Discover different ways of supporting your immune system with vitamin C.
Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins you need to support your immune system. It’s crucial for maintaining healthy bodily functions, fighting off infections and supporting the growth and repair of bodily tissues.
Everyone needs a good source of vitamin C in their diets. If you have a vitamin C deficiency, you’re more likely to experience dry skin, slow healing wounds and painful, swollen joints. Plus, you’ll also be more likely to get sick and experience slow recovery from illnesses if your body lacks the vital support it needs.
Vitamin C supplements make it easy for you to stay on top of your vitamin intake. Supplements take the hassle out of staying healthy but shouldn’t act as a substitute for a balanced diet and exercise, so how else can you support your immune system with vitamin C?
Why Should You Take Vitamin C?
First things first, what are the benefits of vitamin C? It’s important to understand how this vitamin supports your bodily functions and protects you from getting sick.
- Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant — It strengthens your body’s natural defences, helping you stay fit and healthy throughout your life.
- It boosts white blood cell production — It bolsters your immune system by producing lymphocytes and phagocytes that protect your body from infections.
- It can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels — This reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and other cholesterol-related issues, including heart attacks and strokes.
- Vitamin C helps manage high blood pressure — The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation says hypertension affects about 20% of the Canadian population, but vitamin C helps keep this under control.
- It helps iron absorption — Vitamin C supports the production of red blood cells, decreasing the likelihood of iron deficiency.
- It’s essential for the synthesis of collagen — Vitamin C helps produce enzymes that are the building blocks of collagen — a protein that’s crucial for maintaining healthy skin and muscles and bones.
With so many benefits, it’s easy to understand why vitamin C is crucial for your continued health and wellbeing, so what’s the best way to make sure you’re getting enough of the good stuff?
What’s The Best Way to Take Vitamin C?
Like many other vitamins, vitamin C supplements take many different forms. Meeting your recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin C is made simple by being able to choose from several kinds of supplements. Some of the easiest ways to take vitamin C include:
- Capsules and Pills: Taking vitamin C in capsule or pill form is probably the easiest way to ensure maximum absorption and effectiveness of the supplement. BestVitamin Vitamin C Matrix is formulated with eight forms of buffered vitamin C and is also less acidic for enhanced gastrointestinal tolerance, making it an ideal choice for those prone to acid reflux.
- Powders and Formulas: Powdered vitamin C and vitamin C formulas are ideal for anyone who can't or doesn’t like to swallow pills or capsules. Powders need to be mixed with water to create a tasty, vitamin-packed drink. Powders are available in packet form — like the Ener-C Single Serve Packets — meaning you meet your RDA without having to measure out each serving separately.
- Chewables: Chewable vitamin C supplements are useful for children, toddlers and anyone who simply dislikes swallowing pills. They’re similar soft sweets that, as the name suggests, are easy to chew and swallow. SISU Ester-C for Kids comes in the form of star-shaped chewables, making them fantastic little treats that help aid your children’s development.
Vitamin C Intake and a Balanced Diet
While supplements are a great way of staying in control of your vitamin intake, you should aim to eat a balanced diet that supports your body’s functions too. Foods that are naturally rich in vitamin C (as well as other key nutrients) include:
- Kiwi fruit
Including these fruits and vegetables in your diet regularly can help to improve the amount of vitamin C and other key nutrients that are absorbed into your body, bolstering your immune system and the effectiveness of other supplements.
But, you should be aware that different cooking processes affect the nutritional content of certain foods. Microwaving and boiling food products negatively affects the number of vitamins and minerals retained by the food, and in most cases, eating fruit and vegetables in their raw and unprocessed form is the best way to ensure maximum vitamin absorption. That doesn’t mean you have to start chowing down on raw broccoli stems every day, but overcooking your veg will reduce the positive effects of a healthy diet.
Who Should Take Vitamin C Supplements?
Vitamin C is more beneficial to some people than others, but everyone can benefit from the immune system support that vitamin C offers. Groups of people who should take vitamin C supplements include:
- Young Children and Toddlers: Vitamin C supports healthy tissue and bone development in children and helps them recover from colds more quickly. Vitamin C requirements and tolerable upper intake levels change depending on your child’s age. A 250mg (milligram) supplement like SISU Ester-C for Kids contains a lower concentration of vitamin C than a typical adult supplement, ensuring that your child is getting enough vitamins to aid their development without breaching their tolerable upper intake levels.
- Older Adults and Seniors: Older people require more vitamin C to make up for deficiencies in ageing immune systems. As a result of a higher vitamin C intake, white blood cell production increases, helping to ward off any potential infections, helping people to stay healthy in later life. Seniors should aim to take supplements that contain at least 1000mg of vitamin C to decrease the chances of age-related macular degeneration and heart problems.
- People on Special Diets: People who eat a restricted diet for any reason — including those on vegetarian, pescatarian or vegan diets — may have restricted access to nutrients found in food groups that they typically avoid. Dairy-free, sugar-free, vegan and gluten-free vitamin C supplements can make up for any deficiencies in restrictive diets, offering a useful way to keep track of vitamin intake no matter what your regular diet looks like.
- People Who Smoke: Cigarettes increase the potency of free radicals — tiny atoms that can cause damage to your internal cells — resulting in a larger requirement for vitamin C to counteract the negative effects that smoking has on the body.
- People with Certain Medical Conditions: If you suffer from any condition that causes malabsorption of nutrients — like kidney disease that requires dialysis and some types of cancer — vitamin C supplements can help make up the deficit in nutrient absorption.
Can You Take Too Much Vitamin C?
Supplements contain anywhere between 250mg and 1000mg of vitamin C, the latter being a regular concentration for all kinds of supplements. This dosage helps to ensure that these supplements are effective, even at lower rates of absorption. Some people’s bodies naturally absorb more nutrients than others, which is why a high vitamin C content is useful for these groups of people.
The tolerable upper intake level of vitamin C is approximately 2g (grams) for healthy adults. While it’s almost impossible to take this much vitamin C through a regular diet and normal use of supplements, the overuse of supplements — like taking more than the recommended daily amount — can breach this upper limit and may lead to an upset stomach.
It’s essential to always read the label of any supplement to ensure that you’re not taking more than what’s recommended. The repercussions aren’t all that serious, but they’re definitely worth avoiding!
Boosting Your Immune System with Vitamin C
Whether you’re looking to boost your immune system or give your children the best start in life, vitamin C supplements can bolster the body’s defences, synthesize vital proteins and help you live a healthy life. If you’re new to the world of taking supplements, vitamin C is a great place to start.
Not only can you start to feel the fantastic effects of vitamin C quickly, but it’s also available in several different forms, allowing you to get the best nutrition possible in a way that suits you and your family.
Interested in strengthening your immune system? Why not try our new vitamin C supplements from BestVitamin, Canada’s highest-quality supplement brand, giving you the benefits of maximum vitamin absorption in the form of easy-to-take vegetable capsules.