What does Vitamin C do?
The basics about Vitamin C
Vitamin C is water soluble, meaning it dissolves in water and excess amounts of this vitamin leave the body via excretion.1 This means extra vitamin C that your body doesn’t need, cannot be stored. Instead, the extra vitamin C will likely leave when you go to the washroom.
Human bodies can’t make vitamin C like they can with other nutrients (IE our bodies can synthesize vitamin D from the sun). This poses a problem. If we can’t make our own vitamin C, but we also can’t store excess amounts, where does this leave us? Simply put, you would need a daily supply of these vitamins in your regular diet.1
Vitamin C helps your immune system run smoothly, is necessary for healthy hair, skin and nails, and helps boost the absorption of calcium.2,3,4
Stress and Vitamin C
If you read our articles regularly, you know we also link things back to stress! It’s imperative for folks to understand how our body operates while dealing with stressors, so they can understand how to best adapt to avoid nutritional deficiencies, illness and disease.
Here at Pranin Organic, we’re always talking about the adrenal glands, we can’t help it, they’re the true MVP’s when it comes to keeping the body safe while under stress. The highest concentration of vitamin C in the body is actually in the adrenal glands.5
The deal with Vitamin C and the adrenal glands when your body is under stress: When your body is stressed out, your pituitary gland releases a hormone called Adrenocorticotropic.6 This hormone tells the adrenal cortex “Woah friend, you better send out some cortisol ASAP because traffic is bad, and my boss is calling me right now and I might consider jumping out of the car and running away to Hawaii for good”. The key here is not your ambitions to run away to a tropical island, rather the adrenal cortex is now pumping out cortisol as a response to stress.6
As you may already know, cortisol is most well known out of all the stress hormones. This is because of its relationship to stress responses in the body.7 Cortisol’s main job is to assist with life-saving functions in the body while you’re under stress paralysis from traffic and your controlling boss. In detail, cortisol helps improve memory function, stabilize blood sugar levels, regulate your metabolism and more.7
The problem is the body actually uses vitamin C to produce cortisol.5 So, over time this can use up your body’s daily amounts of vitamin C.
Additionally, when cortisol gets released as a stress response, it triggers the body to release vitamins to further help with survival functions in the body.8 One of these vitamins is Vitamin C.8
Vitamin C deficiency
More stress = the need for more vitamin C. This is one of the many reasons people today need more vitamins than ever! Stress.
Stress affects everything from how the immune system is able to ward off pathogens to weakening your cardiovascular system, leading to increased risk for heart disease.9,10
Our article Stress and Gut Health examines the close links between an unhealthy gut and chronic stress. Poor gut health results in not having diverse gut bacteria, which can lead to the malabsorption of nutrients, which can cause nutritional deficiencies. Yikes! Not only that, but chronic or daily stress means your body actually needs more nutrition to function optimally.
The more you mismanage stress = higher chances of nutritional deficiencies.
Because stress is linked to malabsorption of nutrients which leads to nutritional deficiencies, it’s imperative to know the signs of a vitamin C deficiency so you can be aware of how stress might be impacting your health.
Deficiencies in vitamin C mean your body can’t produce collagen. This is probably why one of the most common signs of vitamin C deficiency is dry skin.11 Collagen is also responsible for reducing signs of ageing.12 So, it’s not a stretch to say your skin will show more signs of ageing if you’re vitamin C deficient.
Fatigue is also associated with vitamin C deficiency.13 So those dark circles under your eyes could be related to not getting enough vitamin C in your diet! Additionally bleeding gums and sores on your skin are related to poor vitamin C stores.11
Vitamin C and stress management
One study found that vitamin C is imperative to protect the brain from oxidant stress.14 Oxidant or more commonly referred to as
oxidative stress, is when your body has an imbalance between harmful free radicals and antioxidants that fight these free radicals.15 Example: not enough antioxidants are in your body to protect you from harmful bacteria. This puts your brain into an oxidative stress which over time can lead to chronic illness or disease.15 Because whole foods that are rich in vitamin C are often full of antioxidants, it’s easy to see how nutritious foods can help the body in these stressful situations, and lead to adequate stress management. Learn more about our favourite vitamin C rich superfood, amla berries by reading Amla Alchemy – The benefits of Amla Berries.
By getting adequate amounts of vitamin C from whole foods, you’re able to prepare your body optimally to manage stressful situations. This can help prevent nutritional deficiencies and chronic illness.
can we get the nutrients we need, from food alone?
We know vitamins in their natural, whole food form are the best way to give our body the nutrients it needs. But with all of the modern, fast farming practices happening, is our food nutritious enough to give our body what it needs?
Experts say the fruits and veggies we eat today, have significantly less nutrition than they did decades ago.16 Why is that? Well, since the common use of pesticides, mono-cropping and other harmful farming modernizations, we’re left with nutritionally depleted soils and foods with weak immune-boosting nutrients.17 You see, monocropping, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides disrupt the natural mineral compounds in soil. Fruits and vegetables gain their nutrients from the soil their grown in.17,18 So, if our soil is depleted of nutrients, our food will be too. You could say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree 😉 sorry we couldn’t resist!
Another problem is pesticides and how they act like antibiotics for plants.17 Think about it, if a chemical spray is destroying pests and mould that were going to attack the crops, they don’t ever get forced to develop immune-boosting chemicals that ward off pests or help them recover quickly from damage. This leads to less immune-boosting chemicals in the crops, which means less for us, too!
Pair these problems with increased work hours, more technology stimuli and less outdoor time, and you have the perfect recipe for nutritional deficiencies.
Proactive stress management
Lifestyle choices, nutrition and knowledge will give you the tools you need to live your best, stress managed life. Notice we didn’t say stress-free? We’re realists here, and we know that stress is inevitable, but managing stress in a preventative style is attainable.
Lifestyle choices – Getting outside, moving your body, introducing air and water filtration systems to your home, regularly going to an infrared sauna and meditating are just a few of the many holistic lifestyle practices you can adopt to ensure your body has the resilience to meet stress with support. Read more about how meditation works – the science behind the practice, why you need to get into nature more and how water filtration can solve the dehydration you didn’t even know you had!
Nutrition – As we’ve explained, it’s very difficult nowadays to get all of the nutrients you need from food alone. Thankfully our whole food nutritional supplements solve this problem. We only use organically grown foods, as experts agree food grown by organic farming standards are more nutritious and contain far fewer chemicals from pesticides.17 Our PureFood C contains 680% of your daily value of whole food vitamin C.
Not all vitamin C supplements are created equally, many contain synthetically isolated versions of vitamin C known as ascorbic acid. Make sure your vitamin C supplement contains nothing but organic, whole foods!
Knowledge – Always learning, always growing! That’s what we strive for. Learning about what your body needs to stay healthy is vital, and you can do this by reading articles, books, listening to experts on podcasts or just think critically about what you’re putting in your body, and how your body is feeling. Intuitive eating and mindful movement can help you and your body feel great and stay healthy.
4 Kumar KP, Bhowmik D, Dutta A, Yadav AP, Paswan S, Srivastava S, et al. Recent trends in potential traditional Indian herbs Emblica officinalis and its medicinal importance. J Pharmacogn Phytochem 2012;1:18-28.