Stepping up the Vitamin C

Winter is the time when we are most susceptible to ills and chills, but nature has provided us with much to help keep us well.  Think of all the winter fruits available at the moment – oranges, lemons, kiwi fruit and tamarillos – all are great sources of vitamin C.  Then there are the vitamin C-rich vegetables like Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage and Kale.  If we are eating seasonal fruits and vegetables we will all be getting an abundance of this essential vitamin, really important as we are not able to make this nutrient so must consume it.

Most people are already aware that vitamin C is important for winter protection.  Scientifically it has been shown to support the immune system by increasing the white blood cells that are poised ready to attack any invading viruses or bacteria.  It is also the main protective antioxidant for the lungs, which is important as the airways are usually the first point of attack for winter viruses entering the body.  We are told 5 a day (fruit and vegetables) is a good start to being healthy, but how much vitamin C do we need to add to fight off winter bugs?  The RDI (recommended daily intake) for an adult is 45mg, but if you are coming down with an illness then is this enough?

This question was raised back in the 1970s when a GP in America, Dr Robert F. Cathcart III, started testing his patients with high doses of vitamin C.  It is a well-known fact that too much vitamin C can cause loose bowels and high dose vitamin C is a remedy for those with constipation.  However Dr Cathcart discovered that depending on the severity of stress a person was under, or the severity of an illness they suffered from, they could absorb much larger quantities of vitamin C than they could normally without getting loose bowels.  Interestingly he found that in some cases people could absorb more than 10 times their normal amount of vitamin C before it caused loose bowels.

His method was to give the doses of powdered vitamin C at regular intervals through the day until he reached maximum absorption.  Dr Cathcart’s findings were for a number of different conditions, not just winter ills, but he demonstrated positive outcomes for his patients using this simple nutrient.  Even more interesting was he found when people started to get well their tolerance to Vitamin C started to decline again.

In our modern world Vitamin C is often lost through smoking, alcohol, environmental toxins and many other areas due to its antioxidant potential. Vitamin C is also needed to make our stress hormones, skin, hair, nails, bones and maintain our gum health, but is lost through over heating or boiling our food. This all adds up to often being on the ‘back foot’ if we are getting sick.  So if you start with the sniffles listen to those cravings for fresh fruits and vegetables and start loading your system up with vitamin C.  And be aware how much you’re taking so you know how much is enough for you.

By Jane Cronin

Clinicians Naturopath

Clinicians Hi-Dose Vit C Powder has been developed to support the body's defences against winter ills and chills. It contains both sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid and may support and enhance the immune system during viral infections. Buy it now from our secure online shop.

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