What is vitamin C?
Iron and vitamin C are quite the power couple, because repeated research has indicated that vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. But that’s far from the only thing that vitamin C does for us – and in fact it’s essential for keeping all the body’s tissues working properly. We take a look at what it does – and whether we should be rethinking the recommended doses of this nutrient.
As Dr Marber explains in The lowdown on vitamin C, vitamin C is important for us to absorb iron-in particular, iron that we derived from non-animal sources. That's not all...For one thing, it helps keep skin health (low levels of vitamin C can mean that cuts or sores don't heal as quickly as they should) because we need vitamin C to produce the protein collagen. In turn, collagen is crucial for producing scar tissue – as well as keeping blood vessel walls strong, which helps protect against stroke and heart disease.
Recent research from the University of East Anglia also showed that older people who eat plenty of this vitamin C have the best muscle mass. That’s particularly important at a time when we’re realising the importance of retaining muscle mass – and we know that over 50, we start losing it at quite a significant rate unless we actively do something about keeping it.1
But are you getting enough vitamin C?
Other recent research, this time from the University of Washington, revisited the study that many recommendations (including the World Health Organization’s) are based on, and concluded that the levels suggested are just enough to keep us healthy – but nothing more. They suggest that a much higher level is ideal, around 95mg a day.2
If you’re thinking of adding a vitamin C supplement to your diet, Solgar has several options
“Our Vitamin C 1500 mg (1.5 grams) with Rose Hips Tablets is the strongest,” says Paul Chamberlain, nutrition and education director at Solgar. (Rose hips contain bioflavonoids which help to enhance the absorption and bioavailability of the vitamin.) “We also have Ester-C Plus 1000 mg Vitamin C Tablets, which are a patented form that’s easily absorbed and is retained in the body for up to 24 hours.” The metabolites of Ester-C help the body retain vitamin C for longer, giving you superior immune support. Other options include Solgar Ester-C Plus Effervescent Powder Sachets, which also contains B-vitamins, zinc, and more. “Or we have different strengths – and an effervescent form as well. What’s more, they’re pH neutral so won’t upset your stomach.”