With kids going back to school and many adults heading back to the office, our immune systems need to be in tip top shape.
This month, our Master Herbalist, Stacey Littlefield, is clearing up misconceptions about popular immune-boosting supplements, and helping you understand how to use them effectively.
Today we’re starting with everyone’s favorite… Vitamin C!
To be clear, we LOVE Vitamin C! It is incredibly helpful, and we need it for our immune systems.
But, Vitamin C’s relationship with your immune system is more complex than you realize. It does not “boost” your immune system… it “protects” it.
Suggesting that vitamin C “boosts” your immune system implies that it is creating more immune cells. That’s not what’s happening here. Vitamin C provides your existing cells with armor.
When foreign cells invade and attack our tissue and cells, we release free radicals to annihilate them. However, free radicals don’t discriminate between friend and foe. They can easily do damage in this process.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, and it provides armor to our tissues and cells to keep them protected from free radicals while they dispatch the foreign cells.
Imagine you live in a house made of straw.
One day you think: “This doesn’t seem very secure.” So you hire a platoon of guards to stand at the perimeter.
The soldiers will hold their formation and shields to protect you from whatever comes their way.
However, were anything to break through the guards… your house is still just made of straw.
At this point you won’t regret hiring the guards, but you may wish that you had also strengthened your house with sturdier material.
Vitamin C will do a fantastic job at protecting your immune system, and we whole-heartedly recommend it. But don’t think it’s making your immune system stronger. For that, you will have to turn elsewhere. Here’s the top 5 ways our Founder, Dan Chapman, naturally boosts his immune system!
Plenty of supplement developers will use “high absorption rates” as a selling point, typically when comparing ascorbate to ascorbic acid.
Don’t be fooled by the marketing tool. There is no scientific data that suggests one type of vitamin C is significantly more “absorbable” than another.
Ascorbic acid is 100% bioavailable up to 200mg per dose! Once you go above this dosage you may start to absorb fractionally less… but nothing worth writing home about.
The bottom line: the extra money you pay for better absorption gets you nothing.
Regarding the effectiveness of vitamin C against illnesses: the only conclusive data we have pertains to the common cold.
We know that vitamin C, when regularly used, has the ability to shorten the duration of time we experience a common cold.
Other than that, there’s still just a lot of speculation.
Many may point to studies regarding vitamin C helping to fight illnesses such as cancer and sepsis.
Here’s where you have to be very careful.
Many of these studies were conducted using intravenous (IV) vitamin C. This is much different than taking a dietary supplement.
The data on IV vitamin C is much more conclusive. But you cannot take that data and assume the results will apply to your daily multivitamin.