, with the added boost of small amounts of vitamin C metabolites such as oxidised ascorbic acid and calcium threonate. The presence of these metabolites (plus the calcium ascorbate) can help to increase the body’s ability to absorb and ingest the vitamin.
Some people have difficulty digesting large doses of calcium ascorbate; as a result other formulations have been developed that do not contain these elevated levels of calcium ascorbate but still maintain the facilitated absorption of Ester-C®.
Liposomal Vitamin C
Liposomal vitamin C can be absorbed much more efficiently than other types. In this formulation, vitamin C particles are coated with phospholipids, which produce a substance similar to the existing cell membranes in our bodies. This means liposomal encapsulated vitamin C can slip into our cells more easily and aid in more effective absorption.
If you would like to know more about Vitamin C, have a read of the Vitamin C: ALL the FAQs! blog article.
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