The Dangers of Vitamin C Supplements
Natural Vitamin C sources are a completely different thing than ascorbic acid.
Supplementing with synthetic vitamin C is quite dangerous and has been linked to the formation of kidney stones and increased rate of heart attack due to arterial plaque buildup.
A long-term study of 23,000 Swedish men showed that those who regularly took ascorbic acid supplements were twice as likely to suffer from kidney stones.
Not to mention potential genetic damage.
Why so much Vitamin C flooding the shelves? Why are we always told to take it at the first sign of a cold or flu?
Well, It certainly does hold significance for sooooo many reactions and metabolic processes in these bodies of ours. It holds my attention for two very specific functions, although it certainly doesn’t stop here.
Vitamin C is crucial for collagen production.
For those of you that follow me, you know that I view collagen as gold. Collagen is such a huge player in repairing the mucosal lining in our guts.
This is no small thing when it comes to leaky gut (IBS, IBD, and so on), bring on as much connective tissue as possible, please and thank you.
Not to mention that ample Vitamin C increasing collagen (protein) production leads to my skin glowing- why do you think they put Vitamin C in so many skin creams?
Plus, Vitamin C is fantastic for the immune system. This cliché is true.
There is evidence that this nutrient enhances white blood cells, supporting necessary signaling of “killer cells.”
Its well know that Vitamin C shortens the duration of many infections- this doesn’t stop at just cold and flu. It also can improve courses of pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea (Wintergest, 2006).
My work largely revolves around infection being the culprit for any and all gut symptoms and conditions, hence increasing white blood cells that are greatly responsible for identifying pathogenic invaders, is a glorious thing.
Any help we can get to assist our bodies in clearing microbes, I’ll take it.
What Exactly is “Ascorbic Acid?”
Acorbic acid is just the fancy chemical name for Vitamin C that can be traced back to the disease it treated way back when in 1932- Scurvy. “Scorbutus” is the latin word for scurvy, and “a” translates to no; no scurvy.
Ascorbic acid (water soluble- we pee it out pretty fast) is commercially made from a chemical reaction that ends up fermenting corn syrup. Just add hydrochloric acid and boom.
Ugh, Corn. Syrup.
You got it- GMO corn.
Can you imagine what this highly concentrated form of corn syrup synthasized into ascorbic acid does to our gut lining?
Here’s where it gets really down and dirty- can you guess what these plants use to treat the corn syrup with?
Let me just name a few of the compounds: acetone (think nail-polish remover), sulpuric acid, sodium hydroxide, benzene (think gasoline), and last but not least, Clorox!
This is serious stuff. Digestive Warriors stay informed.
I found out the hard way.
Many many years ago I started taking the synthetic version of Vitamin C and my guts got so inflamed. I got the worst pain and cramping. It took me a minute to make the correlation.
What else happened?
I got the worst crink in my neck. It shot all the way down into my shoulder blades. Basically, I started having minor neurological issues. No joke. It disappeared about 36 hours after discontinuing.
In a nutshell- ascorbic acid is an isolated component of Vitamin C- it is NOT Vitamin C in its entirety and does NOT contain the benefits we are seeking. Your Body is practically recognizing it as a DRUG.
Which amounts to very expensive urine.
Vitamin C must also contain rutin, bioflavonoids, Factor K and P, tyrosinase and ascorbinogen to truly be Vitamin C!
Commercial marketing has done an excellent job of convincing most people that nutrients can be effectively taken solo, separate from each other, in very measured amounts.
Our bodies are not machines; they were designed to accept vitamins and minerals through a chain, or process, that includes a metabolic process that is actually quite complex.
Marketing equals one thing = $$$$$$
Check this out:
Over 90% of ascorbic acid in this country was once manufactured at a facility in Nutley, New Jersey, owned by Hoffman-LaRoche, one of the world’s biggest drug manufacturers. Here ascorbic acid was made from a process involving cornstarch and volatile acids. Most U.S. vitamin companies all bought bulk ascorbic acid from this single facility for over tweny years, until they closed their doors in 2012. Now it comes from just a handful of other companies, but same process. After bulk purchsing, marketing takes over. Each company makes its own labels, its own claims, and its own formulations, each one claiming to have the superior form of vitamin C, even though it all came from the same place, and it’s really not vitamin C at all.
Why We Need Whole-Food Forms of Vitamin C
Food based forms of Vitamin C maintain their integrity and actually have the ability to be absorbed by our bodies. Naturally increasing Vitamin C in the body has endless benefits.
Supplementing with whole-food based vitamin C is safe and effective. It is done by simply removing the water and the fiber of said fruit, usually in a cold-vacuum process (no chemicals allowed).
Assimilation of such compounds does not require anything from the body, as there are no “parts” of the Vitamin C missing. It is the whole thing- the real deal.
Foods highest in Vitamin C are potatoes, onions and citrus fruits. Runners up are cruciferous veggies, green and red peppers, spinach, cabbage, all other leafy greens and tomatoes.
With soil depletion being a real thing, it can be hard to get even adequate amounts of Vitamin C into the body, let alone higher doses.
Acerola Cherry and Camu Camu- The Kings of Vitamin C
These super-foods contain the highest amount of Vitamin C you can find in nature.
The Camu Camu berry is my favorite source of Vitamin C- these berries contain 2260mg of Vitamin C (per 100 g). These berries are sour as heck and are bursting with nutrients. They are also quite pretty.
These berries are found in the Amazon, is lush swampy banks on bushes. The locals have ingested them for hundreds of years, always aware of their medicinal nature.
Typically, one scoop of this powder contains anywhere from 400-900mg of Vitamin C, all in synergy with its necessary components. Its great in smoothies!
Here are a few of the big health benefits from the vitamin C found in great abundance in Camu Camu berries:
- Fights free radicals that cause cardiovascular disease
- Slows macular degeneration, staving off things like cataracts and glaucoma
- Slows progression of arthritis
- - Improves cognitive function, warding off Alzheimer’s disease
- - Lowers blood pressure
- - Lowers cortisol, which affects how the body stores fat, making weight loss easier
- - Boosts immune system to protect against various viruses and inflammation
- - Detoxifies the body, improving liver health and function
- - Normalizes menstrual cycles for women
Most sources selling Camu, however, are diluting it with Maltodextrin (once again- corn dereived filler)- read my blog on the dangers of Maltodextrin here.
As usual, my favorite company for offering the purest harvested botanicals is Supreme Nutrition. It just doesn’t get any better. I am beyond picky about the companies I endorse.
After all, I am- DigestiveWarrior.
Check out Supreme Nutrition’s Camu Camu here in my shop.
In love and Health, beside you in every battle.
Karen Mullins DOM