Everywhere you look, you can find it in abundance – vitamin C. Whether in the supermarket, in the drugstore or in the pharmacy, the miracle vitamin, which is said to be very helpful with colds and is one of the most well-known vitamins of all, is everywhere present.
But which vitamin C product do you use now? Which one is really good and keeps its promise and which one is a classic blender?
The differences are very large and serious. It is fair to say that vitamin C is not just vitamin C.
You have to take a closer look and choose your products with care, otherwise you are not doing yourself, your body and, above all, your health a great favor.
What is vitamin C needed for in the body?
- For the formation of carnitine and also the bile acids from cholesterol
- For rapid wound healing
- In the production of messenger substances
- It improves the absorption of iron
- It regulates and strengthens the immune system
- It is indispensable in the formation of hormones and neurotransmitters
- It is a powerful radical scavenger (antioxidant)
- It is involved in collagen production and therefore very important for bones, cartilage and connective tissue
- Together with vitamin E, it protects the body’s cells from damage
Symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency
A vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) can trigger a variety of symptoms in humans and cause other vitamin and absorption deficiencies. The following are observed as classic main symptoms:
- If there is a lack of vitamin C in the body, collagen can hardly be formed. As a result, the connective tissue cannot be built up properly. This is why people with vitamin C deficiency often have bleeding gums, gingivitis and loose teeth
- Fatigue, weakness and lack of energy
- Poor wound healing, bruising and bruising
- Joint pain, stiff muscles
- Irritability, depressed moods and mood swings
- pale or gray-yellow skin color
- susceptibility to infection
- enlarged liver
- Mental changes such as melancholy, indifference and general malaise
The ascorbic acid
There are massive quality differences in vitamin C. Not only in relation to the amount of vitamins contained in the product, but also in relation to the way the product was made.
In the 1930s, researchers succeeded in extracting the valuable vitamin C from peppers. That was a breakthrough, but researchers naturally wanted more and rushed to find a way to produce vitamin C in massive amounts.
This is how ascorbic acid was developed and unfortunately it is still on everyone’s lips today. In a double sense.
In the mid-1930s, the Nobel Prize winner Tadeus Reichstein and his colleague Andreas Grüssner managed to use the Reichstein synthesis to produce an artificially synthesized vitamin C.
This was an attempt to get the vitamin C deficiency scurvy, which was very common at the time, under control.
Vitamin C is available in abundance these days. The variety of preparations has now become absolutely opaque for laypeople and there are more and more every day.
Vitamin C is not just vitamin C, which is why consumers should definitely take a closer look today if they want to do something good for their body instead of harming it.
Roughly speaking, the vitamin C preparations currently available on the market could be divided into the following categories:
- artificial or absolutely synthetic individual preparations
- artificial multi-preparations containing vitamin C in combinations
- natural preparations containing extracted vitamin C as an active ingredient
- natural preparations that contain the extracted vitamin C as an active ingredient AND also the so-called precursors and accompanying substances (bioflavonoids).
- Combinations of artificial and natural active ingredients
As a consumer, this division already makes you suspicious and thoughtful. Which preparation is best? What are the advantages and disadvantages of artificial products? It’s not that easy to weigh up and the differences are big.
Natural vitamin C or rather artificial?
Vitamin C as such is not found alone and isolated anywhere in nature. Vitamin C in its natural form always comes with the appropriate preliminary and intermediate stages (bioflavonoids).
The whole thing is usually combined with various trace elements, other minerals and micronutrients. All this in combination ensures optimal absorption in the body and a suitable interaction of the nutrients.
In the case of man-made production, it is more the case that the combination of substance A and substance B results in substance C. Of course, this requires certain technical requirements, but basically it doesn’t work any differently.
However, an isolated substance always has the disadvantage that the so-called “bioavailability”, i.e. the possibility of being able to absorb this substance and also to be able to utilize it, is quite modest with the artificially synthesized variants of vitamin C and is very bad for the human body can be included.
And this is the major difference: food and vitamins must be available to the body. The simpler, the better, because depending on health status, age or physical condition, not everyone is able to easily utilize vitamins from food or dietary supplements and convert them into active forms.
Therefore, the dietary supplements should be in an active and high-quality form as far as possible.
In addition, the disadvantage of the artificial vitamin C variants is that they also contain a wide variety of dyes, flavorings and preservatives, etc. This rightly deters many consumers and does not exactly improve the bioavailability of the vitamins.
Bioavailability – how well can the body absorb the vitamin?
The bioavailability and effectiveness of natural vitamin C sources is unrivaled to date. The vitamin C content in most fruits and foods is usually significantly lower than in artificial food supplements.
The ascorbic acid itself is basically available very quickly, but it is also just as quickly excreted unused if you take a higher dose at once. Therefore, higher doses of vitamin C should best be spread throughout the day.
However, there is also the possibility of increasing the bioavailability of the artificial vitamin C variants. This works quite effectively with ascorbic acid compounds. For this purpose, ascorbic acid is combined with magnesium, calcium or sodium, for example.
Such compounds are then acid-buffered, basic and have several advantages. On the one hand, one benefits from a longer residence time in the body, which leads to better absorption of the vitamins, since
On the other hand, with such compounds one minimizes the irritation of teeth, mucous membranes and stomach.
Another way to increase the availability of the vitamin is the delayed version. Here, the vitamin C is released slowly and in small amounts throughout the day, thus guaranteeing better absorption.
This system has become quite popular in recent years and can be found under various names such as long-term pearls, time-release and retard.
So it is worthwhile to deal with the different vitamin C variants if you don’t want to throw your money out the window and want to do something good for your body.
It is always important to first look at the ingredients of all preparations, to compare them and to inform yourself in advance.
In general, however, one can say with vitamin C that the natural food supplements are far ahead of the artificial variants and that the often higher price definitely pays off.