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Should You Really Be Buying Vitamin C?

I wanted to take a few moments to talk to y'all about one of the most well-known vitamins on the planet.

Good ol' vitamin C.

My guess is every single person reading this has some vitamin C in their house right now or has bought some in the past.

Part of the reason vitamin C is so well-known is because it was one of the first vitamins ever discovered. It's also received major attention from researchers over the years. 

And while there's definitely a substantial amount of evidence to support many of its reputed health benefits, I just can't help but ask...

Is Vitamin C Really Worth Buying? 

If you've been following my writing for any amount of time, you know I'm a firm believer in utilizing diet as a means to super-charge health.

The only time I recommend supplements is if you're not able to get enough of a certain nutrient from your diet. The exception to this is if you're trying to ingest high levels of a nutrient for the amelioration of a condition or sickness.

Vitamin C is one of the few nutrients I'm confident can be found in abundance through diet alone.

Of course, if you plan on supplementing, I do have a recommendation (as well as a preferred brand), but I don't think you should be supplementing with vitamin C unless you're trying to do something very specific. 

Now if I were to ask you what the best natural, non-processed sources of vitamin C are, what would you say? 

I'll bet a lot of you would say oranges. The reason that's your first response is because the glut of marketing dollars used to sell orange juice has been making people believe it's an all-star when it comes to vitamin C content.

Don't get me wrong, orange juice is an OK place to get vitamin C...but it's a horrible vehicle for this amazing nutrient. This is mainly because the amount of sugar packed into a cup of orange juice is dangerously high.

If you're going to turn to orange juice to get vitamin C, I suggest eating an orange instead. Make sure to wash and eat the skin, too; that's where a lot of its potent antioxidants reside.

Truth be told, there are a handful of other fruits and veggies I would turn to over oranges if I wanted to get loads of vitamin C in my diet.

Take a look at this list from World's Healthiest Foods:

         Food-Cals-DRI/DV

  • Papaya-119-224%
  • Bell Peppers-29-157%
  • Broccoli-55-125%
  • Brussels Sprouts-56-129%
  • Strawberries-46-113%
  • Pineapple-83-105%
  • Oranges-62-93%
  • Kiwifruit-42-85%
  • Cantaloupe-54-78%
  • Cauliflower-29-73%

Yes, oranges are on there, and they're a solid source of vitamin C. However, I would refrain from relying on them exclusively since they're high in sugar.

I'd also opt for the green vegetables over the fruits every time since they're lower in sugars and typically higher in other phytonutrients too.

Looking at that list, you can see it's really not that hard to get the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.

But I wanted to talk to you about buying vitamin C. You know you can get it from diet alone, so when/why should you buy it?

Only Buy Vitamin C If You...

I think the only time you should buy vitamin C is when you run out of the vitamin C you've got in your medicine cabinet. 

And if you don't have any, you absolutely should get some.

"But Dr. Wiggy, you just said I didn't need to buy it since I can get it from diet alone."

You're 100% correct - you can get all the vitamin C you need for daily health from diet alone.

However, there will be occasions where you'll want to have some extra vitamin C on hand, and I guarantee you'll come across these times once, twice, or maybe even a few times a year.

Let me rattle them off and I'l explain why supplemental vitamin C is needed to help with them.

  1. When you're sick with a cold: Everyone knows you take vitamin C when you're sick, and that advice has turned out to be grounded in sound science. Taking anywhere from 10-20x the recommended amount of vitamin C during sickness can help boost your immune system's ability to fight off illness. 

    In fact (and I agree with this), many experts advise taking 10x the daily value of vitamin C to help create an extremely powerful immune system. 

  2. If you have cardiovascular issues: Some of the most groundbreaking research regarding vitamin C supplements is on how it affects the heart. Vitamin C supplementation at 250mg is able to prevent plaque buildup in the arteries, while also restoring elasticity to the endothelium. 

  3. If you're trying to control blood sugar levels: "Human studies have now demonstrated that vitamin C supplements may help lower blood glucose levels in diabetics, with additional beneficial reductions in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and plasma free radicals."

  4. If you suffer from stomach issues: One of the most dangerous bacteria in the world is called Helicobacter pylori. Dozens of diseases and conditions have been associated with its presence in the stomach. Excitingly, taking supplemental vitamin C has been shown to help reduce the number of antibiotics it requires to kill this dangerous pathogen. 

  5.  You want to protect your eyesight: Despite what people believe, vitamin C plays a huge role in eye health. As Dr Mercola writes:  

    Researchers from King's College London in the U.K measured the opacity of participants’ cataracts over a 10-year period, starting when the participants were about 60 years old. They also surveyed the participants about their nutrient intake.

    The first measurement revealed those with a high intake of vitamin C had a 20 percent lower risk of cataracts.

    Ten years later, a vitamin-C-rich diet was linked to a 33 percent lower risk of cataract progression. Study author Dr. Christopher Hammond, professor of ophthalmology at King's College London, told Medical News Today:4

    "The most important finding was that vitamin C intake from food seemed to protect against cataract progression. While we cannot totally avoid developing cataracts, we may be able to delay their onset and keep them from worsening significantly by eating a diet rich in vitamin C."

    The study only evaluated dietary intake of vitamin C, although past research has also shown long-term vitamin C supplementation may also be useful.

And believe me, there are quite a few more reasons to supplement with vitamin C. In fact, it would take a few more e-mails for me to fill you in on all of them.

I recommend you buy some vitamin C supplements and keep them on hand for when you get sick.

Be careful where you get your vitamin C, though. It's one of the most popular vitamins in production and, like this article states, many of the companies out there are now adding fillers and non-active ingredients to make a fast buck.

The brand I trust (until we develop our own lower-cost version) is NOW Vitamins.

Their vitamins have the highest quality and are available for a great price too.

To get the best bang for your buck on a supplement you know you need, click here or on the image below.