Vitamin C, a qualified mercenary

vitamins dose - comic

I’ve never been a big fan of food supplements. Definitely not. I prefer to get the vitamins and other nutrients in a more natural way, by selecting the proper food.

Still, so many articles about fatigue end up by recommending the use of food supplements: vitamins here, vitamins there, zinc, potassium, iron, all kind of cocktails, calcium mojitos, magnesium tequila…

cocktail of food supplements - comic

I kind of suspect some business behind all theses. But still, I allow myself to try them once in while. It’s often a bit expensive, but men, imagine if it works! Magnesium worked a bit. I think. Vitamin B not so much. Vitamin C? Hell yeah.

Vitamin C has many roles. Among them, it happens to be the best ally of our immune system. And when there is fatigue somewhere, either for a long period or for a shorter moment, the immune system is always involved. It is when this later is weakened that our defenses are low and the sickness kicks in. We usually think of vitamin C for a small boost, but if you use it right, it can bring in a whole army.

Which vitamin C to choose? How is it more efficient?

Vitamin C is scientifically known as ascorbic acid. It can be chemically synthesized or natural, collected from fruits or anything from nature that contains it. Acerola, for instance, is a cherry that became famous for containing a very high amount of vitamin C.

vitamin c process - acerola cherry - comic

Of course, it is simply possible to get it from your food. Here are a few examples of fruits and vegetables that have high amounts of it. From one source to another, those values may vary a bit. But that doesn’t really mater.

Food full of vitamin Cmg/100g
Fresh blackcurrant, fresh parsley200
Raw red bell pepper165
Raw green bell pepper127
Raw brocoli110
Raw black radish100
Cooked Brocoli, cooked Bruxelles sprout, chives, watercress, strawberry, litchi60
Orange, fresh lemon52
Raw coli flower, fresh orange juice50
Fresh mango, clementine, redcurrant42
Raw spinach, cooked coli flower, lamb’s letuce, raw dandelion35-40
Cooked sorrel, raspberry, melon, raw sweet potato, calf liver, raw radish, raw purslane, cooked green cabbage20-26
Cooked rutabaga, cooked chard, raw celeriac, raw tomato, arugula, poultry liver15-19
Raw pumpkin, cooked turnip, cooked asparagus, cooked spinach10-12

vitamin C podium - comic

Still, if you want to give a real help to your immune system, these quantities might not be enough. This is where food supplements take action.

Synthesized ascorbic acid is not advised. It would be absorbed by the body in a less efficient way than the natural version. Why? Simply because within nature molecules are not isolated like they are in the lab. It goes along with enzymes and other nutrients that are required by the body in order to absorb it properly.

So you may want to favor vitamin C in a complex ecosystem, and not the isolated molecule. Below is the one that works for me and that I would recommend, but feel free to you whatever you prefer! (and tell us in comments)

It looks like the new trend is around liposomal vitamin C (packaged in lipids), but I didn’t feel like trying car the one I currently use does a perfect job. Is it truly better or just business? You can tell me, in the comments.

How much vitamin C should I take?

The daily intakes, recommended by health authorities would be around 90 to 110 mg a day. Still, the Linus Pauling institute, in Oregon, recommends a dose of at least 400 mg a day. This institute is a research organization focused on vitamins and micronutriments use in preventing or curing diseases. 400 mg would enable very important beneficial effects on stress resistance, as well as preventing and dealing with high blood pressure, healthy blood vessels and arteries, and cancers1.

These recommandations are about daily prevention, but what about dealing with sickness or fatigue? In those case, you can temporarily raise the doses. Doing a vitamin C therapy is easy and not dangerous: increase the intake up to 2 grams per day, divided during the day. You can keep on until you notice that your stool gets too soft: this is how you know you’ve had enough. Your body has had more vitamins that it could use. Then go back to the 400 mg a day recommandation.

If I take a look at the chart above, it is possible to get to that dose with the right choice of food. I wouldn’t recommend that you take food supplements every single day of your life. Especially if you feel fine. But again, the choice is yours. I myself do exceptions quite some times.

That’s it! I hope that, like I did, you’ll try and take advantage of vitamin C, and that your body will thank you for that!

Is vitamin C also efficient for you too? Feel free to leave a message in the comments.

  1. Frei B, Birlouez-Aragon I, Lykkesfeldt J. Authors’ perspective: What is the optimum intake of vitamin C in humans? Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2012;52(9):815-29.
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