When you’re determining how to support your immunity, Vitamin C probably comes to mind as the first line of defense. This essential vitamin is the reason why Popeye ate spinach, and why your parents gave you orange juice at breakfast - after all, our bodies do not naturally produce Vitamin C.
Sufficient Vitamin C supplementation is essential for basic biological functions: wound healing, forming collagen and repairing tissue throughout the body to name a few. Studies suggest that increased Vitamin C intake might help with everything from reducing the appearance of wrinkles to helping fight the common cold.
So how can you make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin C? In this short guide, we’ll go over different types of Vitamin C and our preferred methods to absorb this vital substance.
How Much Vitamin C Do You Need?
Why do you need Vitamin C? A Vitamin C deficiency is infamously associated with scurvy—a condition common among seafarers without access to fresh produce that manifests as wounds that won’t heal and bleeding gums. In extreme cases of scurvy, old wounds may even reopen. No thank you!
We all need a minimum amount of this vitamin to avoid these negative, if extreme, effects to maintain homeostasis and to reap the myriad Vitamin C benefits.
The National Institute of Health recommends that adult women should get at least 75mg of Vitamin C daily. However, if pregnant or breastfeeding, 85 mg to 120mg is recommended to ensure adequate nutrition for mama and baby. As a general rule of thumb, men should aim for a minimum of 90mg Vitamin C.
Yet for many people, the minimum is not enough.
- Some studies show that smokers need significantly more Vitamin C (at least 35mg more) on a daily basis. Why? Consistent stress to respiratory tissues may require more of this vitamin, to help speed up tissue repair.
- This indicates that anyone experiencing higher levels of exposure to smoke, ozone and other environmental pollutants may want to consider taking higher amounts of Vitamin C. A good rule of thumb: if you live in an urban environment, Vitamin C should be at the top of your supplement shopping list.
Vitamin C Beyond the Bare Minimum
Higher Vitamin C levels may be associated with a variety of positive health outcomes.
- One study showed that women with a family history of breast cancer were 63% less likely to develop tumors than their peers when consuming 205mg/day of Vitamin C. This is one of many studies that suggests this essential vitamin can help boost the immune system.
- In another study, researchers found that taking 500mg of Vitamin C a day increased muscular resistance to oxidative stress during exercise. A potent antioxidant, Vitamin C may help to prevent wear-and-tear on muscles and skin.
- Another study tested the effects of a 745mg Vitamin C supplement on women’s vision. Taking this increased dosage seemed to help prevent lens opacities, also known as cataracts.
Ample Vitamin C supplementation may help you with the following health goals:
- Decreasing inflammation
- Boosting immunity
- Achieving healthy, even-toned skin
- Recovering more quickly from colds and illness
- Maintaining healthy blood pressure
- Accelerating your athletic training
Is There Too Much of a Good Thing?
With these impressive health benefits, you may be excited to take as much Vitamin C as possible.
While some clinical trials use incredibly strong Vitamin C supplements, you should not take more than 2,000mg of Vitamin C per day without the supervision of a physician.
Excess Vitamin C is associated with nausea, abdominal cramping and diarrhea.
So how do you make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin C without crossing into unpleasant territory? Let’s take a look.
Vitamin C in Food and Drinks
When it comes to the best form of Vitamin C, don’t discount the importance of a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s entirely possible to hit the recommended daily minimum of Vitamin C if you’re eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
In general, citrus and tropical fruits, leafy greens, peppers and hard winter squash are great sources of natural Vitamin C.
There are a few standout ingredients that contain substantial amounts of Vitamin C all on their own. According to Healthline, these include:
- Yellow bell pepper – 137mg in ½ cup
- Chili peppers – 109mg per pepper
- Guava – 126mg in a fruit
- Broccoli – 102mg per cup
- Grapefruit – 88mg in one fruit
- Kale – 80mg per cup
- Kiwi – 71mg in one fruit
- Orange – 68mg in one fruit
However, these are only estimates. An individual plant’s nutrients will vary based on a number of factors, including:
- The soil it was grown in – Plants absorb nutrients from the soil via their roots. Thus, nutrient-poor soil produces nutrient-poor plants.
- Exposure to carbon dioxide – Plants feed on CO2. Rising carbon emissions can cause plants to grow quicker and bigger—but it’s like junk food for plants. Many crops are now less nutrient dense than their historical counterparts.
Organically grown crops tend to have higher levels of nutrients. If you’re worried about getting enough Vitamin C, choose organic and local foods where possible.
Once you’ve sourced your produce, it’s time to make some kitchen magic.
Vitamin C Smoothie
Try combining several of these powerhouse ingredients in a smoothie:
- 4 peeled kiwis
- 1 guava
- 1 pint orange juice
- 1 T lime juice
- Pinch of chili pepper
This sweet, spicy kiwi smoothie could also work well as the base for a CBD oil infused cocktail or mocktail. After all, we love to enjoy CBD and alcohol to wind down after a long day.
