Vitamin C is one of the most common supplements taken worldwide. However, even among those who take Vitamin C, few actually reap the benefits of optimal Vitamin C levels. This is because not all supplements are created equal. Making informed choices when it comes to picking out our supplements is important to ensure that we are receiving the full spectrum of benefits of our chosen nutrients.
Optimizing Vitamin C levels is one of the easiest ways we can protect our health in the long run. When we saturate levels of Vitamin C in the body, incredible things happen.
What Is Vitamin C
Vitamin C is primarily an antioxidant that is generally used for the maintenance of good health and immune function. The use of Vitamin C is more profound than many realize, and the extent to which Vitamin C can improve health is much vaster than we are led to believe.
When you drastically increase levels of Vitamin C you can expect to see smooth, hydrated skin and a reduction in wrinkles. Many people often notice that after a couple months of Vitamin C supplementation their resilience to infections increases. This means that incidence of colds, flus and bugs goes down and if an illness does develop symptoms are generally milder and the duration of illness is shorter. Energy levels tend to increase along with overall mood.
Long term higher dose (1000mg + /day) Vitamin C has benefits that we may not see immediately but that provide protection to our physiology as we age. The research is abundant and clear that those with higher levels of plasma Vitamin C throughout their life have less risk for several cancers, cardiovascular disease, gum disease and cognitive decline.
This is further confirmed by the use of high dose IV Vitamin C for the treatment of several of these conditions in a clinical setting.
Optimal levels of Vitamin C cannot be obtained through diet or conventional supplements. This is due to the way we absorb Vitamin C. Vitamin C gets absorbed in the intestines, but the pathway it takes from the intestines into the bloodstream can only transport so much Vitamin C. The pathways becomes saturated at low doses and the remaining Vitamin C in the intestines gets excreted from the body. This is the same with supplemental Vitamin C or Vitamin C from the foods we eat.
In order to get enough Vitamin C to go from surviving (preventing scurvy) to thriving (vibrant health) we have to bypass the typical absorption pathway Vitamin C takes to get into the body. There are two different ways we can do this. The first is through the use of IV nutrition. The second is through ‘hiding’ the Vitamin C in a fat.When we encapsulate Vitamin C in a fat, this is called liposomal delivery (Lypo-Spheric®). IV’s go directly into the blood and Lypo-Spheric® liposomal nutrients get absorbed as a fat, which allows Vitamin C to have an unlimited capacity to pass through the intestine into the blood!
You might be wondering why, if we cannot absorb large amounts of Vitamin C, then why would we need or want to take more than we can absorb naturally? The long-short is that modern living increases our Vitamin C requirements and human physiology has not had the chance to evolve at the rate our environment has. Here are a few examples of modern circumstances that drastically increase our need for Vitamin C:
-Exposure to pollution
-Living in a city, away from nature
-High toxic exposure
-Inflammation in the body
Types of Supplementation
There are several delivery systems for supplemental Vitamin C. You will see it in pills, tablets, powders, gummies, drinks and as a liposomal preparation. You will also find it in whole food form, as ascorbic acid and with or without bioflavonoids. Confusing right?
An important concept to keep in mind when taking Vitamin C is that after 200mg the rate of absorption goes down drastically. When taking any oral form of Vitamin C, with the exception of liposomal, it is ideal to take 200mg every couple of hours to get higher levels into the body.
As a general rule, only 15-20% of traditional Vitamin C supplements are absorbed whereas our Lypo-Spheric® liposomal delivery is closer to the absorption of IV and can reach a bioavailability of up to 98%.
Note: If you take too much Vitamin C in these forms you will hit something we call bowel tolerance. Bowel tolerance is when there is an excessive amount of Vitamin C in the intestine which then draws in water and can cause loose stools or diarrhea. Bowel tolerance won't be reached using Lypo-Spheric® Vitamin C.
Another important point to note is that often times forms such as gummies, powders and drinks contain sugar. Vitamin C and sugar compete for absorption and thus we get even less Vitamin C from these forms.
When it comes to choosing whole foods or ascorbic acid with or without bioflavonoids, there are a couple factors to consider.
Bioflavonoids, while extremely important to health in concentrated form, can inhibit the absorption of Vitamin C. We typically recommend getting bioflavonoids from the diet to maximize the amount of Vitamin C we can absorb through a pill or capsule.
To date, there is no strong research that suggests whole foods supplements are better absorbed or more beneficial than ascorbic acid. In a clinical setting for the treatment of serious illness such as cancer- ascorbic acid is used in the IVs at doses as high as 30,000mg/ day indicating the safety and effectiveness of ascorbic acid (ps-high doses should only be done by a qualified doctor),
When it comes to reaping the most benefit from oral supplementation- Lypo-Spheric® delivery is the gold standard.
LivLong Lypo-Spheric ® Vitamin C is manufactured in the USA by LivOn Labs and uses a patented process called Liposomal Encapsulation Technology (LET)- each packet contains 1000mg of bioavailable Vitamin C and 1000mg of essential phospholipids. Each packet is the equivalent to taking 3000-4000mg of a conventional vitamin C supplement, that is nearly fully absorbed. Check it out here!
Any questions on vitamin C? Let us know!
Author: Lisa Kowalyk, CNP, B.Kin