Vitamin C: The Cold and Flu Fighter

December 2017 - Health & Wellness

Winter is in full swing and those nasty flu and cold viruses, are looking for hosts at every turn.  The less than hospitable winters in Canada force us spend to much more time indoors and suffer the consequences.   Re-circulated air supplies and spending more time in close proximity to others are the natural factors that lead to easy and swift transmission of cold and flu viruses.  For the last 15 years researchers and mothers alike have been prescribing an effective preventative cure, the all powerful Vitamin C.

Colds are caused by a version of a very contagious virus call rhinovirus, which targets the upper reparatory tract, and provides us with those familiar pesky symptoms: coughs, sore throat, and runny nose.  It is interesting to note that once we have been infected by one strain of Rhinovirus we seldom are ever infected again by that same virus, the next cold is just another version of that nasty visitor.  The body’s great defender, our immune system, is responsible for protecting us against another visit from the same attacker.

Flu’s are also a virus that come in a variety of strains, that typically attack the upper respiratory tract.  Symptoms from the flu viruses are typically similar to that of the cold, with the addition of fever, headaches, achy bones, achy joints, and achy muscles.  Typically a visit from the flu is much less welcome than that of a cold, however all of us would rather no visit at all.  The immune systems superhero Vitamin C can help prevent these visitors from gaining a foothold in our bodies and thus avoiding what was once thought an unavoidable seasonal episode.

For many years people have been taking Vitamin C in the form of Ascorbic Acid, with positive result.  These results have not been as pronounced as famed researcher, Linus Pauling had proclaimed.  Pauling was an advocate of mega doses of Vitamin C in the form of Ascorbic Acid, 7,000 mg to 10,000mg a day, which resulted in pronounced improved immune system function.   Studies suggest that Vitamin C influences the production of interferon and stimulate the phagocyte activity of the immune system.  Phagocyte’s are the soldiers of the immune system who search out and destroy virus pathogens. However, the side effects of taking such a large amount of Ascorbic Acid were as stated by Pauling as:  “…some of these healthy individuals developed heartburn, nausea, flatulence and especially diarrhoea, and were forced to withdraw from the experimental study”.  (Cancer and Vitamin C, Pauling and Cameron 1979).  There is no question that Vitamin C assists in the protection against cold and flu viruses.  The issue is how it should be taken and in what form?  Clearly Ascorbic Acid has real benefit but potentially detrimental effects taken at high dosage.  What is the answer?  Over the last 10 to 15 years researchers have been working on finding the most natural, and bioavailable form of  Vitamin C with a natural PH, that does not affect the body’s acidity levels.

Two new forms of Vitamin C have been formulated.  Ester-C was created to assist in the absorption of Ascorbic Acid, Ester-C is simply Calcium Ascorbate and other metabolites added to the Ascorbic Acid.  This combination results in a lowering of the PH of the Ascorbic Acid making it somewhat easier for the body to absorb.  Ester-C is only an intermediary step in mimicking the form of Vitamin C that most other animals produce,  (with the exception of humans).  The body must still processes the Ester-C in order to fully absorb the Vitamin C.  The most bioavailable and best form of Vitamin C is in the form of Mineral Ascorbates and can be found in Ener-C™.  These Mineral Ascorbates are an attempt at creating the form of Vitamin C that is produced in the bodies of most other animals through an enzymatic process.  Mineral Ascorbates are the broken down mineral salts that make up the fully formed Vitamin C molecule.  Since these salts are broken down into their individual components (Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Potassium, Manganese), they are absorbed as a whole and recognized immediately as the complete Vitamin C molecule which requires no reprocessing by the body.  The use of mega doses of Vitamin C in the form of Mineral Ascorbate does not have any adverse affects on the body.  Most notable among these adverse effects is bowel intolerance resulting in diarrhoea and flatulence, however it has been found that Vitamin C as Mineral Ascorbates does not cause any bowel intolerance.

Taken in mega doses 3,000 – 5,000mg per day when experiencing a respiratory infection or cold, Mineral Ascorbates have proven to greatly reduce the time of infection.  Furthermore studies have shown that taking 1,000mg per day of Mineral Ascorbate as a maintenance preventative program greatly reduces the chance of contracting viral and or bacterial infections.

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant vitamin. By this function, it helps prevent oxidation of water-soluble molecules that could otherwise create free radicals, which may generate cellular injury and disease. Vitamin C also indirectly protects the fat-soluble vitamins A and E as well as some of the B vitamins, such as riboflavin, thiamine, folic acid, and pantothenic acid, from oxidation.  When a vitamin oxidizes, its potency is diminished greatly if not completely.  Vitamin C acts as a detoxifier and may reduce the side effects of drugs such as cortisone, aspirin, and insulin; it may also reduce the toxicity of the heavy metals lead, mercury, and arsenic found in some water sources.

Vitamin C works rapidly, so the total amount we take over the day should be divided into multiple doses taken a couple of times a day. By taking 2,000mg – 3,000 of Mineral Ascorbates, over the course of the day, we will build our immune systems to the point where we can effectively fight off infections before they become a problem.  When hit with a full on respiratory infection or cold upping our daily intake to 3,000 – 4,000mg per day will greatly reduce the duration of the infection. It should be noted that when increasing or decreasing Vitamin C intake, it is best to do so slowly because our body’s systems become accustom to certain levels. It’s also good to note that in addition to being the Seasonal Superhero, Vitamin C is the key to the development and maintenance of bones, cartilage, teeth, and gums.

When considering mega doses of Vitamin C the main issue to consider is absorbability, Ener-C by Pauling Labs has one if the best formulas for Mineral Ascorbates.  Make sure you read your labels as Ener-C is a better and different formulations that others you may be familiar with Ener-C is certified Non-GMO and is all natural flavoured with real fruit extracts.




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