Vitamin C Stir Fry
Looking for a Vitamin C boost at dinner time? Try a homemade version of your favorite Chinese orange chicken that’s significantly healthier than the original.
For the stir fry, you’ll need:
- 2 Yellow bell peppers
- 1 head Broccoli
- 1 Onions
- Tofu or chicken
Then, in a blender or food processor, blend the ingredients below to make a tangy, more-ish sauce::
- 1 cup orange juice
- Zest of the orange
- 2 T honey or agave
- 2 T rice vinegar
- 1 chili pepper
- 1 inch ginger root (or 1 T ground ginger)
- 2 T soy sauce or tamari
- 2 garlic cloves
- Salt to taste
Stir fry the vegetables and protein over high heat, adding the sauce for the final minute of cooking. Serve over rice, noodles or zoodles.
Tip: For an added immune boost, try adding a superfood like an oyster or shiitake mushroom to your stir fry. Just be sure to pre-cook it in hot oil for a few minutes before adding it to the recipe, as mushrooms can take longer to become tender than the other ingredients.
Vitamin C Supplements
If you’re aiming for a higher level of Vitamin C intake to significantly boost your immunity and exercise recovery, you may have trouble getting it all in your diet, no matter how much you love kale.
Enter: Vitamin C supplements.
For many people, the best form of Vitamin C to take is one that’s easy to take everyday.
A Vitamin C dietary supplement can ensure that you get adequate amounts of this crucial vitamin even when you’re on the go or not able to “eat the rainbow” everyday. Incorporating a supplement into your daily routine can help provide more consistent effects over time.
However, the world of supplements is a little less straightforward than the vegetable kingdom, as manufacturers may use additives to make vitamins more shelf-stable, digestible or absorbable. You’ll find several different forms of Vitamin C supplements.
Different types of Vitamin C include:
Ascorbic acid – This is 100% pure Vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is the “purest” way of absorbing Vitamin C.
- Calcium ascorbate – If you’re prone to heartburn, you may be skeptical of ingesting an acidic powder. Calcium neutralizes the acidity of Vitamin C. Then, your body breaks this compound down in the digestive tract so you can absorb the ascorbic acid.
- Sodium ascorbate – Similar to calcium ascorbate, this compound neutralizes the acidity of Vitamin C. Just be careful with it if you’re watching your salt (sodium) intake.
You may recognize “ascorbate” from the ingredient panel on your daily multivitamin.
You can find all three of these compounds in powder, capsule or chewable form.
Whatever your preferred method, we recommend taking the following steps:
- Check the ingredient label to see how much Vitamin C is actually in your supplement
- Buy your dietary supplement from a reliable source
- Make sure there are no additives you’re uncomfortable with
- If you’re vegetarian, vegan, kosher, or halal make sure the capsule is vegan
Plant People’s Advanced Immune Power
Are you looking for a reliable, organic Vitamin C supplement?
Plant People’s Advanced Immune Power capsules contain 100mg of pure ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), along with other immune boosting ingredients:
- Astragalus root
- Chaga mushroom
- Reishi mushroom
- Shiitake mushroom
- Maitake mushroom
- Turkey tail mushroom
Its five clinical-grade mushroom varieties combined with astragalus benefits and potent Vitamin C are designed to support your immune system and overall vitality.
Get Your Supplements, Plant People Style
Not all supplements are created equal. Synthetic vitamins and unreliable labeling practices can make it difficult to know if your daily supplement is actually beneficial for your health.
At Plant People, we’re established experts in organic CBD and adaptogenic blends formulated to help people meet their wellness goals, from getting better sleep to feeling more balanced. We’ve used this knowledge to formulate our mushroom immune defense capsules.
Combining the best of ancient modalities and contemporary research, Advanced Immune Power is your go-to source for Vitamin C and other immune boosting blends.
National Institute of Health. Vitamin C. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Dietary carotenoids and vitamins A, C, and E and risk of breast cancer. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10088626/
The Journal of Physiology. Effect of Vitamin C Supplements on Antioxidant Defence and Stress Proteins in Human Lymphocytes and Skeletal Muscle. https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/jphysiol.2003.040303
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Long-term vitamin C supplement use and prevalence of early age-related lens opacities. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/66/4/911/4655981
Healthline. 20 Foods that are High in Vitamin C. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-foods#section5
Scientific American. Vanishing Nutrients. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/vanishing-nutrients/
Alternative Medicine Review. Organic foods contain higher levels of certain nutrients, lower levels of pesticides, and may provide health benefits for the consumer. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20359265/
Chicago Tribune. The Best Vitamin C Supplement. https://www.chicagotribune.com/consumer-reviews/sns-bestreviews-wellness-the-best-vitamin-c-supplement-20191206-dvsgnlilxzcbnf5txht3cua25y-story.html
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