I want to share why vitamin C for gut healing is critical.
Vitamin C for Gut Healing
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Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid, however there is a caveat to that relationship which I discuss below.
It is a water-soluble nutrient found in some foods, which means that it dissolves in water and is transported to the body’s tissues. However, it is not well stored, so we must take it in daily.
The purpose vitamin C serves is to act as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, we need vitamin C to make collagen. Collagen is a protein required to help wounds heal. I have talked about Collagen at length HERE; wound healing was included.
Finally, vitamin C improves the absorption of iron from plant-based foods and helps the immune system work properly to protect the body from disease.
Now, before we move on, I want to address ascorbic acid.
Is Ascorbic Acid Vitamin C?
It’s very conflicting because highly resourced medical journals, even what I stated above (from the NIH) say, “Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid….”
It got the name ‘ascorbic acid‘ because of its anti-scorbutic properties ie. it prevents scurvy.
Arthur Haines writes,
Not only do we think of vitamin C also operating on its own, we have been taught to think of vitamin C as synonymous with ascorbic acid. It turns out that both of these are incorrect.
The ascorbic acid that is added to processed food is just the ascorbic acid—it is devoid of all of the co-occurring factors of vitamin C. By the way, synthetic ascorbic acid is manufactured through a five-step process from glucose, using either acetone or a genetically modified microbe as part of the process.
However, even though sometimes the two are used (not fully correctly) interchangeably, for all intensive purposes, my opinion is that they are the same thing.
Vitamin C Food
Here is a list of foods that naturally contain vitamin C:
- 100% fruit juice
- baked potatoes
- Brussels sprouts
- fortified foods (breads, grains, cereal)
- green pepper
- red pepper
Vitamin C Deficiency Symptoms
Even though vitamin c deficiency is rare, here are some symptoms of it:
- muscle weakness
- bruise easily
- joint and muscle aches
- bleeding gums
- leg rashes
- ulcers in mouth and intestines
Finally, Scurvy, “which cause things like fatigue, inflammation of the gums, small red or purple spots on the skin, joint pain, poor wound healing, and corkscrew hairs. Additional signs of scurvy include depression as well as swollen, bleeding gums and loosening or loss of teeth. People with scurvy can also develop anemia. Scurvy is fatal if it is not treated.”
General Implications for Vitamin C
With all the Coronavirus chatter currently happening, of course there has been mention of this vitamin. An acquaintance shared one of the best Coronavirus articles I’ve read yet on Facebook. In the article she states,
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which assists our ability to ward off and deal with infection.
Most notably, beefing up on the vitamin has been associated with the common cold.
In the 1970s Linus Pauling suggested that vitamin C could successfully treat and/or prevent the common cold. Results of subsequent controlled studies have been inconsistent, resulting in confusion and controversy, although public interest in the subject remains high.
Vitamin C Specifically for the Gut
There are various “risk” groups for not getting enough vitamin C. Two of them might pertain to the gut-healing community. The NIH states, “individuals with limited food variety” and “people with malabsorption and certain chronic diseases.” Both of these are categories you might fall under.
Individuals with limited food variety
Many of you practicing a gut-healing diet, have severely limited various higher vitamin C foods for whatever reason. The truth is that the highest amount of vitamin C will not be found solely through food. In fact, vitamin C is one area where I will supplement because I can do so through a simple power. See more on that below. But getting as much of it from pure, natural food sources is never a bad idea. The problem is that you might not be due to your healing diet.
People with malabsorption and certain chronic diseases
In a recent exclusive e-newsletter I sent, I discussed more about absorption. In the newsletter, I stated, “Nutrient absorption ranges from 10-90%. That’s a huge range. The determining factor? Of course, how your digestive system is functioning. Are there overgrowths? Do you have a digestive disease? Is there scarring? Are you chewing your food? And so many more things.” You can take all the vitamin C in the world, but if you are not absorbing it for any digestive reason, it won’t matter. (p.s. Be sure you’re on the newsletter list, as there is information I’ll only be sharing there moving forward.)
What is a Good Vitamin C Supplement?
First, here are the recommended daily amounts.
And this is what they say the upper limits are.
Knowing that and how much you estimate you’re getting from food per day could help determine supplement quantity.
But do remember, if you are having signs and symptoms of a deficiency, be sure to get your levels checked as you might not even be absorbing it.
- Doctor’s Best. THIS is the one I have. I’ve used this one for quite some time now.
- Pure Encapsulations
- NOW Foods Vitamin C
- Metagenics Ultra Potent (if you want it in capsule form)
Make note, especially if you are using vitamin C for gut healing, that there can be undesirable side effects from taking too much. On page 164 of The Gutsy Girl’s Bible, I talk about diarrhea and constipation.
Yes, for those who are constipated, vitamin C can be very useful. However, on the contrary, if you have diarrhea, it is recommended that you limit vitamin C. Also, too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea.
Like with everything else, proceed slow and go and consult with your doctor and/or nutritionist on the appropriate amount for you and your condition.
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You will heal. I will help.