Tagged with 'Vitamin C'

How to Choose the Best Vitamin C Supplement

best vitamin c
Currently, vitamin C is one of the most popular supplements on the market. This powerful nutrient often makes a comeback to the display shelves every flu season. Given the unique circumstances of 2020-2021, it is no surprise that vitamin C has continuously been flying off the shelves more often than usual. Not only is vitamin C an important player in the immune system, but it also helps improve iron absorption, build collagen, prevent oxidative stress, strengthen arteries, and support brain health. Even with all these benefits, humans are the only mammals that cannot create their own vitamin C. This means that we must prioritize getting vitamin C through our diets every day. The main food sources of vitamin C are raw fruits and vegetables, and taking a supplement can ensure we are getting optimal doses every day. Types of vitamin C supplements It is easy to get overwhelmed looking at all the vitamin C options in the health food store. Not only does vitamin C come in different doses, they also come in different forms. Ascorbic acid The scientific name of vitamin C is ascorbic acid – the two names are used interchangeably. The ascorbic acid form is the most researched and widely available form of vitamin C. Compared to other forms, it is relatively cheap, though not as absorbable. Taking high doses can result in an accumulation of unabsorbed vitamin C in the intestines, leading to diarrhea. To counter the acidity of the vitamin, ascorbic acid should be taken after a meal so that the food can neutralize the pH. Ascorbic acid is also water-soluble and easily excreted through urine. As a result, this form tends to stay in the body for around 4 hours. When supplementing, taking frequent doses (1-3 times/day) ensures consistent levels of vitamin C. Best option: NOW Ascorbic Acid Powder 454g Calcium ascorbate (buffered vitamin C) Do not be confused when you see the word “calcium” on your vitamin C supplement. While ascorbic acid is acidic, ascorbate is bound to a mineral such as calcium, in order to make it neutral and better absorbed. For those that are prone to stomach upset, taking a buffered vitamin C can be easier on the digestive system. Because vitamin C is bound to a mineral, a lower dose of ascorbate can yield the same effect and absorption rate as an ascorbic acid that has a higher dose. Best option: New Roots Calcium Ascorbate Vitamin C 60 Capsules Vitamin C with bioflavonoids You may have seen some vitamin C supplements that contain an extra active ingredient known as bioflavonoids. These bioflavonoids are polyphenolic compounds naturally found in plants. Natural sources of vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables, will contain their own bioflavonoids. Many well-formulated vitamin C supplements will mimic this by adding bioflavonoids to their product, increasing absorbability. Best option: Natural Factors Vitamin C 1000mg Plus Bioflavonoids & Rosehips 90 Tablets Liposomal vitamin C Liposomes are like little fat-soluble containers that carry the vitamin C cargo to the cells, where it is absorbed directly. Because they are fat-soluble, they can easily enter the cell membrane. Each cell is surrounded by a bilayer of fatty acids. Normally, water-soluble vitamin C has a tricky time getting absorbed directly because water and oil do not mix. By encasing the vitamin C in a layer of its own layer of fatty acids, the bioavailability of liposomal vitamin C increases dramatically. Vitamin C is absorbed into the cells directly, so almost all of it can be used for various body functions. Plus, because it is not water-soluble like ascorbic acid, liposomal vitamin C stays in the body longer and only needs to be taken once a day. Best option: Cyto Matrix Liposomal C 225mL Which vitamin C should I choose? Now that you understand the different types of vitamin C supplements, you can make a better choice for yourself. While the more absorbable forms of vitamin C are more expensive, they also tend to have a better effect and can yield better results. Depending on how much vitamin C you consume in your daily diet, how often you can remember to take your supplements, and your personal budget, you may decide to pick one type of vitamin C over the other. Author Grace Tien is dietetics and holistic nutrition grad. She creates sustainable, delicious meal plans to help clients with their health goals. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram. 

