We’ve all heard about increased vitamin C preventing or reducing illness, right? People pop pills and guzzle down vitamin C drinks in an effort to stay healthy during “cold season”. There is some evidence that massive doses of vitamin C taken early enough in the illness can drastically reduce the severity and duration of whooping cough. It seems like a harmless and beneficial vitamin to take, doesn’t it? After all, it’s a water-soluble vitamin, which means the body doesn’t store it. As I explained in my post, Why I Don’t Take (Synthetic) Vitamins, popping a vitamin pill isn’t the best way to get our bodies the nutrients they need. Yes, there could be a few benefits to taking synthetic vitamin C, but the dangers might not be worth the risk. So, what’s wrong with synthetic vitamin C?
Virtually all of the vitamin C supplements available are ascorbic acid. Some will also contain other sources of vitamin C, but ascorbic acid is the prevalent type. So, what is “ascorbic acid”?
Ascorbic acid is considered a naturally occurring substance, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. It is a very processed product that almost always starts with glucose from genetically modified corn. The glucose is put through a five-step process before it can be called “ascorbic acid.” (source) That just doesn’t even sound healthy, does it?
One of the worst things about taking isolated “vitamins” is that scientists assume that they know everything there is to know about it and they proclaim “recommended” amounts. They are often having to try to cover their mistakes when they finally realize that an isolated vitamin or mineral is throwing another vitamin or mineral dangerously out of balance. God put certain combinations of nutrients together in different foods for a reason. Isolating them, especially when we’re talking about man-made versions, can hurt our bodies.
Synthetic “Vitamin C” May Harm Your Body
Ascorbic acid has been shown to cause many unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects. (source)
- Kidney stones
- Hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells)
- Migraine or other headache
- Stomach cramps
In addition to the above, people with certain conditions may be in danger from “high” levels of ascorbic acid (such as what you find in a “vitamin C” drink mix). Cancer cells absorb high levels of ascorbic acid and people with diabetes could have a dangerous spike in their blood sugar levels. (source)
Benefits of Real Vitamin C
Real vitamin C, from foods and herbs, is completely different. Not only is real vitamin C beneficial, we need it for survival.
Why is Vitamin C so important?
- It boosts and supports the immune system.
- It promotes quick healing from injuries.
- The body uses larger amounts when under stress.
- It neutralizes free radicals, which could lead to cancer.
- It helps detoxify the body.
- It promotes good bacteria and reduces bad bacteria.
- It is used for collagen production, which helps prevent wrinkles.
- It helps protect the heart and arteries from free radicals that lead to heart disease.
- It increases male fertility.
- It acts as a natural antihistamine.
Now that you know how important natural vitamin C is for your health, are you wondering how to get enough? Be sure to watch for the post next week where you can learn about some wonderful sources of vitamin C, from foods to herbs!
Other posts in this series include:
- Why I Don’t Take (Synthetic) Vitamins
- Folic Acid: Is it Safe?
- Natural Sources of Folate (Folic Acid)