Vitamin C: Know The Differences And Understand The Synergy
Vitamin C is a vital nutrient for human health and survival. It is not only a powerful antioxidant and immune booster, but it also supports collagen connective tissue formation and builds extracellular matrix, which is the “glue” that binds the body’s cells together. It is important for faster wound healing and prevention of various chronic conditions. Optimum amounts of vitamin C effectively protect the body and cardiovascular system against biological rusting. Additionally, there are several other important functions of vitamin C. It is a cofactor for a series of biological enzymes, which are important for the improved metabolism of cholesterol, triglycerides and other risk factors of heart disease. It is an important energy molecule needed to recharge energy carriers inside the cells. Vitamin C is essential for production of carnitine, the molecule that carries fatty acids into the mitochondria for energy production. It participates in biological recycling of vitamin E, glutathione and many other cell protective molecules, and when taken together with calcium, it increases calcium absorption. Vitamin C neutralizes various toxins in the body, and protects healthy cells from harmful substances and the effects of many pharmaceutical drugs.
It is well known that the humans do not produce their own vitamin C, so it must be obtained from food sources and dietary supplements. Vitamin C supplements come in several forms - ascorbic acid, calcium ascorbate, magnesium ascorbate, and so on. However, the majority of vitamin C supplements on the market contain only a single form of vitamin C, usually ascorbic acid. Simple ascorbic acid is a water soluble compound. Therefore, it does not remain in the body for a long time and is easily excreted. Unless frequently replenished, it is difficult to obtain the benefits of vitamin C by only ascorbic acid. Mineral salts of ascorbic acid, such as calcium ascorbate and magnesium ascorbate are easily absorbed and metabolized well by the body’s cells. Such a combination with calcium and magnesium also neutralizes the acidic effect of ascorbic acid and contributes to a “buffering” effect and is gentler on the stomach lining. Moreover, calcium is important for the proper contraction of muscle cells, including the heart muscle cells. It is needed for the conduction of nerve impulses. Calcium is also essential for the hardening and stability of our bones and teeth. Magnesium is nature’s calcium antagonist, and its benefit for the cardiovascular system is similar to the prescription calcium channel blocking drugs, except that magnesium is natural. Clinical studies have shown that magnesium is particularly important for helping to normalize elevated blood pressure, and it can help normalize irregular heartbeat.
There is a misconception that calcium ascorbate can increase the likelihood of kidney stones. However, the majority of the kidney stones are of calcium oxalate, which is present in foods such as soda, coffee, chocolates, spinach, and beets. Inadequate water intake is one of the major contributors for kidney stone formation. Well-controlled clinical studies have not been able to establish any strong correlation between supplemental vitamin C and increased kidney stones.
Another unique form of vitamin C is ascorbyl palmitate, which is a fat-soluble form of vitamin C. It is better absorbed by the cells than ascorbic acid alone. Cell membranes enriched with ascorbyl palmitate are more resistant to oxidative damage, which means they are better protected against diseases and aging. Ascorbyl palmitate is also an effective free radical scavenger antioxidant. One of the advantages of taking a nutritional supplement that contains ascorbyl palmitate is that this form of vitamin C can reach areas of the body that simple vitamin C cannot and the effects last longer than simple ascorbic acid. A well balanced vitamin C or multi-nutrient supplement should contain at least 25% of its vitamin C in the fat-soluble, ascorbyl palmitate form. However, most of the vitamin C supplements contain little or no ascorbyl palmitate. Optimum supplementation with a synergistically formulated vitamin C supplement can make all the difference in protecting your health!