Vitamin C is much more than an immune system booster that we get from oranges. People often believe they’re getting enough vitamin C because their orange juice carton says it’s a great source of this vitamin. Unfortunately, the general public isn’t getting properly informed about all the wonders of vitamin C and how much you should be getting on a daily basis.
Many health experts are starting to speak out about how much vitamin C we really need. Vitamin C makes Bulletproof’s list of 10 Supplements Everyone Needs. There is a clear discrepancy between Health Canada’s RDA and that of other nutrition experts.
Health Canada’s Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA): 90mg/day for adult males, 75mg/day adult females
Bulletproof Recommended Supplement Dose: 1-2 grams / day
Here’s a look at what Bulletproof has to say about vitamin C:
This is one of the safest, most effect supplements you can take. Vitamin C is needed for collagen and connective tissue formation. It’s used to manufacture glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant in the body. Vitamin C can enhance immune function and help quench free radical damage. Studies have shown you can take up to 120 grams of vitamin C a day with no side effects (besides loose stool).
It’s hard to get enough vitamin C from food, which is why 30 percent of the population is deficient.
Some fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C, but cooking and storage methods can deplete vitamin C content. Supplementation with at least 500mg per day is optimal. You should take a lot more if you are suffering from chronic infections or healing from injury.
Dose: 1-2 grams / day
Forms: Ascorbic acid crystals or time release capsules.
Time Taken: Morning and evening, but it’s best not to take it after a workout as isolated antioxidants can negate the insulin sensitivity gained from exercise.
Recommended Brand: Solaray
Here is a great lecture by Dr. Suzanne Humphries on the benefits of vitamin C (ascorbate) according to her years of research and medical experience. While Humphries is widely controversial for her stance on vaccinations, she is a leading expert on the effects of vitamin C. She’s received criticism for her non-traditional approach to the use of this vitamin, but she has the science to back up her techniques. This is an insightful lecture detailing the proper use and effects of this essential vitamin, and it’s worth the watch.
(5:15) Dr. Humphries starts the lecture off by discussing vitamin C in different species. While some species like the guinea pig and human produce no vitamin C, many animals synthesize vitamin C in very high levels. Because we don’t have the ability to synthesize this nutrient, we have no choice but to get it from our diet. By looking at the levels of vitamin C in other animals we get a better idea of how much the body can benefit from this nutrient.
(9:00) This is when Humphries starts to break down how the scientific community has our recommended dietary allowance wrong. The current RDA is surprisingly low. Right now the government health department recommends 90mg a day for an adult man and 75mg for women. These numbers seem easy enough to reach from a normal diet. A single orange (131g) contains 69.7mg. That alone almost has you covered for the day according to the health department. Even with this low RDA, Humphries says studies show that a large percentage of people are not getting enough vitamin C.
(10:14) Humphries explains that these recommended amounts might keep you from getting scurvy but won’t give you the full benefits of this vitamin. That’s because when you’re sick, or stressed (emotionally, physically, mentally) your body uses inflated levels of vitamin C. The amount of vitamin C animals synthesize spikes when they’re sick or stress to compensate for the body’s demand for the vitamin. It’s natural that humans should likewise be taking more vitamin C during stressful periods.
(20:36) Humphries looked at oxidative stress and gave a brief explanation of how chemistry works. In the most simplified terms, the body is made up of atoms. Some have too many electrons and some don’t have enough. When an atom is missing an electron it’s called a free radical. It has to desperately look for something with that missing piece so it can latch onto/ steal it. Oxidative stress occurs when the body can’t meet the demand of the free radicals. That’s where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants have extra electrons available, there for the taking. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant, meaning that vitamin C helps take care of the free radicals in the body, neutralizing them, and stopping them from attacking the body.
(38:50) Dr. Humphries then highlights some of the other incredible benefits of vitamin C. This nutrient is needed to produce collagen. Collagen is the main structural protein that is used to build bone and tissue so it’s very important for the body and keeping you young. Humphries discusses other benefits like vitamin C’s effect on sepsis (57:40) and many other diseases.
