Vitamin C Supplements.. do you need them?
Having already posted my mini interview with Men’s Fitness Magazine on whey protein I thought that I would post another one! I gave my comments on behalf of Protein Dynamix, who pride themselves with evidence based nutrition.
So, if you’re about to pop a vitamin C supplement.. then STOP, before you read this post ;).
Vitamin C.. What is it and Do you need it?
- What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant and water-soluble essential vitamin. Vitamin C helps to protect our body cells, maintain the health of our connective tissue, and helps wounds to heal. An inadequate intake of vitamin C can lead to scurvy (a rare condition characterised by muscle and joint pain, tiredness and bleeding gums). Vitamin C is predominantly found in fruits and vegetables such as oranges, berries, broccoli and peppers.
- How does Vitamin C work?
As a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C helps to neutralise free radicals, which although are formed naturally in the body as a result of things such as stress and air pollutants, have the potential to cause damage to cells.
- What benefits can Vitamin C Supplements offer?
Vitamin C supplements can help to reduce the duration of the common cold when taken daily at the onset, and in athletes can help to reduce the frequency of colds appearing.
- Is Vitamin C something people should take all year round?
If you have a healthy and balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables then there is no need to take a Vitamin C supplement all year round. You may however wish to take one daily if you are an athlete/extremely active. Non-athletes may want to consider taking a Vitamin C supplement at the start of a cold to help reduce the duration.
- How often should people take Vitamin C, and what should the dosage be?
The government advises that adults require 40mg of Vitamin C a day (as Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin it cannot be stored in the body) and a healthy and balanced diet containing at least 5 portions (a portion is approximately 80g or a handful) of fruit and vegetables a day should provide this.
Examine.com (an independent and unbiased encyclopaedia on supplementation and nutrition) advises to take 1,000 to 2,000 mg, in divided doses throughout the day to boost the immune system and keep us healthy. Taking large amounts of Vitamin C a day (more than 1,000 mg) can however have the ability to cause stomach upset.
- Is it more effective if taken at a certain time of day, or with food, or specifically before or after exercise?
Further research is needed to determine if Vitamin C is more effective when taken with a meal (Examine.com).
Do you take a Vitamin C supplement? I personally take 1,000mg at the onset of a cold.. but other than that I rely on good old fruit & veg for my intake :).