Are you Missing out on this Superior form of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C
Did you know that vitamin C is one of the only vitamins that your body cannot produce on its own? We rely completely on our diet to satisfy all our vitamin C needs. And with its many benefits, there are no shortages to the number of amazing effects we receive from this powerful vitamin. As a potent antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect each of your cells from free radicals, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases, while keeping your immune system balanced and ready to fight! Whole food vitamin C vs. ascorbic acid Whole food vitamin C refers to fruits and vegetables that naturally contain vitamin C. Supplement companies have been able to work with farms to cultivate crops and freeze-dry these foods to use them as daily doses. Since the vitamin C content depends on how the crops were grown and how fresh they were before being freeze-dried, it is more difficult to control the vitamin C that you get from these types of powders or supplements. However, the form of vitamin C from whole foods is far superior to anything made in a lab from a synthetic source. Our bodies were designed to use and absorb vitamin C in conjunction with other compounds like flavonoids, and both are found naturally in fruits and vegetables. They also contain many other vitamins and minerals together that allow your body to easily recognize and absorb larger amounts of vitamin C. Should I throw away my vitamin C supplements? To be clear, supplements made with ascorbic acid are not harmful. These supplements have their own purpose, but whole food vitamin C for daily use can be more absorbable and natural. If you prefer relying on ascorbic acid for its accurate dosing, you can choose a vitamin C supplement that contains bioflavonoids in its formula to reap all the benefits. Option: AOR C + Bioflavonoids 200 Veggie Caps Whole food vitamin C supplement options Camu Camu This sour berry is a superfood that has one of the highest levels of vitamin C and other powerful plant compounds. They are harvested all the way from the Amazon rainforest and minimally processed to retain all their nutrients. Option: Ecoideas Camu Camu 120 Capsules Acerola Acerola is a type of cherry that is native to the tropical regions of the Western Hemisphere, such as Barbados, Mexico, and the Caribbean. They are a mix between cherries and berries, with their taste being somewhere in between. Most people find them very pleasant tasting. Option: Flora Acerola Powder 50g Oranges When it comes to vitamin C, we can’t forget about oranges. Orange juice is often advertised as an ideal source of vitamin C, and they’re not wrong. However, many companies add sugar, fillers, and preservatives to the orange juices, and many don’t contain many oranges at all. To truly reap the benefits of vitamin C from oranges, consider a supplement that sources oranges as their main ingredient. You will get way more vitamin C than eating a couple of oranges! Option: Mega Food Daily C-Protect 63.9g How to incorporate whole food vitamin C into your daily routine Many whole food vitamin C options will come in powder form, as they are simply freeze-dried versions of the original fruit. Because of this, they will not contain any fillers or preservatives that you may find in even the most expensive supplements. Think of it as an easier way to eat larger quantities of vitamin-rich fruits, without having to worry about freshness or the expensive price tag. To enjoy these foods on a daily basis, you can add them into smoothies, chia seed pudding, oatmeal, yogurt, or even plain old water. Once you make it a habit, you’ll be on your way to getting superior vitamin C without thinking twice! Author Grace Tien is a women’s health holistic nutritionist. She helps her clients optimize their nutrition habits so that they can get rid of afternoon slumps and live each day full of energy. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.

Stressed Out? Here’s What to Do

Contrary to popular belief, stress is not always a negative thing. Stress is designed to help your body prioritize saving your life when a dangerous situation arises. It is your body’s alarm system. If a bear were to attack you, your body would immediately release adrenaline to boost your heart rate and blood flow, as well as cortisol, to increase blood sugar as an energy resource. However, cortisol, the stress hormone, will also suppress other systems that are not needed for immediate survival – digestive, reproductive, growth.  The problem occurs when stress is not caused by truly dangerous situations – for example, stressing about a due date, studying for exams, traffic jams, relationship complications. These are all common stressors, but they will not cause your body physical danger immediately. They are an inevitable part of life and can easily affect your body long-term. Cortisol should lower automatically after a period of stress, but chronic stress prevents cortisol and other stress hormones from lowering. Chronically high stress hormones can result in: Feeling fatigued or burned out  Anxiety  Difficulty falling/staying asleep  Feeling tired but wired at night  Brain fog  Difficulty concentrating  Muscle tension and/or pain  Rapid heartbeat  High blood pressure  Nausea/vomiting  Diarrhea  In today’s world, it is almost impossible to get rid of all stress. But you can better prepare your body to adapt to stress, as well as replenish nutrients that are easily lost during periods of stress.  Adaptogens for stress Adaptogens are herbs that support the body’s ability to cope with stress. Whether your cortisol is high or low, these herbs will meet the specific needs of your body. They are a great supplement for anyone going through a stressful period that they cannot control, such as exam periods or busy work schedules.  Rhodiola  Rhodiola is one of the most well-known adaptogens for stress. It has been shown to enhance the body’s physical and mental capacity to improve productivity.[1] Rhodiola is particularly helpful to fight stress-related fatigue, also known as the common “afternoon slump”.  Ashwagandha This herb supports the body by helping to trigger the proper physiological response to stress. In a study with 64 subjects, ashwagandha has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and improve resistance to stress, even in those with chronic stress.[2] Siberian ginseng  Ginseng is a medicinal herb that has been used for thousands of years. It is involved in regulating hormones during stress and can help your body reach homeostasis after abnormal physiological changes caused by the stress of everyday life.[3] Did you know that stress can increase the risk of many inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes? Ginseng is anti-inflammatory and can protect against inflammatory cytokines induced by anxiety, depression, oxidative stress and disease. Nutrients for stress Vitamin C Vitamin C is needed to make stress hormones. During periods of stress, this vitamin is rapidly depleted. When vitamin C levels are low, your body will also view that as a stressor and release more stress hormones. A vitamin C deficiency can easily become a chronic stress cycle.  Vitamin B5 Vitamin B5 is needed for proper function of the adrenal cortex. B5 prevents the body from releasing too much cortisol at once, to prevent the harmful effects of chronic stress in the body.[4] There are many supplements on the market that are designed to help your body adapt to stress. Many of them will have a formula containing a variety of the adaptogens and nutrients listed above. An example is Ortho Adapt Vegan by AOR – it is efficient and effective!  Author  Grace Tien is a dietetics and holistic nutrition grad. She creates sustainable, delicious meal plans to help clients with their health goals. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.   References Li, Y., Pham, V., Bui, M., Song, L., Wu, C., Walia, A., Uchio, E., Smith-Liu, F., & Zi, X. (2017). Rhodiola rosea L.: an herb with anti-stress, anti-aging, and immunostimulating properties for cancer chemoprevention. Current pharmacology reports, 3(6), 384–395. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40495-017-0106-1 Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian journal of psychological medicine, 34(3), 255–262. https://doi.org/10.4103/0253-7176.106022 Lee, S., & Rhee, D. K. (2017). Effects of ginseng on stress-related depression, anxiety, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Journal of ginse ...

