4. November 2021
How vitamin C can help you stay healthy and fit
Humans need vitamin C on a daily basis to maintain good health. Many people know that vitamin C is considered THE vitamin for the immune system. But it can do much more, since it is involved in multiple vital processes in the body. What these are, how a deficiency becomes noticeable and when it can be useful to supplement vitamin C, you will learn in the following.
Do you know how much vitamin C you need? In Europe, the daily amount recommended by the DGE for an adult is 95-110 mg per day. In fruit terms, this is about two oranges or one kiwi. An adequate vitamin C supply is essential for humans, because vitamin C not only contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, but also contributes to normal functioning of the psyche and the nervous and immune systems. It supports the regeneration of vitamin E as well as the absorption of iron, protects cells from oxidative stress and promotes normal collagen formation and maintains the function of blood vessels, bones, teeth and the skin.
In addition, vitamin C serves to break down cholesterol and has a supporting role in liver detoxification and excretion of substances.
What are the best natural sources of vitamin C?
In industrialised countries, a vitamin C deficiency is very rare. Nevertheless, people who eat a very one-sided diet and, for example, without fruits and vegetables, are at risk. Typical symptoms of (advanced) deficiency are often fatigue, exhaustion, increased irritability, muscle weakness, joint stiffness, aching limbs, tissue water retention and delayed wound healing.
Regular – if not daily – vitamin C intake is therefore essential for humans. The majority of all vegetables and fruits contain large amounts of vitamin C, so that one’s own needs should normally be met without any problems and without the need for dietary supplements. Particularly rich in vitamin C are peppers, broccoli and cabbage among vegetables and citrus fruits, strawberries and kiwis among fruits.
How high is the requirement for vitamin C?
The actual need for vitamin C is always based on the current state of health, so in certain life situations, an increased intake can be useful. Stress, inflammation, allergies or even infections can greatly increase the body’s need. The body also needs more vitamin C during pregnancy, breastfeeding and in the growth phases of the child. But smokers also have an increased vitamin C requirement. The body regulates the blood concentration of vitamin C through absorption from the intestines as well as excretion through the kidneys, and is then transported it to all necessary organs and tissues via the bloodstream.
Accordingly, the need for vitamin C has been considered a point of contention among scientists for years. Some claim that the vitamin C requirement of humans is even significantly more than the recommended 95-100 mg per day. This assumption is based on the fact that all primate species consume up to 6,000 mg of vitamin C daily in their diet, and other animal species, such as dogs and cats, produce 2,000 to 10,000 mg of their own. Something that humans were once capable of as well, but have unlearned in the course of evolution due to a genetic mutation. Thus, we are now completely dependent on the intake of vitamin C through food.
If we now compare the recommended requirement of humans with the actual intake of primates and other animal species, a significant difference becomes apparent. However, it is assumed that a significantly higher amount of vitamin C is based on an increased requirement.
So do humans need more vitamin C than we thought after all?
In exceptional situations, such as increased stress, infections or inflammation, animals can significantly increase their vitamin C production and thus strengthen their self-healing powers. According to the Vitamin C Foundation, it can therefore also be advisable for humans to (briefly) increase their intake of vitamin C in the event of stress, allergies and infections. This statement is supported by numerous studies that have shown that a high-dose intake of vitamin C for colds can significantly reduce both the duration and severity of the virus.
Strengthening the immune system with vitamin C
Taking a high dose of vitamin C for colds can reduce both the duration of the illness and the severity of the virus. This has been shown in numerous studies. According to these, vitamin C increases the activity of immune cells, boosts the production of immune messengers and stimulates the activity of antibodies. Particularly in the case of viral infections.
Although natural vitamin C and synthetically derived vitamin C (ascorbic acid) are chemically identical, natural sources of vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables should be taken as preference. These contain numerous other vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, fibres and so-called secondary plant compounds like polyphenols and bioflavonoids, which have an influence on the bioavailability of the vitamin. They also have numerous positive effects on the body. In human studies, natural vitamin C has also been found to be more protective in terms of cardiovascular disease, significantly better at protecting leukocytes from oxidative DNA damage, and is 75% more absorbed into our red blood cells.
Under certain circumstances, such as a deficiency state or a weakened immune system due to illness, supplementation of vitamin C may be appropriate. Our Lanserhof Lab Supplements contain many different health-promoting ingredients. Especially at this time of year, when temperatures are dropping and the immune system is put to the test, the body’s defences can be well supported with selected supplements.