An Everyday Guide To A Superhero Supplement
Vitamin C helps to boost our immune systems, as well as improve the body’s ability to heal wounds, absorb iron and form collagen to keep our skin looking smooth and healthy. As one of the best-loved supplements in the world, many of us rely heavily on it during the winter months to help keep the dreaded common cold at bay, or to give us some extra ‘oomph’ to fight off a lurgy once it’s arrived.
Vitamin C – or ascorbic acid to give it its proper name – is a veritable superhero when it comes to keeping us well and supporting our body’s natural immune system. But what happens if you don’t have enough?
What Happens If You Are Deficient In Vitamin C?
A lack of vitamin C is relatively rare in developed countries, but can be exacerbated by certain other conditions such as a very poor diet, alcoholism, anorexia, severe mental illness, smoking heavily or if you are on dialysis. Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency can include reduced immunity, low mood and fatigue, dry skin, sore bleeding gums and tooth loss. So if you are concerned that your health or lifestyle could mean that you aren’t both getting and – crucially – absorbing your full daily allowance of vitamin C, then it is well worth considering a supplement.
How Can I Add Vitamin C to My Diet?
Some cereals and other foods are fortified, meaning the vitamin has been added to the food during production. The exact levels of vitamin C can be found on the product labels, but it is do remember that it’s unlikely that a fortified food will provide your entire daily allowance.
Vitamin C is also found in a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables including:
- Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries
- Brussels sprouts
- Green and red peppers
- Cabbage and other leafy greens
- Sweet and white potatoes
- Winter squash
However, the way in which you cook or even store fruit and veg can affect the levels of vitamin C that your body can get from eating them. Ironically, using low-fat cooking methods such as steaming or microwaving could have a negative impact on how much vitamin C they deliver.
The best way to naturally boost your vitamin C intake is to consume plenty of uncooked or raw fruit and vegetables, or to take a supplement.
How Much Vitamin C Should I Take Every Day?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adults aged between 19 and 65 is 40mg of vitamin C per day, according to NHS guidelines.
Because vitamin C is naturally occurring in so many fresh fruits and vegetables, most of us should be able to obtain as much vitamin C as we need from a healthy diet alone. But, your body can’t store vitamin C, so if your diet is irregular, or if you smoke or drink from time to time, you may want to consider taking a vitamin C supplement on a daily basis.
Can You Take Too Much Vitamin C?
Because our bodies cannot store vitamin C, it is would be virtually impossible to take enough to cause any problems.
An article in Reader’s Digest quotes Dr Keith Ayoob from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York as saying, “Vitamin C makes the best impact when taken at the start of cold symptoms.” The article reports Dr Ayoob as saying that as soon as you develop even a hint of a cold, you should “double down” on your vitamin C intake.
Myths About Vitamin C
Even super supplements have their limits. While vitamin C is good for so many things, it has not been proven to offer a miracle cure for any illnesses as some reports claim.
It’s been linked to cures for everything from cancer to low mood, but the one area where even sceptics believe it can make a difference is in helping to fend off or reduce the severity of the common cold and flu-like infections.
Protecting Yourself and Your Family
Even if you aren’t worried about catching a cold yourself, most of us don’t want to be responsible for giving it to others. This is particularly true with the risk of passing it on to those who have weaker immune systems or who could suffer complications from a cold, such as young children or old people.
According to a study reported in The Independent, seventy per cent of parents of feel they have passed a cold onto their children. It goes on to say that once a cold has entered a family home, it takes on average a fortnight before every member has caught the bug and recovered from the symptoms.
The best solution is to take steps to avoid catching a cold in the first place. HRI Herbal Medicine has gained approval for HRI Coldcare, a new herbal medicine that adds the power of ‘superhero’ vitamin C to the popular cold-fighting herb echinacea and zinc – the trace element that is used to protect against disease and illness.
You can now buy HRI Coldcare directly from our online shop, or on the high street from Holland & Barrett, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Superdrug and Morrisons.