WHILE many people turn to Vitamin C to help ward off illness, it is important to understand that not all forms of Vitamin C are created equal.
According to Fern Inc. (Fern-C) marketing head Rosanna de Dios, Vitamin C comes in two forms: ascorbic acid and the lesser known sodium ascorbate.
“Although both forms provide similar benefits, it should be the least familiar sodium ascorbate that we should all be taking. Most ascorbic acid supplements available in the market have pH levels of 2.5 to 3 (as reference, lemon juice has a pH level of 2) making it not only sour to the taste but could also cause stomach pain or discomfort,” explained De Dios.
On the other hand, sodium ascorbate supplements have an almost neutral pH level of 7.5 or 7.8 and thus, will not cause stomach discomfort.
“But why take Vitamin C? It is one of the best-known antioxidants. Moreover, more research has been done on its safety (side effects are rarely reported and any excess is lost though urine) and health benefits than any other nutrient. To start with, Vitamin C is needed to grow and repair tissues throughout the body as well as promote immune, bone and joint health,” said De Dios.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the body utilizes Vitamin C in many different ways. Vitamin C is needed by the body to form collagen, a type of protein in our body that acts as the “glue” that helps hold the body together. It gives our skin strength and elasticity, as well as helps replace dead skin cells.
“Vitamin C deficiency symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness, joint and muscle aches, bleeding gums and leg rashes. Prolonged deficiency can cause scurvy, characterized by swollen bleeding gums and the opening of previously healed wounds,” said De Dios.
While one could obtain Vitamin C through dietary sources such as citrus fruits, mangos, papayas, pineapples, strawberries, red and green peppers, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, and other leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes and broccoli, taking a supplement would ensure one has ample supply of this important antioxidant.