Caution: 5 Myths and Facts About Vitamin C

vitamin c bell pepper

Vitamin C is one of those vitamins that seems to solve everything, at least that's how a lot of people think of it.  Feeling a cold come on?  Do a vitamin C blast!  Need some extra energy? Perfect, drink some water with a bunch of vitamin C mixed in!  But do you know how many of these vitamin C 'fixes' actually work and how many things should you be taking vitamin C for, that you currently aren't! 

Here's one great example, are you aware that taking vitamin C can be beneficial for your cardiovascular health?  A freshly released study from the University of Colorado, Boulder, found that a time-released dosage of 500mg of vitamin C produced a protective effect on blood vessels that was similar to walking workout.  However, the study was small.  There was 35 inactive overweight or obese adults.  Also, there are many other reasons to take vitamin C besides the potential 'weight loss' factor, so let's not get hung up on that point. 

True or false: Feel a cold coming on, doing a vitamin C blast should stop it! 


Now that fall is upon us and winter is right around the corner, that means that cold and flu season are on their way in.  A lot of people start loading up on vitamin C supplements, EmergenC, and OJ, to hopefully prevent the dreaded cold.  However, this isn't as beneficial as you think. 

Research shows that some people that take vitamin C may have SHORTER colds or a bit milder symptoms, but the key words there are, "most people." What do we mean by that? Well, research also shows that vitamin C cut the risk of a cold by 50% in male athletes, but not females...weird huh? 

True or false: Vitamin C deficiencies are rare.


Why do we have to take vitamin C? Our body cannot produce this nutrient, so we need to get it from food or supplements. But a deficiency serious enough to cause symptoms can include bleeding gums, nosebleeds, swollen joints, dry skin, and bruising. 

How much vitamin C should you take to avoid this? Well, for adult women you should be aiming for 75 mg and for adult men, you need to be looking for 90 mg.  However, some experts believe this should be raised to 200 mg. If you need something to judge this amount by, a medium orange provides about 70 mg. 

True or false: Citrus is the best source of vitamin C.


Wrong, however, citrus is an excellent source of vitamin C. Want to know the best way to load up on the vitamin? Eat a bell pepper!  One cup of chopped raw red bell pepper packs about 200-300 mg of vitamin C which is about 100 mg more than a cup of OJ! 

If bell peppers aren't your thing, don't worry, you can also snack on broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, strawberries, papaya, pineapple, and cantaloupe! 

True or false: Vitamin C intake helps weight loss.


Studies from Arizona State University have shown that a low blood level of vitamin C has been linked to having a higher body fat percentage and waist circumference. The study also shows that vitamin C status might affect the body's ability to use fat as a fuel source during both exercise and rest. 

True or false: You can't have too much vitamin C.


Your body doesn't have the ability to store vitamin C, so when you taken in more than you need the excess is eliminated...guess how? Through your kidneys in urine.  Vitamin C is a nutrient that has an established Tolerable Upper Intake Level, or UL. The vitamin C the most you should take is 2,000 mg, taking more has been shown to trigger bloating, digestive upset, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, headaches, insomnia, and kidney stones. 

So, don't over do it on the vitamin C! 

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