Vitamin C

Vitamin C

As we head into the cold and flu season, vitamin C becomes more and more popular as a natural way to boost the immune system and help fight infection naturally. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, and since it is water soluble, we do not store it readily. This means vitamin C should be taken daily.


Vitamin C has not been linked with cold or flu prevention with any statistical significance, but it has been shown to reduce the duration of infections. This is most likely because ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is a very potent antioxidant. Antioxidants reduce metabolic stress on the body so more energy can be used by the immune system. Vitamin C has also been found in high concentrations in cells of the immune system and is used quickly during illness. Supplementing with high doses of vitamin C at the onset of an infection can replenish these stores in the immune cells, which keeps them working at 100%.


Most vitamin C supplements are chewable or dissolvable in water. For this reason, they are formulated to taste good. Unfortunately, this usually means they come loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavors. Sugar can weaken the immune system and slow the absorption of vitamin C, and artificial sweeteners and flavors are metabolic toxins that should be avoided. Always check the “other ingredients” section of the label when choosing a Vitamin C supplement.


Vitamin C should be ingested daily, but that doesn’t mean you need to take a supplement. Oranges are widely regarded as the go-to food for vitamin C, but guava, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kiwi all have more vitamin C than an orange. Vitamin C does withstand the temperatures of cooking, so you do not have to eat the vegetables raw. However, some nutrient content may be lost to the water if the vitamin c rich food is boiled. Broccoli has been shown to be most resistant to this leeching, so next time you start to feel a cold come on-reach for some steamed broccoli instead of an orange!


Vitamin C is water soluble, which means excess consumption of the vitamin will be eliminated and not stored. This makes the risk of toxicity close to zero, and there is actually no known toxic level of vitamin C for humans. While high doses may not be toxic, they can cause uncomfortable side effects. High doses of vitamin C usually result in indigestion and diarrhea. This is great news for those who suffer from constipation, but not great for those taking high doses of vitamin C to boost their immune system before they get on a plane…

Stay healthy with this and other tips by Lindsea Burns, NTP


In health,


Lindsea Burns, NTP

Clinical Nutritionist

[email protected]


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