(1:08:07) At this point, Humphries goes through some high leveled, good whole food sources of vitamin C, which we discuss below. Humphries says it’s hard for people to get enough vitamin C solely through diet. She says there is no way to give a set dosage for everyone. It depends on many different personal and environmental circumstances. As a general guideline though she says people should be getting 200-1000mg a day if they are healthy and stress-free (1:24:50). The amount should increase if you’re sick, stressed, pregnant, drinking, or smoking.
(1:30:30) As a supplement Humphries recommends sodium ascorbate over calcium ascorbate (unless you’re pregnant). People generally get enough or too much calcium and the sodium ascorbate enters the body quicker and works faster.
Good Whole Food Packed With Vitamin C
It might surprise you how much vitamin C is found in bell peppers (yellow and red having double the amount of a green bell pepper). A raw yellow bell pepper has 183mg of vitamin C for every 100g. They’re also free from the sugars that are so high in fruit. Peppers are mostly water and are a great way to stay hydrated. They work as a great snack or can be added to many recipes. Not only do they add vitamins to your meal, they also add a burst of colour.
Kale is known as a wonder food for good reason. It has 80.4mg of vitamin C per 100g, but it is also an incredible source of vitamin A and K, omega-3 and 6, potassium, manganese, and many other vitamins and minerals. Kale is also sugar-free. It’s definitely a vegetable you’ll want in your diet.
Brussels sprouts have gotten a bad rap for some reason. People are often scared to try them because they think they’re gross. If you like broccoli then you’ll probably enjoy Brussels sprouts. Raw Brussels sprouts have 85mg of vitamin C for every 100g. Unfortunately, this drops to 62mg when boiled so try to steam them instead. They’re also high in vitamin K, omega-3 and 6, and are relatively low in sugar at 2.2g.
Broccoli is a tasty veggie that contains 89.2mg of vitamin C for every 100g. It’s also a great source of vitamin K and contains many other nutrients. Broccoli has relatively similar nutrition values as Brussels sprouts so have whichever you prefer.
Guava is bursting with vitamin C. Every 100g contains 228mg of the nutrient. It’s also high in dietary fiber, and a long list of other nutrients in lesser amounts. Guava gets a bad report from diet plans like The Bulletproof Diet because of the high levels of sugar. It’s true that there are 9g of sugar for every 100g (the same amount as oranges and other citrus fruits). Despite the sugar found in fruit, guavas have a higher level of vitamins and fiber that make this a great treat.
Kiwi Fruit is another fruit that is packed with vitamin C. It has 92.7mg per 100g. It’s a decent source of vitamin K and potassium and omega-6. Like guavas, kiwi fruit has 9g of sugar but only 3g of dietary fiber. While this is a good source of vitamin C, there are definitely better choices to get this nutrient from.
Oranges (And Other Citrus Fruit)
Naval oranges have 59.1mg of vitamin C for every 100g, compared to the 45mg found in Florida oranges. Oranges also have 8.5g of sugar and are low in most other vitamins. Citrus fruit does contain citrate (citric acid), which can help prevent kidney stones.
Vitamin C Supplements
Dr. Suzanne Humphries recommends taking sodium ascorbate. Her personal recommendation is NutriBiotic, Sodium Ascorbate, Crystalline Powder. It’s available at iherb.com, and ships worldwide. It is absorbed into the body quickly and helps with bowel decontamination.
¼ teaspoon (1.25g) contains 1112mg. Mix it into a glass of water and can be had with or without food.
Bulletproof recommends Ascorbic acid crystals. NutriBiotic, Ascorbic Acid, Crystalline Powder, is what we’ve been using here at Good Whole Food. A half-teaspoon (2.5g) has 2500mg of vitamin C. You can take it with or without food but Bulletproof says, “it’s best not to take it after a workout as isolated antioxidants can negate the insulin sensitivity gained from exercise.”
Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. Please consult with a doctor before adding/changing your dosage of any supplement in your diet. Take any supplements at your own risk.