Tried and True Supplements for the Flu Season

Are you worried about getting sick during these harsh times? Many of us are in the same boat and are wondering how to be proactive this season. As you know, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly is imperative to keep a healthy immune system strong. With these basic foundations in place, you can add on specific nutrients that your body needs to keep your immune system balanced and ready to fight off infections. These supplements contain ingredients with proven benefits to aid the immune system. Supplements for the Flu Season Vitamin D As the cold weather approaches, we spend less time outdoors. Vitamin D is produced in our skin cells when they are exposed to sun rays – so it comes as no surprise that vitamin D deficiency is the most prevalent from October to April. Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common and is associated with increased inflammation and deregulation of the immune system.[1] It is an essential part of keeping a balanced immune system that is ready to fight! Did you know that many of our immune cells have vitamin D receptors? This means that vitamin D can directly activate and increase the production of immune cells.[2] We suggest trying an emulsified vitamin D3 supplement, as it is the most absorbable.  Vitamin C One of the most popular vitamins for the cold and flu season is vitamin C. Why? Supplementing vitamin C improves immune cell activities so that the natural killer cells can get rid of pathogens in the body.[3] This powerful antioxidant helps alert immune cells to sites of infections and enhances their ability to kill microbes.[4] We suggest trying a fat-soluble, liposomal form of vitamin C because it will stay in your body longer than other vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C is naturally water-soluble and will be excreted in your urine throughout the day. Liposomal vitamin C ensures you are using up all the vitamin C in the supplement! Zinc  This mineral is needed for the growth, development, and maintenance of immune cells.[5] Zinc deficiency is common, as it cannot be stored in the body and has to be consumed daily to ensure adequate amounts. Zinc deficiency has been shown to impair immunity, delay wound healing, and increase inflammation in the body. [6] A deficiency in zinc can cause unfavorable changes to the thymus, the organ that produces immune cells. Luckily, the supplementation of zinc is able to reverse those changes and strengthen the signaling pathways of immune cells![7] Taking too much zinc is unlikely to cause symptoms, however, it can hide a copper deficiency. To be safe, it is advised to take a copper-zinc formula when supplementing the long-term.[6] Elderberry  These berries have traditionally been used to address cold and flu symptoms. Elderberries contain high levels of anthocyanins, which have antiviral activities and are able to boost immune function.[8] They are a popular home remedy for upper respiratory symptoms from influenza or colds, such as sinus congestion, sore throat, cough or fever. Elderberry supplementation has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of these symptoms.[8] It can also be taken as a preventative measure or at the onset of symptoms for the best results.  We suggest choosing elderberry that is commercially prepared and is standardized, to provide an effective option. This syrup from Suro Organic is a staple in our cupboards! When should you start supplementing for the flu season?  Keep in mind that the effects of supplements take time. Start today and build up your immunity sooner rather than later!  Author  Grace Tien is dietetics and holistic nutrition grad. She creates sustainable, delicious meal plans to help clients with their health goals. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.   References Sassi, F., Tamone, C., & D'Amelio, P. (2018). Vitamin D: Nutrient, Hormone, and Immunomodulator. Nutrients, 10(11), 1656. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111656 Prietl, B., Treiber, G., Pieber, T. R., & Amrein, K. (2013). Vitamin D and immune function. Nutrients, 5(7), 2502–2521. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5072502 Wintergerst, E. S., Maggini, S., & Hornig, D. H. (2006). Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions. Annals of nutrition & metabolism, 50(2), 85–94. https://doi.org/10.1159/000090495 Carr, A. C., & Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients, 9(11), 1211. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9111211 Read, S. A., Obeid, S., Ahlenstiel, C., & Ahlenstiel, G. (2019). The Role of Zinc in Antiviral Immunity. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 10(4), 696–710. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmz013 Maywald, M., Wessels, I., & Rink, L. (2017). Zinc Signals and Immunity. International journal of molecular sciences,&nbs ...