Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid is not Vitamin C)

We' are all familiar with getting out our Vitamin C when we feel a cold coming on as it is known to enhance immune cell function.  Sometimes it works in keeping the cold at bay, other times not.  In addition, we hear varying stories about the effectiveness of "Vitamin C."  Well, the first and most important point to understand is that Ascorbic Acid is not Vitamin C - it is just the outer layer of the Vitamin C complex (remember how I spoke of the 20 factors of the Vitamin B complex? - the same applies here).  We all remember the story of the British sailors who would get scurvy until they started eating lemons and limes.  It was the Vitamin C content of those fruits that saved them.  In fact, if you were to give someone with scurvy some ascorbic acid, guess what would happen? Yes, they would die of the disease.  You see it is the whole Vitamin C with all its parts that does the magic, not the isolated ascorbic acid.  By the way you can make your own ascorbic acid if you like - just mix together sulphuric acid and sugar - now that sounds real healthy!

The other benefits of Vitamin C - it is an antioxidant, so it kills those free radicals to prevent damage to our cells and tissues.  It is also involved in forming collagen which is in our connective tissue.  It also facilitates iron absorption and assists in cholesterol metabolism.  So it is helping the blood, cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems.

The best sources of Vitamin C are not your ascorbic acid pills!  It is found in Acerola berries, broccoli (yes, another reason to eat your broccoli), Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, kiwi (an excellent source), oranges, papaya, red bell peppers, and strawberries.
 
Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Thiensville. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.